Meert’s Famous Gaufres in Lille & Paris

I love vintage food packaging (especially sweet, of course), kitchenware, tins, signs, molds…   One of my many collections is, surprise surprise, old kugelhopf molds.  I find myself still thinking about one in particular that I saw in Paris last year.  While many people may walk in to the new Meert shop and head straight for the gaufres (more on those below), I found myself ogling the inedible displays just as much as those signature waffles – and tempting chocolates and pâtes de fruit.  There’s Denis Wozny below, holding a gorgeous copper kugelhopf mold from the 17th century, with fabulous antique Meert labels behind glass on the wall.  (Of course I asked, but no, it’s not for sale.)

This beautiful, sweet boutique in Paris’ Marais neighborhood is simply a jewel of a shop, and worth spending time in to appreciate the finer historical details of la Maison Mère Meert.  Be sure to say bonjour to Denis – and merci for filling his car with gaufres every morning in Lille before driving to work in Paris.

Meert, Paris, FranceMeert, Lille, France

Meert’s history goes back to 1761, when chocolatier and ice cream maker Delcourt opened up shop in Lille, in the north of France.  It’s still at the same address, an institution today, with a luxurious elegance that truly takes you back in time.  Satisfying the sweet tooth of the elite, Meert became a favorite address of King Léopold I, who mostly enjoyed gaufres, the house specialty as of 1849.  Charles de Gaulle was also a fan, as he grew up in Lille.  Meert is certainly most famous for the gaufres, thin oblong waffles, handmade in a hinged iron press, with a rich Madagascan vanilla filling.  I always hesitate calling them “waffles,” as that may have you picturing thick, square, airy Americanized “Belgian waffles.”  Or, my favorite Liège waffles, thick but irregular shaped, yeast-based treats, whose large sugar crystals melt and caramelize in the dough while cooking, mmm.  But I digress…

Meert’s gaufres are still made today with the very same recipe, a highly guarded secret, as you can imagine.  Nevertheless, it was time for a bit of creative innovation in 2004, and ever since, you can also treat yourself to a Gaufre EphéMeert (cute name), with a seasonal flavor, be it pistachio and sour cherry, blackcurrant and violet, or white chocolate and tea.

Meert, Paris, FranceMeert, Paris, FranceMeert, Paris, FranceMeert, Paris, France

250 years after Meert’s story began in Lille, a new shop opened in Paris (photos above), with pastels, trompe l’oeil illustrations and the shelves overflowing with confections.  The original shop in Lille (photos below) is certainly more ornate, and anything you may believe is trompe l’oeil there – is real.  This historical monument is filled with grandiose decorations on the walls and ceiling, gilded ornamentation, mirrors and marble, perfectly tied ribbons on the boxes and impeccably dressed waitstaff, using the finest of silver to select colorful hard candies from the tall glass jars on the counters.  And check out the antique National cash register (below left), the same brand and style as the one at Schober here in Zürich.

Meert, Lille, FranceMeert, Lille, FranceMeert, Lille, FranceMeert, Lille, France

While Meert’s Paris opening may mean for some that a trip up north is no longer necessary, I’d beg to differ.  Standing in the original shop on rue Esquermoise in Lille, you’ll most likely be looking up with your mouth open in awe.  All the better – ready to fill with speculoos caramels, airy fruit-flavored marshmallows and a bite of gaufre, just as the Flemish nobility did centuries ago..

Meert, Lille, FranceMeert, Lille, FranceMeert, Lille, FranceMeert, Lille, France

Meert, Paris, France

 

Meert
27 rue Esquermoise
59000 Lille
France
+33.3.20.57.07.44

16 rue Elzévir
75003 Paris
France
+33.1.49.96.56.90

www.meert.fr

www.meert.fr/on-parle-de-meert.html
Don’t miss these fun illustrations – Meert interpreted by a handful of prominent artists

17 Responses to “Meert’s Famous Gaufres in Lille & Paris”

  1. Rosa says:

    What a beautiful store! It is like in a dream… Those gaufres look amazing. A treat I find absolutely irresistible.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Andrea says:

    I was just about to write about Meert as I was in Lille last month. The cafe is wonderful but I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the waffles. They were very small, very expensive and way too sweet for my liking. I would definitely go back though and try one (or more) or the other desserts which looked incredible. I had no idea they had opened a store in Paris, I might have to head over there and give the waffles one last chance to impress me. 😉

  3. Picapau says:

    Your Gaufres story is a truly sweet fairy-tale, so precious and delicious. Really want to visit Meert now … What’s your true favorite then? Meert’s gaufres or gaufres liegeoises?

