The final bakery I want to visit is just a few blocks from Vasseur’s bakery, so I simply walk closer to the Canal to get to Liberté, Benoît Castel’s bread and pastry shop. It is a bright and funky space with an open prep area, where I get to gawk while the pastry elves pipe and scoop and roll all kinds of doughs and creams to make the signature tarte à la crème in particular.
The croissant magic, however, happens in the downstairs lab. When the freshest batch emerges, golden bellies bulging proudly, there isn’t much else I want to look at. I choose a little table by the window and sit down with my still-warm purchase. I gaze at it with adoring eyes while I wait for it to cool completely. To me, a croissant tastes best when the butter has had time to set.
This gives me a chance to reflect upon my morning tasting adventure and thank my lucky stars that I live in a city with so many talented artisans who devote their skills to creating such perfect golden treats. I will be riding home with buttery flakes in the folds of my scarf and a happy smile on my face.