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La Fête de St. Honoré - A Delicious Day...


Here at P'Niche, we love eating our way through Parisian and French history. We've shared items from yummy days like Candlemas, Epiphany's Gateau des Rois, and the grape-tastic launch day of the famous Beaujolais Nouveau. We've even taken a bite out of the historical significance of La Baguette. Today, let's take a P'Niche peek at the Feast of Saint Honoré and the exceptional dessert / sweet treat / cake of the day...

Wait, Saint Who?! Glad you asked, P'Nicher! Grab your rolling pin and let's jump into the P'Niche Time Travel Machine back to ye olde medieval times...


Saint Honoré (or Sanctus Honoratus, if we're digging out the old Latin of the Catholic Church) of Amiens was born in January of the year 600, in Port-leGrand (near Amiens.)

With his noble birth and the class system of the times, it was no surprise that our guy Honoré entered the clergy and then was elevated to the station of Bishop.

Nothing unusual to see here, right? Right?! ...


Well, as legend tells it and according to La Vie de Saint-Honoré, a hand documented manuscript composed at the end of the 11th century, at the exact moment he was announced as the bishop-elect, a ray of light of divine origin had shown upon his head. Even more, holy oil (also of divine origin) had appeared on his forehead.

Now, as word had spread to his hometown of this elevation, his nursemaid was found to be baking bread for the family. She, remembering her feisty little Honoré, did not believe that he had been elected to the station of Bishop.

Nursemaids (and Au Pairs) - hard to please since ye olden days!

Our gentle nursemaid said she would only believe the tale if the peel (an old wooden baker's tool) she had been using to bake the family's daily bread would spring roots and grow into a tree. Such a Doubting Thomas was she - that she placed her wooden baker's peel into the ground. And wouldn't you know it - it grew into a lush mulberry tree (a tree that lasted well into the 16th century!)


Other miracles occurred from Honoré's bishopric, such as the findings of the relics of Victorious, Fuscian, and Gentian (which had been undiscovered for over 300 years). Notably, several more miracles occurred when his body was exhumed in 1060. His canonization date is May 16th.

Needless to say, miracles such as these are going to get at least a street or two named after you. As you can see from this medieval map of Paris (Plan de Truschet et Hoyau - circa 1550) the Porte Saint Honoré led into Faubourg and rue Saint Honoré

These days, the rue Saint Honoré still traverses the 1st arrondissement of Paris.


While Parisian bakers had (appropriately) established their Baker's Guild in the church of Saint Honoratus in 1400, let's fast forward through time a bit more to the royal court of King Louis XIV. Think bread - but make it Sun King Fashion!

By Louis' 1659 royal decree, each May 16th, all bakers were expected to celebrate the feast day of their royal patron (now often pictured holding a baker’s peel and most often depicted surrounded by loaves of fresh bread nearby.)

Each May 16th, bakers were also meant to give donations on the day in the saint's honor, as well as for the benefit of the surrounding community.


Wait, I was told there'd be cake. And, in the illustrious words of my beloved Julia Child, "a party without cake is just a meeting." Well, just a blog post, anyway...

So, where's the cake? "Let them eat..." (Nope, Marie Antoinette never said that tasteless phrase pre-French Revolution or post.)

Don't forget to subscribe to Parisian Niche to learn more about these and other cake loving heroines...


OK, back to the cake!

Of course, this delight is called a Gâteau Saint Honoré (Saint Honoré Cake).

When prepared correctly, it should resemble a ring (divine halo?) of choux pastry (and/or caramel-topped choux) atop a puff pastry base that is chock full of heavenly Chantilly, or whipped cream.

What a wonderful treat to celebrate the patron saint of baker's, Saint Honoré!


Each May 16th (and the days leading up to it), you will see the windows of Parisian and French patisseries and boulangeries offering their own interpretations of this divine delight.

Miam, Miam!


In Paris and want to get your cake on? Great! Here is just a taste (get it?) of P'Niche's fave (non-sponsored) picks:


136 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001

Métro: Louvre-Rivoli (Line 1)


101 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008

Métro: Saint-Philippe-du-Roule (Line 9)


51, rue Montorgueil, 75002

Métro: Étienne Marcel (Line 4)


25 Pl. des Vosges, 75003

Métro: Chemin Vert (Line 8)


Not in Paris and ready to try your hand at making this cake at home? Bravo, you! P'Niche love's the look of the lovely Beeta Hashempour's recipe.

You can see Beeta and other Paris lifestyle content creators on the Joie de Vivre TV streaming service.

If you choose to subscribe, don't forget to enter CHRISSY10 at checkout for your 10% discount to this exceptional French lifestyle network!

What do you think, P'Nichers, are you ready to celebrate Saint Honoré in the most delicious way possible? Let us know in the comments below et à bientôt!


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Debra Borchert
Debra Borchert
May 15, 2023

I think I gained a pound from reading your luscious writing! Merci again for enlightening me about Faubourg Saint Honoré, one of my favorite areas in Paris.

May 15, 2023
Replying to

Thank you and thankfully - blog calories don't count! 😉

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