  4. Lemon says:

    I love gaufres, but I didn’t know Beert, so there is something more to do when going to Paris next time. This are beautiful pictures you have here.

  5. Thanh @ eat, little bird says:

    What a lovely post!! The store looks delightful and does remind me very much of Schober in Zurich. Now I have a new place to visit when I am in Paris 🙂

  6. Kerrin says:

    Rosa, merci !

    Andrea, I loved your post on the Wazemmes market – I love Lille too, totally want to go back. I have heard many people say that they find Meert’s gaufres too sweet. That filling certainly is rich. If you do go to the shop in Paris, definitely try their caramels, pâtes de fruit, marshmallows and other confections like that, especially in local (to Lille) flavors like speculoos. Let me know what you think… 🙂

    Picapau, thank you ! And aha, good question. I must be honest, gaufres de Liège are truly my favorite. Mmm, and now you have me wanting to go back to Belgium for them !

    Lemon, thank you. Hope you enjoy on your next trip to Paris !

    Thanh, thank you ! Just as everyone in Lille is lucky to have Meert there, we’re lucky to have Schober here ! 😉

  7. Deborah says:

    I looooove Meert!
    But before, when they were only in Lille, it was really special to me. Now that it’s in Paris, I’m not going that much….

  8. Emma says:

    Wow, what a place. Such beautifully-decorated stores, they look like a dream. Crazy that he drives the gaufres into Paris every morning, but it sounds like a perfect shop for the Marais.

    They better keep their eye out for you and your sticky kugelhopf fingers !;)

  9. jen laceda says:

    Oh.Em.Gee. Oh my goodness!!!! Love this store already! How come there aren’t any stores like these in North America??? I’m definitely in the wrong continent!

  10. Kerrin says:

    Deborah, I totally understand that. I still only go to the Ladurée in Paris even though there is one here in Zürich, because it remains that much more special. But hey, if you’re craving those gaufres, nice to know they’re not far…

    Emma, my sticky kugelhopf fingers ? Oooooh ! Ok, yeah, good point. [tee hee] Only, if it’s ever missing, they’ll know exactly who to call ! 😉

    jen, HA ! No stores like this in North America – but perhaps thank goodness, that’s what makes France so unique, precious and tempting. So when’s your next visit ??

  11. Angie says:

    What a wonderful post love it!! This is a lovely place ~ I want to go right now!! Got it on my list….Paris will be early June or next spring yip heeee!! Can’t wait!!! Last time we took a few cooking classes from Le Cordon Bleu and loved them want to do that again too! And of course make it to Laduree a few times is a must!! Thanks just love your site!!

  12. Kiki says:

    Hey, what happened? I seem to have missed quite a bit of your postings lately; must have been the Christmas syndroms hitting me… lol

    Nice post and I could nearly bet that I took photos of this shop when driving past 2 weeks ago on a Sunday – out of the car, across Hero Husband’s face and view…. 🙂

  13. Andrea says:

    I took your advice and went to the Meert in Paris and bought some caramels and pates de fruit. I wouldn’t normally get pates de fruits but they were surprisingly fruity, not like any I’ve ever eaten before and the caramels were amazing. The shop is absolutely beautiful. I will definitely be going back. 🙂

  14. Kerrin says:

    Angie, thank you so much ! How exciting that you will be going to Paris. Yes, Meert is definitely a good one for your list, Ladurée and Le Cordon Bleu for sure ! I bet that list will get very long from now until your plane leaves too…. =)

    Kiki, thanks ! And hey, I missed your stellar comments too ! 😉

    Andrea, oh fantastic ! So glad you went – and enjoyed all the other goodies this time. Thanks for sharing… now only if you’d share those pâtes de fruit, haha !

  15. valentina says:

    Lille is near enough for me to go for the day. I used to go there a lot a few years ago when an old rowing friend was still living there. I seem to have overlooked this shop altogether. This need to be remediated.; o ) Loved every paragraph of this post.

  16. Kelly says:

    I found your wonderful blog when I was looking to buy an old kugelhopf. I found a 1950s German bundt pan in the end. It’s not the prettiest but it is beautiful in its simple, sturdy way. It makes a good kugelhopf too. I am so pleased it led me to your writing. I hope to start my own blog soon, loosely based around my garden and baking – you’ve been a great inspiration.

  17. GEORGE M. BEYLERIAN says:

    WHERE TO BUY THE FAMOUS GAUFFRES IN NEW YORK CITY?

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