Guide to Aux Merveilleux de Fred in Paris

Aux Merveilleux de Fred is one of the most glittery cake shops in Paris. All the boutiques look alike, from the signature chandelier to the extra sweet meringue cream cakes being prepared on show from the window as a constant, delicious spectacle.

Fred bakery Paris

Aux Merveilleux de Fred Spreading Its Cakes Around Paris

I first wrote about Aux Merveilleux in 2012, after the first Paris cake shop opened in the 16th (not far from my office of 10 years). By then there were already 3 shops open in Paris.

Fast forward to 2021 and there are a staggering 9 boutiques, deliciously spread around the City, including another one just opened this summer in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, with queues always outside their new boutique. Nobody seems to mind queuing (unusual for France, I know!) simply because the spectacle of preparing the cakes are hypnotising in the window.
There’s also a dozen or so around France – and many more opening up around Europe. They’ve now opened stores in New York, Toronto and Tokyo.

Who is Fred of Les Merveilleux?

Fred is Frédéric Vaucamp, who started out in Northern France as a pastry chef apprentice at 14 and in 1982 opened his first traditional pâtisserie in Hazebrouck in Flanders. By 1995 he opened his first Merveilleux de Fred shop in Lille’s historical quarter. From then on, his lighter re-invention of the Merveilleux cake literally spread like hotcakes!

Today, with its doors always open and wafts of brioche coming from the oven, it’s not difficult to be lured in to this chandelier-clinking bakery. 

Why ‘Les Merveilleux‘?

Merveilleux cakes were popular cream-coated meringue confections in the 18th century in Northern France and Flanders. So, how did they get their name?

After the French Revolution, the Directory Regime (1796-1799) helped high society pick up elegance again. Self-confident women, known as les Merveilleuses, dressed in antique clothes – often humid, figure-hugging and transparent (oh-là-là!) – frequenting the first fashionable tea rooms, concert halls and theatres. They’d be seen with Les Incroyables, effiminate young people who’s mission was to seek pleasure.

Then the cakes were turned into a masculine name, Les Merveilleux.

meringue cakes fred Paris

What Are The Merveilleux Cakes?

Hopefully this post will help customers, as none of the names have descriptions on them in the shops.  I guess as clients, we’re supposed to know them already!

Each sweet meringue cake comes in large, individual or mini, and each take a theme from the 18th Century French society:

  • The Merveilleux: meringue, chocolate whipped cream and rolled in chocolate shavings;
  • The Incroyable: cinnamon lovers will love the speculoos cream coated meringue and rolled in white chocolate shavings;
  • The Impensable (Unthinkable) with its crispy creamy coffee meringue is our family favourite, without the little blog of Chantilly cream;
  • Sans-Culottes – meaning “without breeches or pants” – referring to the common people who largely took part in the French Revolution. This is whipped cream with caramel and rolled in crystallised meringue;
  • The Magnifique: meringue, praline whipped cream, rolled in almond chips and caramelised hazelnuts (mini only);
  • The Excentrique: those that like a cherry in their cake.
bakery window meringue cakes

Best Example of How to Window Shop in France – Licking Windows!

Merveilleux meringue and cream cakes are freshly prepared directly at the window, a particularity of each shop. This is perhaps the best example of how to window shop in France: in French, it’s called ‘faire du lèche-vitrine‘: literally to do some window-licking!

It’s not just the chocolate-flaked meringue cakes. Prepared in front of the customer are les gaufres fourrées (vanilla and rum waffles from Lille). Meanwhile, stacks of brioches stand in front of the ovens, ready to be baked.

Fred’s Cramiques or Brioches

Moreover, Fred took the traditional small raisin-filled Kramiek (Flemish) brioche from Flanders and added his own marvellous touch to the Cramiques.

You’ll find 3 different flavours: the traditional Cramique with juicy raisins, plain studded with over-sized sugar pearls, plus the chocolate cramique – generously studded with dark chocolate chips. Grab one and keep it for breakfast. Personally I prefer buying these as they’re not as sweet as the Merveilleux cakes.

Merveilleux de Fred Paris cramiques

What’s more, check out their cute logo. I find the silhouette couple so beautifully chic that I keep their boxes to re-cycle them for my homemade macarons.  As they don’t make macarons, it doesn’t look like I’m passing their cakes off as my own! 

