A Visit to A l’Etoile d’Or (Video)




A place like A l’Etoile d’Or could not exist anywhere else in the world but Paris. In this charming shop up by Montmarte you find a carefully selected assortment of candies and chocolates from the best artisans across France. Darting from shelf to shelf, owner Denise Acabo charms patrons with animated descriptions of every sweet bonbon in her collection. It’s always a pleasure to chat with her in her shop, which I visited on a rather chilly day in Paris. (Hence the trouble I had wrapping my frozen lips around the word “Lorraine”.)

Every time I go into her shop, I am helpless against Madame Acabo’s charms and I always leave with something special tucked in my bag, whether it’s a Kalouga chocolate bar filled with gooey salted butter caramel from Bernachon, almond-rich calissons d’Aix from Provence, or bright jellies flavored with the tangy juice of the elusive bergamots made in Alsace.

Even if you can’t make it to Paris, I hope you enjoy this visit to her shop as much as I did.

-David

(You can watch the video here by clicking on the arrow. To view it in a larger version, click on the title, which will take you to Vimeo.)




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103 comments

  • Espectacular, David. Merci.

  • David, she’s SO cute I can’t stand it. I’ve gotta get me some o’ them braids!

    What a lovely candy shop. I’m salivating.

  • I’ve been a silent reader for a year now and I’ve always been fascinated by your posts of places in Paris and the food! It is simply amazing. I couldn’t help but comment this time because I took my dream and finally arrived in France about 5 months ago. I can’t wait to explore the places you recommend! :)

  • So excited, I am heading up to Paris in a few weeks and I want to visit some off these places you recommend. I hate leaving the south down here with the beach and the weather but Paris is always worth it. Fingers crossed for good weather. Thanks David and I hope your place is moving along nicely.

  • Denise Acabo is a force of nature. I had a bag of goodies thrusted into my hands within five minutes of being there. And was gracious enough to pose for a photograph with me…I think the best things about that photo are her smile and pigtails!

  • This doesn’t look like a man who can’t find his ten whisks under a plaster dust-filled tarp!

    I’ve long wanted to hear Mme Acabo speak, after reading so many reviews of the shop, and seeing images of her infamous hairstyle and outfit. What a lovely video, she seems as welcoming as she’s been described to be:)

  • Great video! Wish I could have some of that chocolate!

  • Not sure when my next trip to Paris is but this place is on my list!

  • How could I possibly have missed this place? I have to go back now. Thanks for taking us to this shop in person – it was a real treat. I second the comment above about how adorable that woman is with her long pigtails! And I am practically ashamed to admit that even though Earl Grey is my favourite tea (Mariage of course!) I never knew what a bergamot is.

  • Hello David,
    I think she says she owns the shop since 1903 and not 1993 as the subtitles said! Because then she adds that she’s been living there for 38 years. Did I misunderstand something?
    Have a nice day.

  • I can’t wait to go there when I’m in Paris next month!

  • great video. Thanx david for introducing us to this charming lady and herspectacular shop

  • Thank you for sharing this video David. Madame Acabo is charming and the shop
    looks like a treasure trove sparkling with color.

  • Thank you so much for this video David. What a wonderful way to share the experience with us. More please?

  • Love her use of “metier”, her mother…wonderful view of what makes Paris/France special.

  • Literally: SWEET!

  • Wow!! David..you are so lucky..you live in Paris..Can’t wait to go to Paris and especially to this candy shop and dig myself into those delectable stuff…Madame Acabo is so adorable and lovely..There is an old world charm to this shop…Magnificent!

  • Um. Hellooo. You are so fun to watch! Her braids, personality and candy is amazing. I must go there one day!

  • Oh, no, David! Why did you have to go and share this lovely little secret ;-) I live à deux pas from Denise Acabo’s shop, and I can confirm everything you said in the video. I recently told Denise that I was addicted to her salted caramel chocolate bars, and her face lit up as she shared with me her favorite (a dark chocolate bar with some sort of dried citrus fruit), saying that I won’t be able to stop eating it until it’s all gone, and that the entire bar will last just one hour and a half…and no longer. That’s what I love about Denise Acabo: she is absolutely crazy for chocolate and loves to share her chocolate secrets with other chocoholics, like a drug dealer with a particularly good batch of cocaine (only much less onerous).

