A l’Etoile d’Or to Reopen November 3rd

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When a gas explosion that happened in the basement destroyed her shop, many couldn’t believe that one of their favorite chocolate shops in Paris was gone, including Denise Acabo herself. I visited her shortly afterward and she was in shock, missing her store – but most of all, missing meeting all the locals and out-of-towners that came in to visit.

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I posted an update a few months later from her apartment, where she was keeping busy dealing with the aftermath of the explosion, writing notes, seeing visitors, and dealing with the wreckage. She told me that she wanted to reopen the shop, which she’s had for nearly forty years. But seeing the collapsed floors, shattered glass windows, and caved-in walls, I didn’t think she would have the courage to have the place rebuilt. The beautiful wood cabinets that were once filled with jars of French candy, the weathered glass shop window filled with vintage curiosities, and the intricately tiled floor seemed irreplaceable. How could it come back?

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Well, it is. And scheduled to reopen on November 3rd. Madame Acabo has been busy ordering Bernachon chocolate, Bonnat bars, Mazet pralines, and the other candies and treats that filled the glass jars that were the hallmark of her only-in-Paris shop. Over lunch, she could barely contain how excited she was to have her store back.

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Leading up to the reopening, Denise has been working hard to fill the shelves and jars with all the treats and treasures that she’s known for. The wooden table that once held the famed Bernachon bars has been repaired, ready to be stacked again with France’s renowned bean-to-bar chocolate bars. And a new luster has been given to the glass and refinished woodwork, bringing back the shine to this Paris treasure.

A l’Etoile d’Or
30, rue Pierre Fontaine (9th)
Tél: 01 48 74 59 55
Métro: Blanche or Pigalle


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63 comments

  • October 26, 2015 2:02pm

    Dear David: I’ve been following you for years, your books are on my night table, but I never comment: there are so many others doing it! But this time I felt I needed to say something, but what exactly can I say about the admiration I feel for such a great human being like Madame Acabo. People like her bring faith to my heart and I truly thank you for the nice post

  • Jp
    October 26, 2015 2:35pm

    That’s such great news !
    She’s a lovely lady and her delicious products will be more than welcome for the holiday season.

    Bon retour Denise !

  • Susan B
    October 26, 2015 3:18pm

    Yesssss! I noticed work going on there about a month ago so I’m delighted she’s back so soon. Well, actually it’s been a while, but it’s wonderful that she’s forging ahead. Can’t wait to visit next month!

  • October 26, 2015 3:32pm

    Such great news. I will definitely be visiting when I am in Paris in January. So, David, I know this is a tough question, but if there was ONE thing you would recommend buying (OK, two), what would it be?

    • October 26, 2015 3:46pm
      David Lebovitz

      The Kalouga bars from Bernachon.

    • October 26, 2015 9:20pm

      If you are travelling, bring a hard sided box for the Kalouga Bars! They are the wonderful but soft and you don’t want them to get crushed.

      • suon
        October 27, 2015 7:56pm

        Good to know!

  • October 26, 2015 4:32pm

    This is fantastic news – bravo to Mme Acabo, what a wonderful lady and shop!

  • October 26, 2015 4:36pm

    Such a great news ! I’ll make sure to go soon to support and will put it back on my Gourmet list for my guests. Thanks David for letting us know.

  • October 26, 2015 4:41pm

    I’m glad to hear the store will be opening again. I love a happy ending…..and good chocolate.

  • anne
    October 26, 2015 4:43pm

    The best possible news! Thank you Mme Acabo, it will be a pleasure to see you again, and thank you David for letting us know.

  • October 26, 2015 4:44pm

    This is such wonderful news! I so happy for Denise. She must be so excited!

    Although it is personally bittersweet as I was just in Paris last week and can’t believer that I missed the reopening by two measly weeks. I’d have made changes to my travel plans if I’d known, as I’ve been dreaming of coming to the store for years. I guess that just gives me one more reason to aim for another trip to Paris!

  • October 26, 2015 4:49pm

    How wonderful! What a strong woman!

  • Don
    October 26, 2015 4:50pm

    There is a god! This alone is reason enough for a trip to celebrate in Paris! Thanks for the great news David.

  • October 26, 2015 4:50pm

    So glad that she is able to get her shop open again!

  • Allegra
    October 26, 2015 5:05pm

    Oh dear! what wonderful news. I am so happy for her, but if I were to be totally honest I will have to say that I am so happy for me :)

    And just in time for a Christmas order too, double gift.

  • Angie
    October 26, 2015 5:08pm

    This is such wonderful news! Looking forward to visiting when we are there in the spring.

  • October 26, 2015 5:15pm

    Great reminder to persevere in the face of set backs! I am glad you shared this post, David. If I’m lucky enough to visit Paris again in the near future, I will surely visit this gem.