So, what kind of Merveilleux are you? Marvellous, Incredible or Unthinkable?

Aux Merveilleux de Fred Paris
All open Monday-Sunday

24 rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 (near Centre Pompidou)
2 rue Monge, 75005
94 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 (see more pastry shops and tea rooms on this street)
29 rue de l’Annonciation (just off rue de Passy), 75016 (near Musée Marmottan Monet)
Place Louis Armand, Galerie des Fresques, 75012 (Gare de Lyon)
12 Place d’Aligre, 75012
23 rue Daguerre, 75014 (Montparnasse)
129 bis, rue Saint Charles, 75015
7 rue de Tocqueville, 75017

Merveilleux de Fred Paris Cramique

This post is not sponsored in any way.
Originally published 9th January 2012. Text/images update to reflect the new boutiques in Paris.

More shops near the Eiffel Tower

From the kitchen

45 responses to “Guide to Aux Merveilleux de Fred in Paris”

  1. Best Pastries Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris - Mad about Macarons - Teatime in Paris says:

    […] of Northern France and Flanders. There are a few boutiques in Paris – remember me discovering the first one in the 16th, just off rue de […]

  2. What a day indeed! I’m so happy to hear your back is better and this bakery trip looks like just the way to celebrate. Lovely treats!

  3. Everything looks incredible!! I absolutely love paris…my husband and I spent two weeks there about 2 years ago. I can’t wait to go back! 🙂

  4. Ahhh what a beautiful post, and all those sweets..Yum!
    Congrats to all winners!!!!Have a wonderful weekend, Jill!

  5. Wow – these certainly look delicious and I can see why you have to make them part of your routine! Congratulations to the winners of your book….I had my fingers crossed, but I’ll be hitting the book store soon to purchase my own copy!

  6. I love how these look and sound… I am still wrapping my head and tongue around “am I wrong” LOL I love accents.
    BTW I still haven’t gotten around to making stuff from your book. I am more than a little intrigued with the savory recipes.. I will keep you updated

  7. Visiting Paris was always my dream and finishing French Catholic School, I knew every part of Paris as if I had been there. This dream is getting very distant but as they say, hope always dies last. There is a pastry shop near my house where you can see them preparing cakes and chocolates and I always stop and gaze (and drool) whenever I pass from there.
    I am really excited to be one of the lucky winners of your cookbook and look forward to baking lots of macarons in the future. My daughter also got very excited when I told her about the cookbook.

  8. Arhhh what a nice pastry shop! Japan bakery/cake shops also have lovely wrapping for each shoppers. I kind of miss that custom. Sometimes it’s waste if it’s for home use, but it definitely brings elegance. Here, everything will go into a plastic bag or simple box… hard to find elegance sometimes. I wish there is a Japanese blogger who talks about Paris in details. I can imagine there are so many secret shops hidden in the city!

  9. These sound delicious! Next time I’m in Paris I’ll have all these wonderful spots to visit just from reading your wonderful reviews. It must be hard to stay skinny while living in Paris, with all the luscious goodies!

    • That’s what I love about living here, Vicki: the French women know how to keep slim, even with these temptations around. La vie est belle!

  10. Looks like you guys had a wonderful time. I dream of visiting France one day, and to be able to sit in my living room in NJ and experience Paris through your photography and words still leaves me in awe today. Congratulations Marinella on your soon to be published guide and on your new site. I wish you continued success and happiness. =] Those patisseries look INCREDIBLE. I am dieting for my resolution and miss chocolate more than anything lol

    • You poor thing – dieting? No, no, no. Dark chocolate in little doses will give you magnesium 🙂 These pâtisseries are unbelievably light, too; hope you can make it to Paris – I need to show you!

  11. I would love to be able to watch master pastry chefs at work. Thanks for the tour!

  12. Hi Jill! I wish I could try some of these goodies, they sound delicious! It is awesome that they let you watch make them, I’ll bet they are amazing :)!

  13. Those are some truly spectacular-looking desserts. And your friend’s blog sounds marvelous!

    • Aha – there’s that word, marvelous and marvellous. Apologies if any confusion, but I use UK English: it must look wrong to you. Oh, if only we all used the same – would be so much easier!

