Pret-a-Reporter

Laduree Opens at The Grove

Courtesy of Laduree

The famous French macarons have landed in L.A.

The wait is over: Laduree finally is opening at The Grove this weekend, just in time for shoppers to get a nice sugar fix (with a French flair, of course) during the hustle and bustle of this holiday shopping season.

The French luxury bakery, which first opened in Paris near the Place de la Concorde in 1862, has its eyes set on expanding in L.A. — first at the popular outdoor shopping center founded by billionaire Rick Caruso and then at a Beverly Hills location later this month.

The Grove is the ideal location for Laduree's West Coast flagship because, as co-president Elisabeth Holder says: "Just look around you. The Grove is a great opportunity to arrive in L.A. I think it's the perfect mix of the American lifestyle and the French joie de vivre." Holder says she first learned about The Grove through her husband, brand co-president Pierre-Antoine Raberin.

"We wanted to arrive in L.A. at the same time because we couldn't say yes to one and no to the other one, and it makes sense because it's two different stores. It's not the same store at all," Holder tells The Hollywood Reporter of their choice to open two locations within the same month. Since 1993, under new ownership by family firm Groupe Holder, Laduree has been expanding internationally. It opened its first location stateside on Madison Avenue in New York City in 2011, followed by outposts in SoHo and Miami.

For the Grove space, Holder wanted the 2,000-square-foot, two-story location to feature a piece of Paris through antiques and decor inspired by the late French decorator Madeleine Castaing. "What's funny was [Madeleine] had an antique store, and she was super selective with her clients and friends, and now her store has become Laduree in Saint-Germain," shares Holder. "She loved to mix leopard with colors, so we followed a little bit of her style because we really love what she did."

The second floor features a pink-striped, multipattern wallpaper that is reminiscent of Castaing's design, with the carpet sharing the same whimsical print. The Castaing-inspired space is complemented by a restored 200-year-old crystal chandelier that Holder says she found in her father's storage room.

Despite competing bakeries vying to make the most delectable macarons, there's arguably nothing quite like what Laduree has achieved with its macarons' light and flaky outer shell and smooth, creamy flavors. So, what's the secret? Teases Holder: "I think the raw material, the know-how because our chefs train for years and years to learn how to make a good macaron, and it's love and passion, of course."

Now, Angelenos will be able to get a bite of that amour with a flavor exclusive to L.A.

"We'll have the passion-fruit flavor in our macarons, salads, ice cream and pastries," says Holder, who first saw a passion-fruit plant at Chrome Hearts founders Richard and Laurie Lynn Stark's Malibu home. "I just felt in love and said, 'this is the L.A. flavor.' "

When Holder is in L.A., she says she enjoys trying all the different dining experiences the city has to offer. So far, she's gone to Crossroads and Petit Trois. "I don't have a favorite one because I need to try it all," she says.

Laduree's new location is sure to be a mainstay among the fashion set, especially since it's a popular lunch location during Paris Fashion Week and, of course, very Instagrammable. Several designers — including Lanvin, Reed Krakoff and Emilio Pucci — also have collaborated on limited-edition macaron flavors and boxes.

Laduree at The Grove, which seats 34 indoors and 54 outdoors on the garden terrace next to the fountain, also will serve lunch and dinner, as well as its delectable pastries. Bon appetit.

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