While New York was going crazy for cronuts this summer (an actual line from the bakery's website: "As a rule of thumb, if you arrive prior to 6:00am on a week day, you have a great chance of getting a Cronut™.") I had to settle for plain old croissants, which didn't actually seem like such a bad deal. My favorite came from Du Pain et Des Idées, tucked not far from the Canal Saint-Martin on the Right Bank.
The bakery is most famous for its escargots, so named for their snail-shell shape. The pinwheels of flaky pastry are lined with dark chocolate and pistachio. It looks innocent enough, but it leads you down the road to ruin. This is the sort of thing that caused my Parisian friend Sophie to remark, "French women don't get fat, but you, an American in Paris? You'll get fat."
I passed over the escargot many times, however, in favor of the croissants, delicate and flaky on the exterior with just the right amount of chewiness inside, wrapped straight across, not in a crescent (the curved shape usually indicates a croissant is not made with real butter in France). There is no doubting these are made with butter, and plenty of it.
While in Paris I learned that croissants are believed to have been invented in Vienna and that the baguette was not named as such until 1920. Is nothing sacred?