  14. I keep hearing about this place.
    Even though I don’t care much for chantilly I MUST try a baby bear size.
    I might have to change my taste buds over these delectables

    • I’m not a chantilly fan either – in fact, always ask without. BUT these are in a different league…

  15. Oh my goodness how I wish I still lived in Paris. I am taking note of all these places for my next visit though. These look incredible. I feel a bit bad for your dentist.

    • Emily, don’t feel bad: he takes it out on me very well by asking tons of questions just as he puts that sucker in my mouth. Try rolling the French Rs at the back of the mouth with that going on!

  16. You just gave me a walk in Paris – a peek – a spoonful. There is nothing as inviting as a Parisian bakery. My daughter is going to Paris in February for about 4 whole days. She’s a very poor graduate student and will be going through your blog among others to find places that delight and are on a budget!

  17. I love that you take us all around Paris, even to the dentist and of course the pastry shops:) I think that I am in Paris, Merci! Those pastries look so good, I would have a hard time choosing them. Even the boxes are cute.

  18. Jill, I am SOOOO glad to hear your back is finally better 🙂 And this post is being added right now to my “must visit this summer” list. Cannot wait to be hack in Paris again! Happy New year and wishing you health and happiness in 2012! xox

    • Thanks so much, Mardi. Yes, you remember me in a back brace, wasn’t funny. But testing pastries with you made up for it!

  19. I’ll take everything! It all looks so unbelievably delicious. Wish I was in Paris instead of Cali.

  20. They would have needed a window cleaner if I’d been standing there watching. How did you hold back? I love coming by here to drool and get jealous of your culinary adventures. The highlight of my day was Taco Bell. Yup, Paris is sounding so good right now.

  21. Thank you again Jill, I cannot wait to get that cookbook and bake away 🙂 I think the BIG ones are a fabulous idea, I would definitely get them! My dream is to travel to Paris one day, hopefully study overseas and eat all these amazing and beautiful creations!

  22. A morning escapade in Paris that involves pastry sounds wonderful to me, thanks for sharing all your lovely photos!

  23. A meringue or am I right LOL. The old ones are the best! Fantastic looking pastries, makes me yearn for another trip to Paris,
    Take care.

  24. They look awesome!

    Now let’s see if I have this right.

    You have baked meringues.

    The chocolate and chantilly cream is mixed together.

    The meringues are dipped in it.

    Then rolled in chocolate flakes. and coated with powdered sugar.

    The flavourings added to the chantilly ??

    And Voila

    I’m sorry if I am just repeating, but I’m trying to get it into my head.
    I wouldn’t mind trying these.
    They wouldn’t be as great as the ones in Paris….but I’m in Canada and won’t know the difference. ;<)

    • You’ve got it, Charlie. Sounds good, eh? My favourite was the one with cinnamon/speculoos bits added to the Chantilly. In any case if you can’t get to Paris, give this a go and you won’t be disappointed.

  25. Wow, these loove truly amazing! I’d love to try these next time I’m back in France 🙂

  26. Jill – I just adore stopping by your blog and seeing what is going on in Paris, dentist appointments and all. You have a warm and appealing way of writing. I feel like I’m there with you and your Italian friend having a coffee-croissant-chatter too! A happy new year to you and your family! I look forward to many more virtual coffee-croissant-chatters with you in 2012!

    • Thank you so much, Lisa. Sometimes I wonder if anyone really reads my stuff so you’ve made my day! Cheers on that virtual coffee and chatter…

  27. Thanks for this marvelous peek into the new pastry shop. I am sure that you enjoyed this better than the baby clothing! The worst thing though would be trying to decide what to get at that shop, all those pictures look delicious. Also glad to find out that a Paris city guide blog will be starting up.
    Lastly-congrats on the lucky winners of your wonderful book. Enjoy the day!

  28. Look at all those yummy goodies!!! We’ve booked our trip to France for early June, so I’m furiously taking notes! I will be bugging you for other ideas…be warned 🙂 And I’m hoping there’s a chance you’ll be in Paris one of the days we’re visiting! Tell Marinella thanks!!!

    • I hope we can meet up, too. Can’t wait to see you! Marinella’s site will help you – especially when the English translations go up soon. I’ll try and find some ideas in the way of future blog posts, as I want to share about the outskirts, too.

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