  • When are you moving? I have read your blog for a few years and I think your recipes truly work. But, you have captured my total attention about the move, so please settle in and I can relax.

  • What a lovely video. I will be visiting Paris at the end of May – and this little shop has been added to the top of my list of places to visit. Thank you for sharing this little slice of Paris

  • Your posts are often opportunities to travel through Paris from afar but this video took us to a new level; you could not adequately relate the charm of that adorable women no matter how skilled a word artisan you are. So charming; her and the shop.

  • We went here on your prior recommendation and spoke with Denise. The shop was not only wonderful, but also Denise wears the most delightfully quirky outfits of plaid skirts and ties — and the braids! C’est parfait.

  • Oh how I love this place! I got all wistful watching this video. She is a treasure.

  • Thank you David !

    That was wonderful. Lovely shop thank you so much for sharing.

  • Thank you Daveed, for this most inspirational video … to sum it up, a little quote from Abraham-Hicks: “You never get it done, and you cannot get it wrong. Life is supposed to be fun: you are creator, you are a focusing mechanism, and you are here in an environment that is very conducive to that. When you get hold of an idea, play it out for the pleasure in it. If you are doing it for any other reason, then you are not connecting to your Source Energy.”
    — Abraham

  • Well, there goes our travel budget. Our family will be visiting Paris in July and I’m sure my kids will be spending many, many euros in the shop after watching this video. Thanks again for sharing the many treasures in Paris.

  • Encore, please!

  • I loved your video. I’ve always wanted to visit her shop after reading your stories, but I’ve missed it because I was staying for a short time. Next time I’n in town, I will definitely visit her shop….so many delicious candies! I hope to see many more of your videos.

  • Thank you again, David! It really was a treasured moment from our 9 days in Paris. I was just sad we waited until Day 9 to go here. What a treat! You are fabulous and so is Denise!

  • I can’t wait to gooo!!!

  • Creole Lady Marmalade woohoo! I would love to visit the Moulin Rouge, thanks for the video, David!

  • What a treasure, David. These video clips are wonderful and I didn’t notice any plaster on your shirt. Could you mention the Metro stop? My map is already packed and I arrive on Saturday! Thanks.

  • hey david,
    i left little something for Denise to give you on your next visit. did she? :)

    maya

  • What a lovely video and gem of a shop. My family and I am going to Paris for the first time very soon (super excited)!! I’ll be armed with my Paris Pastry App and I’m hoping to bump into this sweet shop. I’ve “seen” the shop owner before somewhere -maybe on a show or featured in a cookbook? It’s wonderful to see someone so passionate about what she does – and what a service she’s providing! : ) I’m wondering just how much chocolate a girl can legally pack away in her luggage to take back home!

  • What a charming shop. It’s exactly what I picture in my mind when I think of Paris. I guess I’ve been too impressed by movies of the Paris of the early 20th century. What a find.

  • I love your videos, David. The shop looks so enticing on many levels.

  • Thank you David! How wonderful. The only thing missing is the aroma and after looking at the video I can only imagine how heavenly that must be. It is fantastic to know that there are still people left like Denise who truly have a passion and that they are willing to so generously share that with others.

  • We’re in Paris every other year and always drop by Denise’s shop. But our first visit 7 or 8 years ago was by far the most magical. We ended up chatting for over an hour and a half, and by then nature was calling so she let me use her flat’s restroom. I don’t want to “kiss and tell” about her private space but there were so many subtle little details that delightfully amplified her charm. That visit is one of our top 3 ” Paris kodak moments”.

  • Beautiful!

  • Daveed, you look so French! I love the scarf. So handsome.

    Thank you for the video, I felt I was right there for a moment. I want a tin of violet candy, that all.

  • 1903 is the year she says in the video…big difference from 1993.

  • Love the video – thanks for sharing the experience! More videos please….such a nice escape to Paris – if only for a few minutes. The shop is on my must-go list next time I’m in Paris. Thanks again!

  • Such a delight to hear your voice and that of Ms. Acabo and to see the energy and beauty of her shop. Definitely at the top of the list on my next trip to Paris–which I hope is sooner than later!

    And you looked poised and not at all ready to crack from your renovation, which is a fascinating part of your blog lately, btw.

