It’s been a while, but Paris is opening up to visitors again on June 9th! I wrote about some of the details in my recent newsletter (and some tips you might want to know if you plan to come) but although some food shops in Paris have been doing brisk business with the locals, many are happy to have visitors back. And not just for economic reasons; many shopkeepers like the mix of people who come into their shops and many foreigners are genuinely curious and want to learn more about the foods of France, and owners of small shops are usually happy to engage with them as they are proud of what they carry, especially in the better cheese shops, or fromageries.
Jennifer Greco is a life-long Francophile and French food and wine enthusiast with an especially strong passion for French cheese. After moving from the U.S. to the south of France almost two decades ago, she has steadily been tasting her way through each and every cheese produced in France, a project that started one day on a whim and has developed into a full-fledged infatuation. To date, she says she has tasted just under 400 of the approximately 1500 fromages made in France. (Charles de Gaulle underestimated his cheese-making compatriots when he said “How can you govern a country which has 246 types of cheese?”)
Jennifer is now based in Paris where she leads gourmet food and wine tours, as well as online seminars, and guides fellow fromage lovers at small group tastings both privately and with Paris by Mouth. Jennifer shares her love for regional French cheeses on her blog, Chez Loulou, and for a handful of publications, while she’s currently studying to earn a French Wine Scholar certificate. Jennifer previously shared her Top 10 French Cheeses here on the blog and I’m happy that she’s offered to share her Top 10 Favorite Cheese Shops in Paris here, too!
The Top 10 Cheese Shops in Paris
There is no shortage of cheese shops in Paris, offering a diverse assortment of the wonderful cheese produced across France, which I’ve been tasting my way through. Below are my Top 10 Favorite Cheese Shops in Paris that go above and beyond by offering some of the most unusual and special French cheeses, who promote small producers and take pride in educating their clientele about the importance of raw milk French cheeses and cheesemaking traditions. Bon appétit!
I love the passion that exudes from the couple that owns Taka & Vermo. After an epic 10,000 kilometer (over 6,000 miles) journey around France and Europe to meet small farmers and cheesemakers, owners Laure Takahashi and Mathieu Vermorel opened their bright, modern fromagerie with the intention of championing the artisans they met on their travels.
Located in the bustling Faubourg Saint-Denis neighborhood, the couple offers unique creations such as fresh goat cheese adorned with yuzu, and Saint-Nectaire enhanced with a layer of sansho peppercorns, in a nod to Laure’s Japanese heritage. I admire their commitment to supporting small producers, and their exemplary perfectly ripened cheeses!
61 bis Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010
This shop is a favorite because it’s one of the friendliest fromageries in the chic (and sometimes a tad haughty) Saint-Germain neighborhood. Alexandre Gayral, a third-generation fromager, and his knowledgeable team offer exceptional cheeses as well as a varied selection of charcuterie, French honey, and jam. They also sell unpasteurized farmhouse butter that’s perfect for slathering on toasted bread, but is so delicious I often just eat small chunks of it like cheese (it will change your life, trust me!). Alex’s wife is Italian, so they also offer an interesting selection of Italian products such as hard mountain cheeses wrapped in chestnut leaves, or for the well-heeled, cheese studded with truffles.
Two items that I always purchase here are Saint-Domnin de Provence, a tangy goat cheese decorated with a sprig of lavender, and Hércule, a hard, buttery mixed sheep and goat milk cheese produced in the Pyrénées mountains. Shopping here is a delight, both for the selection of cheeses and the wonderful staff.
19 rue St Placide 75006
A fromagerie attached to a cheese-themed restaurant…what could be better?
At Monbleu you’ll find a well-curated selection of traditional French cheeses from the best producers, with a focus on fromages from the Alps, as well as unusual regional cheeses that have been hand-picked by a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (an official designation, and honor, that denotes someone who is considered a “best craftsperson” in France). I always plan lunch or “Happy Cheese” Hour (from 5-8 pm) at the restaurant to coincide with my cheese shopping.
37 rue du Faubourg Montmartre Paris 75009
This well-organized classic fromagerie is my go-to for impeccably matured raw milk French cheese. On my most recent visit, there were 12 month, 18 month, 24 month, 30+ month and 40+ month wheels of Comté on offer. It’s not easy to find so many ages of this spectacular cheese in one place! It’s the ideal spot to organize a vertical Comté tasting for yourself and friends; I would start with the youngest version, when the cheese is mild, fruity and floral, and slowly work my way up through to the oldest wheel, which will have the most concentrated, nutty and rich caramel flavors. They’re perfect paired with a glass of Champagne or even better, a wine from the Jura, the region where Comté is made.
