Honestly, you can not possibly come to Lille and miss one of the oldest chocolate houses in France. With its grandiose facade, its long history and jaw dropping display of cakes, it is bound to capture your curiosity and get you to venture on in. Whether you’re a sweet tooth or not, Meert pâtisserie is one of those iconic institutions worth visiting if you ever find yourself in le nord.
Yes! This beautiful shop first opened its doors in 1761 and has been known to satisfy the sweet cravings of some prestigious names including Charles de Gaulles himself. Meert started its journey as a confiserie (sweet shop) by Delcourt, a local Lille chocolatier. It was soon taken over by Modo de Rollez who was renowned for his ice cream recipes. It was at this time that Rollez worked with architects and painters to give the shop the stunning design it holds today.
The name Meert comes from Belgian sweet developer Michael Paulus Gislinus Meert, who created what this establishment is now renowned for: la gaufre fourrée à la vanille (vanilla filled waffle). These waffles aren’t your standard large, doughy and decadent treats that we know and love, but are thin and oval like in shape, which obviously means you can eat more than just one in a sitting and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you when you have additional flavours like speculoos, pistachio and raspberry in the works? This recipe has been kept a highly guarded secret for decades and now its clientele don’t necessarily have to make a trip to Lille to try them. Meert has opened stores in Brussels, the 6th arrondissement of Paris and plan to continue expanding to the world’s bustling capitals.
If you’re up for going back in time and having a cup of tea or coffee in a room that is reminiscent of the times of la “Belle Epoque” (Midnight in Paris fans, we’re looking at you), you can seat yourself in Meert’s tea salon situated at the back. Go on, experience the joie de vivre of the Lille bourgeoisie!
Although their waffles are the star of this institution, we think their cakes are just as incredible. “Le Printanier” is one of our favourites and consists of a soft biscuit made from almond dough, coconut, pistachio and peanut caramel that is then covered in a vanilla cream with a passionfruit cream dome to finish. After one bite you feel like you’re floating on air in an alternate world with some kind of slow, indie French song playing in the background - better than any drug you’ve taken we can assure you.
27 Rue Esquermoise, Lille
Sunday: 9am-1pm and 3pm-7pm