  • Another place on my list!! thanks for sharing

  • On your previous posts I made Ms Acabo’s shop one of my first trips when I was in Paris last year. I visited the store twice more in the 3 weeks I stayed. I barely speak any French, however, it didn’t matter she was just so incredibly wonderful chatting to me as if I understood every word. I’m embarrassed to say how many chocolate bars I brought back to the states and equally so to say how fast they disappeared. That and one of the most amazing caramel-nut sauces I’ve ever had, Henri Le Roux…I still have 1 jar of that left!! Thank you so much for introducing this amazing store to me. I am planning a trip to Italy next year, but must make a stop over in Paris just for a trip to her shop.

  • The last time I was in Paris, I was taking a walking tour of the Montmarte. I accidentally ran into Denise Acabo as she was crossing the street in front on her shop. We had never met, but since reading your previous posts, I immediately recognized her and called out. She greeted me like an old friend and ushered me into her shop. I speak very little French, but did remember to mention your name. Her eyes widened and she gave me a brief tour of her shop (in French). She gladly posed for a photo after adjusting her braids and putting her arm around me. The tour guide stared in amazement. Thank you for bringing that memory back.

  • DAVID SPEAKS! Woody Allen has nothing on your skills. Such a sweet valentine .Paris as she is and is so rarely caught on film Merci…..

  • But have you ever visited La Mere de Famille in the 9th? Semblable.

  • Susan: Yes I have! They’re listed in my Paris Pastry Guide. I like poking around their shop, although the folks who work there aren’t nearly as much fun.

    Stephanie + Kate: She speaks so fast, I had to get Romain to help me translate. And even he had a hard time, so I’ll let him know.

    Tim E: One of the things that she carries that is less than €5, if you’re on a budget, is the L’Atlantique – am amazing bar of chocolate with a crisp brown sugar cookie and caramel in it. It’s great.

  • Dear David

    Your video is a delight – when I visit Paris again this chocolate shop will be first on my list of places to visit. Thank you so much.

    Janette

    PS I enjoy your blog posts and await them eagerly. JH

  • Thank you, David-very sweet video!

  • Hi David,
    Please keep the videos coming! One gets so much the feeling of “being there”. Who’s the videographer? Is it Romaine? Does he plan on being on the other side of the camera anytime? :)

    Regards,
    Jasmine

    • The videos was produced by Flow Films, and I’m trying to get the filmmaker in front of the camera because he’s rather knowledgeable about food (and wine!) himself.

  • Delightful journey into Madame’s candy shop. I love traveling through Paris through your blog, love the video’s even moreso. When I get to Paris in Sept. (for 6 weeks) I plan to visit my favorite “David Lebovitz” places.

  • David,
    Thanks for the video. In order to help people find the shop its at 30 Rue Pierre Fontaine just down the street from the Moulin Rouge.
    Anthony

  • I love the video! Please make more! I also heard you on Martha Stewart radio the other day! Great to put a voice with the blog! Love your blog, love your site!

    Cel

  • Hi David,
    Thanks for the post! My husband and I are on a “David Lebovitz” tour of Paris, and ran into another couple (also from California) also on a “David Lebovitz” tour of Paris. We hit Laduree, Eric Kayser and Fouquet today, ending the night off the Blanche station and completely missed this shop. Tomorrow! Thanks for sharing, you’ve made this trip fun.

    A bientot!

  • Always love your videos, and this is a gem! Also, you looked amazingly chic for a man whose every possession is in a plaster-covered limbo!

  • What a lovely video- I felt like I was right there at the shop with you!

    Plus, it was fun hearing your “speaking voice” for the first time!

    I hope there are many more videos to come!

  • You’re right about the people at Mere de la Famille. Kinda glum. Video: where did you exit the metro, Abbesses? What ligne? Going to Paris tomorrow de Chicago.

  • Oh dear, David, my daughter and I are visiting Paris from Far North Australia in two weeks, they are going to have to roll us off the aircraft upon our return! Divine destinations!

  • My girlfriend and I couldn’t wait to visit A l’Etoile d’Or during our first trip to Paris last year (based on your recommendation, bien sûr), and it was certainly one of the highlights of an amazing week. Unfortunately I felt like une vache américaine when I accidentally touched the glass guard that covers the truffles (and was swiftly scolded), but it was a great visit nonetheless. Loved the video!

