Best Paris Pâtisserie Bags to Recycle

A fun look at the range of recyclable patisserie bags in Paris. With a nod to Paris fashion week, match your outfit colours with a temporary handbag from one of the many Parisian pâtisseries. Some ideas to recycle your sweet Parisian souvenirs.

Paris patisserie bag to recycle - white and orange with leaf holes

Patisserie & Chocolate Shop Recylable Bags in Paris

I was in the Place de Saint Sulpice the other day, minding my own business. Sitting by the fountain, looking up at the Saint Sulpice church and nibbling on an Ispahan macaron (what else? Here’s where I explain what Ispahan is). Suddenly I realised a few people looking at my patisserie bag. Was it a status symbol? A Parisian pastry handbag?

Anyone who knows their Paris pâtisserie bags will recognise it’s not just any old bag. Its leafy holes are Pierre Hermé’s signature: telling passers-by that you’re about to indulge in the sweet works by the Picasso-of-Pastry (as Vogue called Hermé). However, these leafy sneaky-peeky holes waft the temptations of flaky viennoiserie Ispahan croissants for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Can I keep my French art of self-control? The goal is to resist temptation and save them for any pre-nibbles for the family’s enjoyment later. Besides, if I stay around too long, the butter may just stain this more paper-like handbag and so there’s proof in the pudding – or bag’s exterior!

carrying many white and cream Patisserie bags to recycle

Growing collection of Parisian patisserie bags by colour – it’s time to recycle!

Patisserie Bags: Temporary Parisian Fashion Accessories

Which made me think. Over the years, us Parisians can clock up a fair number of patisserie bags, so it’s time to recycle. Especially when I realise they all have a colour theme.

Have you noticed people sporting Parisian patisserie bags filled with guide books, rather than pastry or chocolate? The good news is that perhaps locals and tourists are thinking about the environment to recycle them. Pâtisseries are encouraging us to return with the pastry bags – but perhaps we can also just use them as a fashion accessory too?

So, let’s look at the colours and see if we can keep a collection of them, depending on weather, outfit colour and size.

holding up a famous green pastry bag in Paris

Perhaps the most recognised pastry bag around Paris is from Ladurée. Louis Ernest Ladurée would have been amazed 150 years after opening his first shop to see how many tourists now show off the characteristic pastel shade of green with his name cameoed in the centre, bordered by leaves. Ah, leaves again as a royal Versailles look (like Stohrer – see below). The golden rope is comfortable poised on the wrist, and its shape is ideal for positioning Paris guide books after macaron tastings.

Talking of which, I can handle a few other bags with ropes and ribbons.

chocolate brown patisserie bag with blue spots and ribbons

I love spotting Paris patisserie bags. Particularly if it’s to support the annual charity event, the Jour de Macaron. For details of participating Parisian pâtisseries, including Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, Jean-Paul Hévin, and Arnaud Larher, see my Complete Guide to Macaron Day in Paris.

Spot the handles of ribbons, which are not only pretty but easy on the hands too.

orange patisserie bag with brown handles for Paris macarons

The bright orange bags are big and bold.  Just like those of A la Mère de Famille, the oldest chocolate shop in Paris (1761). Don’t forget to check out the original store on Boulevard Faubourg Montmartre. I love the bright orange colours – dare I say, they are on the same colour scheme as the luxury Hermès bags – but without the price tag of the expected contents.

raincoat with orange Parisian patisserie bag

French celebrity chef, Cyril Lignac gets the applause for the biggest spots on his patisserie bags with bold blue on white. Perfect if matching up a classic French outfit of blue jeans, white top or white trousers, blue striped or spotted top with a blue jacket.

blue and white coordinating outfit with a recycled spotted blue and white patisserie bag

Christophe Roussel‘s shiny black bags are rather stylish for transporting his macarons and chocolates in Montmartre. The Roussel family are very conscious of the environment and, where possible, encourage locals and tourists alike to think about re-cyling.

black shiny chocolate bag in front of the Paris metro

When it comes to sturdy handles and Parisian chic, Patrick Roger knows how to concoct the perfect little bright green handbag to say, ‘I’ve been there and tasted his expensive chocolates’. They even resemble the shape of a Hermes Birkin bag but a paper version without the worry of choosing which leather and colours of trimmings needed. Seriously, I jest. It’s a worry I could deal with.

green bag in front of chocolate shop in paris

Re-cycling Patisserie Boxes

I failed on this one, as I couldn’t find my patisserie bag – just the boxes!  However, we somehow managed to preserve the insides of these beautiful blue and white pastry boxes from Stohrer, the oldest pâtisserie in Paris (1730).

Admittedly, it’s not that easy to keep the actual pastry boxes as, if you’re like me, I tend to move the cakes around too much while walking. By the time I get home, many of the pastries are touching the sides so it’s not that hygienic to re-use. Many patisseries stick the undersides of the pastries’ base support cards or paper with scotch tape to stop them moving around.  It helps to preserve the box to use again but not great on using sellotape. It’s not that easy, is it? Any ideas welcome in the comments below.

Now, how about a classic blue and white clothes combination to match before going back for a refill?

blue and white pastry boxes with clothes to match

Hm. I think I like blue and white.  Well, there’s nothing to beat the classics.

Plus, bravo to Sadaharu Aoki, as his pastry bags are also quite waterproof!

shiny white patisserie bag in front of a Paris shop

There are many more pâtisserie bags to choose from in Paris, bien sûr. Hopefully this has just whet your appetite.

