Se vendre comme des petits pains

I was intrigued by the line-up circling around the block to buy these mouth-watering creations on a recent trip to Lyon. They were selling like hot cakes or, in the French idiom, ‘ils se vendaient comme des petits pains’.

This is not such a common sight in France where traditional pâtissierie shops are on every corner and the French are less inclined to line up for the latest trend.

Closer inspection revealed that these marvellous confections of brioche, meringue, chocolate and cream were a whole ‘thing’ that had completely escaped me up to now. ‘Aux merveilleux de Fred’ is a chain of patisserie shops specializing in these little marvels of cake-making genius. I felt my resolve weakening as I drooled over the flavour variations including cherry, caramel, coffee, almond and hazelnut.

It seems that Fred got the idea from a cake called the Merveilleux that originates in Belgium. As with so many ideas, it is often a question of who markets it best. Like Ladurée with the ever-popular macarons.

I’ve been curtailing the carbs lately (alas…) and trying to reduce my sugar consumption (especially given the amount that goes to the liquid variety via the hop and the grape). So, I sucked in my gut and contented myself with pictures only.

But I’m thinking that next time I’m in town, I’ll have to give them a sample.

What say you? Have you tried one?




  1. Salli Zimmerman · April 10, 2019

    There is a shop in NY and also in Paris. Bought some once and found them pretty terrible. Lots of people love them but I didn’t

    • MELewis · April 10, 2019

      Did you find them too sweet? I love meringue, especially when it’s the chewy kind, but not when the overall flavour is sugary.

      • Salli Zimmerman · April 10, 2019

        Mostly too sweet and a lot of fuss about very little (and très cher).

  2. Karen Hemingway · April 10, 2019

    Looks delicious…was waiting for a detailed description of every tasty bite! Next time please!!! Haha!

    • MELewis · April 10, 2019

      I will gladly sacrifice myself to share the experience with you, Karen! 🧁

  3. Bonnie · April 10, 2019

    I had them in Paris and thought they were fine. But I like other pastries more.

    • MELewis · April 10, 2019

      Thanks! I will have to try them and ‘weigh in’ with my own opinion! 😋

  4. midihideaways · April 10, 2019

    the idea of meringues covered with whipped cream is nothing new – like you write it’s more about the marketing of the product! I’m not sure if I would like these confections, but I could see that they might be much ado about nothing… 🙂

    • MELewis · April 10, 2019

      Spoken like a true (adopted) Frenchman! I will let you know if they’re worth the fuss…

      • midihideaways · April 12, 2019

        Thank you, I look forward to that!! 🙂

  5. Heide · April 11, 2019

    What say I? YESSSS! My husband and I waited in line outside the rue Monge store in Paris. We had no idea *why* we were waiting in line, mind you — but we’ve learned to join the Parisians if they’re queuing patiently. We’re both a bit jaded after decades’ worth of letdowns and disappointments, but this delicacy was worth the wait. For us, anyway — some of your other readers weren’t impressed. Guess you have no choice but to buy some and decide for yourself!

    • MELewis · April 12, 2019

      My thoughts exactly! So glad you give me a reason to try them myself. As you say, if the French are lining up, it must be for a reason.😋

  6. Sartenada · May 22, 2019

    Dans la litterature je l’ai vu:

    s’enlever comme des petits pains. Excusez-moi, mon français, parce que je suis finlandais e je sais seulement baragouiner le Française. 🙂

    • MELewis · May 23, 2019

      Sounds like a variation the same theme…Si vous utiliser des mots comme ‘baragouiner’, votre français n’est pas si mal!

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