  • I watched the Vimeo version of the visit, and then I watched all of your other films from over the years. Amazing. You really need to do more of these! I loved watching you explore Patrick Roger’s chocolate company, for example. And I’ve watched your trip to the public market multiple times.

    Please, please, please. Continue to go on these little adventures and bring us all along via these short films. I love them.

  • Oh, such wonderful memories of our last trip there! What a treasure of a shop, thank you for bringing it all back.

  • How have I missed this jewel of a shop? Thanks David for this video – really LOVE your videos – keep them coming!

  • Denise Acabo and her shop are the perfect Parisian time capsule confection! I first went to her shop 12 years ago and was immediately charmed by her, the unique chocolate assortment and those pigtails! It’s good to know she is still going strong . Thank you David for you delightful video!

  • It was so nice too see , I love stories like this, please please do more, they are very charming.

  • Such a charming shop with a charming proprietor-will have to visit the shop in June. And please more videos, including one of your new place once it rises from the ashes!

  • Ooooooh, I love that she only carries the Best of what’s available in France. My husband and I run a little cafe in the states, and we work very hard to procure the finest ingredients and pre-made products, and they’re getting harder to come by every year. I wonder if your lovely blonde and braided friend has mentioned having the same problems?

    • Interestingly, in the states, there’s the whole “artisan” food movement and so many people want to know where their products are sourced. So I would think it’d be easier to find many things in the US (although it likely depends on where you live..and, of course, good ingredients cost more than industrial stuff.) France is going through a similar conversation, where local and quality ingredients cost more than industrial stuff, so it’s easier to find mixes and pre-made items which a lot of restaurants are using.

      Fortunately in Paris, there’s a resurgence in people seeking out good food and the restaurants (and sweet shops!) that offer them, are quite busy – which is a good sign.

  • Un peu de culture des sixties…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts5c4l9IhqM&feature=related
    ” Lorsque le sucre d orge coule dans la gorge d Annie, elle est au Paradis!!! ” C est pour toi Denise, un jour j irai te voir juste pour tirer sur tes couettes coquines ….et sucer un Negus, un bonbon de mon pays….

  • Thanks for posting this. I just sent it to a friend who is in Paris for her birthday. It looks like the perfect treat.

  • Ah! My sweet tooth is causing me to drool as I watch this video! Thank you for sharing.

  • David,

    Down in the depths of the 16eme there is another not unlike what you describe.
    It’s called Servant and I even think they wear white gloves but I can’t be sure of that!
    Nice clip..

  • M. Lebovitz,

    You break my heart. We went there, and there was a little note saying that she was on vacation. I understand that even goddesses need a break, but…

  • Please stop tormenting me forthwith! Bergamont candy? There really exists bergamont candy?………… Yours in abject deprivation, Karen

  • Hi David,

    This shop reminded me of the huge window at my grandfather’s store full of candy and incredible treats! I believe I have a genetic desire for chocolate, thanks to my Mom. She tought me how to savor them, save them and whip them out in times of need! As right NOW…after watching that wonderful video! The video reminded me of some VALRHONA chocolate my Boss brought me from her vacation in France…in 2009!!! I had a piece of Alpaco…and now I am smiling! Thnx for sharing!

  • I visited her store on my 60th birthday with a group of friends (this was almost eight years ago). I had read about her in another blog, and she saw me looking at the printout while I was in the shop … in French I tried to explain to her that it was a blog, but she heard only blague, or the French word for joke. All finally became clear, and, after a few more moments of conversation, she smiled and gave me some wonderful chocolates as a birthday gift. A treasured memory….

  • I also heard 1903, but maybe she misunderstood your question. I doubt that she personally has owned the shop for the past 109 years… de toute façon she was so cute and eager to stuff you with chocolate, loved the video! It was well done, too; good cuts, perfect music… keep it coming!

  • what a little treasure. i love to find shops like this and it is wonderful they still exist with all the big chains taking over everywhere. great video {with lovely music} and now i’m craving sweets and chocolates and pralinés and… and… thanks for sharing this.

  • This is such a fabulous video! I visited the shop this morning and Denise greeted me like an old friend, although it was my first time there. I told her about your post and showed her the video on my iPhone, which she found just incredible, even though she hates seeing herself on film….don’t know why since she’s the cutest person alive. Thanks for sharing this – we are lucky to have someone as down-to-earth about good chocolate as Denise.