12 rue du Champ de Mars 75007
Frescolet, which means “pleasantly fresh” in Occitan (a medieval language that is still spoken in parts of southern France), was founded by friends Jean Chimisanas and Hadrien Senegas a few years ago in the Pigalle neighborhood. The duo, who hail from the Occitanie region, have created a retro-style shop that dedicates much of its space to products from their home region, many of which are impossible to find elsewhere in Paris.
In addition to olive oil and wine, they offer a unique range of goat cheeses that are created at Hadrien’s family farm in the south of France, specifically for their shop. I happily trek across town to shop here, knowing I will find a selection of limited-production cheeses from Occitanie, including a sweet and zesty ash-covered Montagne Noir Cendré goat cheese, and Maonet, a small, hexagonal-shaped, rich ewes’ milk cheese.
42 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 75009
Twiggy and Michel Sanders, two of the nicest cheesemongers in Paris, share their passion and knowledge from their stand inside the covered market of Saint-Germain, which caters to the well-heeled denizens of the 6th arrondissement. They are always warm and welcoming, offering an extensive selection of cheese and other dairy products. Once you’ve tasted their perfectly ripened, runny Saint-Marcellin and Saint-Féliciens from the notable producer, Mère Richard, you’ll never buy them anywhere else.
This authentic Parisian market is also the perfect place to stock up on picnic supplies. A handful of purveyors sell fresh fruit and vegetables, there’s a nice wine shop, a stand that specializes in truffles, and a few vendors who sell cured ham, pâtés, and other types of charcuterie.
Marché Couvert Saint-Germain, 4 Rue Lobineau, 75006
Though these fromageries are quite possibly the priciest in Paris, this is where I go when I want a one-of-a-kind cheese or if I’m looking for the very best cheese that France has to offer. I suggest taking your time and asking questions. They welcome cheese-loving visitors from all over the globe, so the staff are multilingual and have been expertly trained to help you put together the perfect cheeseboard, or choose cheeses to vacuum seal (sous-vide) to take home with you.
The extraordinary products offered here, such as a ewes’ milk cheese meticulously layered with minced black truffle, fresh chèvres marinated in nut oils with herbs and chiles, as well as the classic French fromages are worth every centime.
47 ter Bd Saint Germain 75005 Paris
2 rue de Lourmel 75015 Paris
97 rue Saint Antoine 75004
This family-owned fromagerie is the best spot in the upper Marais for expertly ripened cheese. Priscilla and her husband Nicolas are both fromagers and affineurs (experts trained in the art of aging cheese) and they mature their cheeses in 17th century stone cellars underneath the shop. Affinage is a special skill and not many fromageries have the space, or the know-how, so it definitely makes this cheese shop special.
I love their dedication to the profession, offering a generous array of seasonal chèvres in the spring and summer, which are sourced directly from small producers, and in the winter they offer a few wheels of Tomme du Jura au Vin Jaune, a cheese that Nicolas picks up personally in the French Alps every November. It’s a cheese I look forward to tasting every year!
39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003
When Pierre Brisson decided to open his own fromagerie, he went all out. His first shop, on the rue du Faubourg du Temple, is an impressive three-story shop dedicated to dairy! In addition to selling cheese, they offer classes on both cheesemaking and tasting, and Pierre produces and ripens cheeses himself on-site. His second shop is more traditional and tucked away in the 15ème (luckily just around the corner from me!), and also offers his hand-picked products.
Pierre works closely with many farmers and small producers throughout France, so this is where I go when I’m on the hunt for something unusual such as seasonal, smoked goat cheese made just outside of Paris or a buttery cow’s milk tomme nestled and aged in fresh hay.
41 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75010
223 Rue de la Croix Nivert, 75015
This is a noteworthy fromagerie for the generous selection of Corsican cheeses such as farm-produced Brocciu, a fine curd, fresh cheese that is somewhat like ricotta but made with ewes milk, and Venaco, a rich and heady fromage made from either goat or ewes milk and produced in the Corsican mountains.
The passionate owner, Clément Brossault, goes out of his way to make everyone who walks in feel welcome and there is a close-knit, neighborhood spirit to the place. He and his staff welcome questions and I truly admire their dedication to supporting small farmers and promoting raw milk cheese. This is a fromagerie that I happily go out of my way for!
1, rue Abel Rabaud 75011
Photos and text by Jennifer Greco.
Jennifer shares her Top Ten Cheeses in France here.
Visit Jennifer at Chez Loulou.