Recycle Bags For Leftover Teatime Cakes

Hold on (get it?), I just about forgot to mention the doggy bags.  In France, of course, we don’t call them doggy bags or say, ‘to go’. If you have a wonderful Parisian teatime and can’t manage all the cakes, you can politely ask them to put your cakes aside for taking home.  For that, I’d say, “Pourriez-vous les mettre à côté, s’il vous plaît?“.

You know, there’s not even an exact saying we have, as the French don’t normally do this. Although it is becoming more popular, as we’re all trying more to avoid wastage. Normally, they’ll finish the phrase for you and propose to prepare a box (une boîte pour emporter) as a souvenir.

black red and gold bag in Paris

Paris teatime at Le Grand Vefour means black, red and gold; at the Ritz, it’s a navy blue patisserie bag.  So, either clash or match, depending if you want to be camouflaged with the velvet seats. In any case, I just can’t bring myself to throw out such lovely bags like these ones. Let’s recycle them!

So, what are your favourite bags that you like to keep as sweet Paris souvenirs?

This post was first published on 29 July 2012 but is now updated. None of this post is sponsored. I buy so many pastries this is purely personal and just for fun to share in the art of recycling bags for the environment.

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27 responses to “Best Paris Pâtisserie Bags to Recycle”

  1. I think my favorite is the black with the pop of green. Very clean and stylish, though I do like the idea of a environmentally friendly bag as well (obviously). The pastries inside are the show-stoppers of course; I would probably forget how it was packaged after eating that beautifully flaky and perfectly executed croissant. Definitely an acceptable breakfast food.

    • Or for brunch or goûter/afternoon snack near a fountain…
      These bags are my personal favourites too, Kate.

  2. What an interesting way to tour Paris, Jill. The French are so good at packing up little treats with proper respect.

  3. “tablette de chocolat” I knew I was missing something, what a great phrase ! I had a Hediard bag that I wistfully looked at and didn’t want to throw away, happy memories 😉

    • Glad you liked that bit, Pauline. Was so excited when I learned that from my daughter! I love learning these cool French phrases.

  4. Jill, This is a terrific post from start to finish. There’s no denying the French have mastered the art of self control—something I would no doubt lack especially if I were in the shopping district you were. From the photos they have the upper hand on stylish packaging too. I rather liked the croc bag. Which was my favorite? In the end, the one that glazed my eyes over was… the… Ispahan croissant!

    • Thanks so much, Brooks. What do you think? Perhaps we could create a croissant bag?

  5. One of the things I love so much about shopping in Europe is that whatever you buy is so carefully packaged. These bags are no exception!

    • You’re so right. They have a way of making you feel special (if you pay enough to receive one, that is ;-))

  6. Oooh! I want one of each filled to the brim with treats! I really like the Roussel bags. You can send me two of those 😉

    • Why don’t you send yourself and we can have fun filling them to the brim. I love jobs like that!

  7. I love this post. So creative. I have a ton of shopping bags I’ve saved over the years from high end stores Ike Tiffany’s. They do make pretty accessories.

    • Interesting, Lora. So do you use them or just hang on to them and hang them from door handles like myself? Not the best use, eh?

  8. One thing similar to French and Japanese is that we do care about bags and wrappings beyond the products. I enjoyed looking at all kinds of bags, and yes, let’s pray hard to win Lotto to buy Hermès Birkin bag!! LOL. By the way, my gosh, after seeing the last photo, I don’t know how I can go to sleep….

    • Now you mention it, Nami, I can’t sleep now thinking that I could try and invent a posh bag like this that can hold as much butter in these croissants without making the bag greasy!

  9. Gosh Jill, most places here charge you for bags and they aren’t even pretty. I like the leaf one best. It’s so cute. I sure need to come to Paris. I think I’d never want to leave.

    • Don’t be fooled, Kim: we’re also charged for bags in Paris but I should perhaps have mentioned that these are free. Probably since you’re paying so much for the contents.

  10. When I was in Paris, just once in my life, I saved the Laduree. At and have it filled with Paris books and maps. However of those you’ve showed, I wish I’d picked up a Herme’s and Rochoux’s bag, I love the way they look.

    What a fun post. Now I’m going to find myself obsessed with bag hoarding next time I travel overseas.

    • Well I hope I haven’t started something you regret. My office is surrounded by these things so be careful, Vicki!

  11. I love this post! What fun! And as have the Pierre Herme bag but as for the rest, I can see I need to catch up. When I come to Paris next will you bring me around and help me collect a few?

    • Jamie
      It would be the most sweetest pleasure to meet you and stock up going through so many treats!

  12. Adorable collection and much preferable to fancy high-end over priced highly coveted Hermes bag IMHO. No one wonders what’s lurking inside those Hermes bags..
    But what do you call these paper bags?
    A sac or cabas?
    I’ve yet to figure that one out..
    merci carolg

    • Hi Carol
      A cabas is that less trendy trolley bag for groceries that you see the French manoeuvre at the market; these are just sacs.

      • I figured they were ‘sacs’ but they seel like they should have a special name since there is so much cachet to them…

  13. The French just know how to do some things better than everyone else, huh? Not a poly bag in sight 😉
    Take care..

    • They often do offer plastic bags.
      You have to ask for the papier unless yr spending a lot of $$$

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