  • I am in love. Period.

    I’m not sure which of you is sweeter, but to find the two of you in such a sweet place, well…..you have made my day. :)

  • Quelle belle visite!

  • My favorite place in Paris!
    I should try to get there again before leaving..
    What a fun visit.
    I didn’t know caramel came enrobed in caramel!

  • David, I love your videos!!! They must be a lot of work, but please keep them coming. They transport me to Paris and it’s a lovely experience!

  • Wonderful, quick escape to an incredibly charming shop!

  • Greetings from Paris, David,
    I,m sorry I didn’t get to visit the lovely Denise on this trip but for the past eight days, I have been squeezing in as much as I possibly can. Thanks to you and your suggestions, we have had an incredible visit.Unfortunately, we leave tomorrow, but not without a few baguettes, madeleines and macarons.BTW, I was a bit disappointed wth G. Detou. I imagined a huge shop( possibly because of the name) and was surprised to see how miniscule it is!Nevertheless, I want to thank you again for everything you do.Good luck with your new digs!

  • One word, yummy, describes that shop, the chocolates and candies, her delightfulness and the video. Merci! Enjoy your blog and good luck with the renovation. Can’t wait to see the finished results.

  • ooo i love people like that. charming, passionate, motivated, so involved in something outside of herself. thank you so much for sharing.

  • We fortunate to visit L’Etoile D’Or on a very quiet day and had the great pleasure of a long, leisurely visit with M. Acabo. Such a bea beautiful little shop. We came away with many treats including Henri Le Roux caramels and Bernachon chocolates.

    Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories.

  • Very tempting! Paris is actually not that far from where we live in the Netherlands and I see the last time we went we totally wasted time by visiting museums and gardens :-)

  • You’ve got to love a soixante-dizaine with pigtails! :)

  • David – Thank you so much for this lovely video of my absolute favorite place in Paris! Each year when i return to see Mlle. Acabo and I purchase my assortment of “Toute la France”, which she packs so perfectly, I learn a little more about her. Never mind my French is not perfect, she is always welcoming and sweet and blesses me with a caramel or two to eat…plus, we had a spirited conversation last year about Harry Belafonte (whom she adores!).

    Love your blog,

    Patrick

  • Great video, you should do more of them! I remember that shop…wish I spent more time there!

  • I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to go back to Paris (drat, the last time I went, I visited Sacre Couer and didn’t know this was so close) but thanks for giving a virtual tour.

  • Hi David!
    Just trying my luck… you think it’s possible for you to share your coconut tapioca recipe with me??? il be forever grateful!!!! thanks in advance :) all the best to you always!!!!:)

  • Two years ago I made a solo trip to Paris. I managed to try chocolates from many noted chocolatiers in Paris but my very favorite was l’Etoile d’Or and Denise Acabo. Since I learned about her from David L. I mentioned his name and she showed me his book. She was very sweet and I enjoyed my visit to her shop and her wonderful chocolates and caramels.

    Thanks for the tip, David.

  • Dear David–I went to visit L’Etoile d’Or a few days ago. When I told Denice Acabo I had seen your video of her and her shop, she ran over, picked up a photograph of you and her together, and kissed your face in the photo. The Kalouga bars were sold
    out (surprise! surprise!), so I “settled” for the Bernachon Pate d’Amande Pistache
    bar. It was fabulous! The filling was smooth and creamy and tasted amazingly just
    like pistachios, unlike other marzipan I’ve had that was more paste-like in consistency and cloyingly sweet. Yum! Thanks for the tip.

  • We just visited this shop yesterday. We had seen the video while planning our trip. Denise Acabo was as delightful in person as she is on the video. She even gave our daughter Violet a little bag of candied violets. It was hard to choose what to buy! But we managed to pick out a number of treats. This was one of my favorite stops this trip.

  • congratulations of being a finalist in the saveur 2012 awards….your blog is everything a great blog should include….i hope all your friends band those who read your blogs ; have and /or will vote…..you have created a great blog

  • I am late to this party, but I just wanted to add that when I visited Paris about 2 years ago, I made a point of visiting this chocolate shop because of your recommendation.

    Ms. Acabo is as charming in person as you described her. I have a photo of her holding up a tray of chocolate with a huge smile on her face.

    And, of course, the chocolate was divine. Well worth the trip.