Tired of macarons? Can’t afford the 6 euro 50+ macaron at Laduree? Need a change?
Wandering France has you covered. Check out the sweet treats at Aux Merveilleux de Fred, with locations all over Paris, plus Lille, Lyon, Nancy, Nantes, Switzerland (Geneva), Germany, New York, London, and Brussels.
Aux Merveilleux features meringues, and not just any meringues. These are little mountains of the lightest, fluffiest goodness, combining the delicate crunch of meringue with the smoothness of whipped cream, and then a little more crunch. We found this classic treat while wandering the Marais and fell in love. Aux Merveilleux offers their treats in large, medium, and mini sizes. Two minis, plus the box, weigh about the same as one Laduree macaron. The varieties include coffee, chocolate, praline, caramel, and cherry, among others with names such as Incroyable, Merveilleux, Magnifique, Sans-Culotte, and Eccentrique. The very pleasant and busy staff assemble the treats at the counter.
One of the joys of wandering France (see what I did there?) is the mix of history, art, and food. The shop’s name refers to the fashionistas of the immediate post-Revolution in France, just after the Terror. The deeply traumatized survivors vanquished their demons in a riot of strange fashions, violence, luxury, and obsession with pleasure. The women (Les Merveilleuses or the marvelous ones) wore thin, very thin gowns, soaked with cologne to make them cling to their curves. Some wore flesh-colored tights under them; some did not! Bared breasts were seen at society events and on the streets. There was a huge trade in wigs, from green to blonde (blonde wigs were banned during the Revolution in the name of purity). Men (the Incroyables or Incredibles) wore strangely wrinkled clothing or sometimes breeches so tight they could not sit down, huge hats, and some carried clubs. The Victims Balls, held in honor of those killed during the Terror, featured women wearing very thin red ribbons around their throats, literally gallows humor in homage to the guillotine.
Aux Merveilleux honors that period with its logos and artwork on the walls of its shops.
Finally, an homage to the women who epitomized the Merveilleuse: Theresa Tallien, a witty and very brave woman who, together with Josephine, saved lives and helped thousands of exiles return home to France. Here is a picture of a portrait, and thank you to www.blastmilk.com, among others):
Check out the website at:
for addresses, more info, and glorious pictures of delicious treats.
In the Marais, have lunch at La Perla and dessert at Aux Merveilleux for a perfect day!