  • Bonnie L
    October 26, 2015 5:16pm

    Thank you, David, for keeping us apprised of Mme Acabo’s progress. You are a good friend indeed! Personally, I am looking forward with delight to introducing A l’Etoile d’Or to my husband when we visit in November. Hurray!

  • Suon
    October 26, 2015 5:23pm

    I didn’t know about this shop. Thank you for the info. We’ll definitely go there when we travel to Paris. And to think that November 3 is our anniversary, too!

  • Colin
    October 26, 2015 5:27pm

    Under President Hollande, French investors have little to invest in within France, so I am sure that M. Acabo will prove a good investment.

  • October 26, 2015 5:46pm

    I cannot begin to express how happy this makes me! I lived on Rue Victor Masse, right around the corner, while studying pastry in Paris back in 2003. I adored visiting this shop and seeing Madame Acabo and basking in her enthusiasm. In fact, tasting the Bernachon bon bons she sold was one of the key experiences that steered me away from cakes and toward chocolate (my current profession) as my primary focus after pastry school. I took so many visitors to this special place, and I was crushed to learn of the explosion and her forced closing.

    As a chocolatier and retailer, I know how challenging it is to make a go of it under the best of circumstances. What a remarkable come-back she has made! So, so, so happy for Madame Acabo that she has fought her way back! She’s an inspiration. Bon courage, Madame, and Félicitations!

    • Lisa M in Indy
      October 30, 2015 12:31am

      Beautiful inspirational story, Casey. And sweet story about Mme Denise, David. I’m so happy for her. Please give her best wishes from all of her fans here.

  • Denise
    October 26, 2015 5:48pm

    So glad to hear this.

  • Sherry F.
    October 26, 2015 5:49pm

    I’m so happy to hear this. I was thinking about her shop as we walked in her neighborhood last month. Now I’ll have to wait until next trip to get back there, but looking forward to it.

  • Helen
    October 26, 2015 5:54pm

    Fantastic news. Wish I could book a flight to Paris immediately.

  • Orly
    October 26, 2015 6:58pm

    So glad this all work worked out! She’s such a wonderful woman. This news made my day!

  • Sarah
    October 26, 2015 8:02pm

    This is the best news! I’m so happy! Please send her our best wishes.

  • Jacqueline
    October 26, 2015 8:04pm

    Someday I hope to be able to travel to France and visit her beautiful shop … So happy for her, truly!!!

  • Ellen McCarthy
    October 26, 2015 8:10pm

    Fantastic news for Madame Acabo as well as her fans! It’s enough for me to book a trip to Paris…almost.
    Looking forward to seeing you, David, as well at Yotam, later this week in San Francisco. My favorite foodies together!!
    And chocolate news! The week bodes well.

  • Kathleen
    October 26, 2015 8:33pm

    This is fabulous news!! Finally I will be able to get more Bernahcon Kalouga bars!!

  • October 26, 2015 8:53pm

    Wonderful news! I always am happy to hear of icons returning after difficult and/or sad events. It’s people like Mme who make Paris an iconic city.

  • Karen Bell
    October 26, 2015 9:37pm

    At first I thought she was a victim of the explosion. Thank you she was not.

    • cR
      November 5, 2015 7:45pm

      @Karen Bell

      Me too!

      “When a gas explosion that happened in the basement destroyed her shop, many couldn’t believe that one of their favorite chocolate shops in Paris was gone, INCLUDING DENISE ACABO HERSELF.”

      The end of that first paragraph gave me the heebee jeebs!

      I’m glad I was wrong, that she’s ok, and her shop is re-opening.

      I myself plan on being a older lady who still rocks braids someday.

  • October 26, 2015 9:51pm

    This is such wonderful news. I am scheduled to lecture in Paris in the late spring of 2016. I will definitely pay a visit to A l’Etoile d’Or and Mme Acabo!

  • October 26, 2015 10:48pm

    I’m so happy to hear this, thank you for updating us! I look forward to visiting her shop.

  • Linda
    October 26, 2015 11:33pm

    I’m so happy for her.

  • Paula
    October 26, 2015 11:37pm

    David, thank you for the wonderful news! We ran into Denise last year at the Salon du Chocolat. She pulled out a binder of pictures of the shop, the damage and of you. We will definitely be shopping there this spring!

  • Steve L.
    October 27, 2015 3:01am

    There is so much bad news around us; this is balm for the soul. Even if I never get back there, it will be good to know that in this tiny corner of Paris things have returned to their cheerful state of normal.

  • susan wing
    October 27, 2015 3:22am

    What amazing and unexpected news. I had visited Ms. Acabo’s jewel box shortly before the accident and was completely enchanted with her and her shop. I have her lovely wrapping paper framed in my kitchen and I hope to say that if I ever get back to Paris, she will be the first place that I go to (with a big empty suitcase). Thank you for the update and for keeping us connected to her.

  • Chelsea
    October 27, 2015 4:09am

    Dear David, I am so happy for her. Hopefully I can visit it someday.

  • Tammy Young
    October 27, 2015 5:17am

    Yay! I will be in Paris for six weeks from December 7, so I can now add this store to my list of must-visits!

  • Judith
    October 27, 2015 5:38am

    David…..just wondering if French insurance companies are as difficult to deal with, as here in America. So happy to hear that Madame is returning…bravo!

  • October 27, 2015 8:39am

    When the plywood came down on the storefront I was pleasantly surprised to see that the bulk of the art nouveau casework survived (or was restored).

    Having walked past more recently than that (including just yesterday), it does not appear that the quirky sidewalk display drawer will be part of the restoration. We — my wife in particular — loved that bit.

    Great to see she’s making a comeback.

  • Debbie
    October 27, 2015 1:17pm

    Dear David

    I am overjoyed to hear this news. Felicitations, Mme Acabo! We will visit next year.

    Debbie

  • Diedra
    October 27, 2015 2:50pm

    I don’t often comment but I have to mention that I’m so happy for her. Happy she has the courage to reopen her shop and just be unique, authentic, and wonderful. She’s an inspiration and I hope she will know of all the wonderful comments on your blog.

  • October 27, 2015 2:54pm

    I didn’t even know of this store, but I’m so happy to read she’s coming back. Will look for it the next time I’m in Paris–I hope there’s a next time!

  • violette kogut
    October 27, 2015 4:42pm

    I read all your articles and take notes for my next trip to Paris.

    I know Paris well, I was born in that city, most of the place you cite are my turf. The forestines come from the city of Bourges. These candies are superb, unfortunately the store had a fire and the store is closed for a while. They are trying they are trying to reopen the place.

    I love your recipes, some are very fatty in my book, and pretty soon we will not eat as much meat or charcuterie.
    Adieu rillettes et saucisses de Lyon, or Pate de campagne – tant pis!

  • Midnite Baker
    October 27, 2015 5:11pm

    Please give Madame Acabo my Congratulations for the courage to forge ahead and reopen her wonderful shop.

  • Susan
    October 28, 2015 3:46am

    Yay yay yay!!

  • Danna PARK
    October 28, 2015 5:33pm

    Bravo Mme Acabo! I’m so glad for her and of course for all of us- she is a true treasure and lovely lady. Last time I visited, we talked for an hour and it was delightful! I actually traveled to Lyon specifically for a visit to Bernachon last year after the terrible destruction, and the ladies in the Bernachon store also had nothing but lovely things to say about Mme Acabo. Sending continued healing and a joyous opening celebration to her for November!

  • Dante
    October 28, 2015 8:44pm

    Hi David – Thank you for the update on Mme Denise Acabo. It was because of your blog that I visited her shop when I went to visit friends in Paris. I found her to be so warm, friendly and motherly. It was one of the highlights of my trip that year. My heart sank when I learned of the explosion that decimated her shop but I am so happy now that she is back on her feet again. I will certainly make it a point to visit her when I go back and enjoy those Bernachon chocolate bars once more.

  • October 29, 2015 10:51am

    I’m so happy for her! I’ve lived in Paris for two years and used to go to her store every month to grab Kalouga and Orange Bernachon chocolate bars. And of course, I used to talk with Denise for long hours. She’s passionate about her store and her clients!

  • Nicole
    October 29, 2015 6:21pm

    This just fills my heart with happiness!

  • October 29, 2015 7:37pm

    I´m so happy about this. Thanks for letting us know. Is the store definitely opening on Nov. 3? I would come to Paris for two days, because of it. I really missed visiting her store the past few times I was in Paris.

    • October 29, 2015 10:33pm
      David Lebovitz

      She told me that she is opening on November 3rd, however things somedays don’t always go as planned : ) So always best to call ahead if you can, just in case it’s not.

      • October 29, 2015 11:06pm

        Thanks. I’m already hooked. I’ll try to get two days of from work and just hope to find an opened chocolate heaven.

        • November 5, 2015 8:38pm

          Went there on Nov. 4. Lovely as before. Thanks again for letting us know about the reopening.

  • AlexH
    October 30, 2015 12:43am

    Hooray! This photo of Madame Acabo is one of my very favorite photos ever. I don’t know her, but with her twinkling eyes, bright smile, and youthful braid– she seems to be bursting with girlish happiness. Love it.

  • November 5, 2015 9:56pm

    That’s wonderful news! I remember when you wrote about the fire and feeling so sad that I’d never been or get to go.

  • John F
    November 18, 2015 9:15am

    All of the above plus a big THANK YOU to you David. I am sure that your support and confidence has helped inspire Madame Acabo to re-open. I know she was unsure about it.
    Well done.

  • Joëlle Browne
    November 25, 2015 4:02am

    What a wonderful passionate woman Denise is. We wandered in while strolling through the streets of Paris and instantly she had us mesmerised by her love and knowledge of chocolate. Yes we bought plenty. Merci from two Australian tourists xxx