Bonjour, mes amis! I recently visited the City of Lights for the first time in over two decades and fell in love with the boulangerie scene. Every morning, I woke up before my family, snuck out of the room, and walked to the nearest shop to bring back warm, enchanting delicacies. It was the highlight of my day, and I looked forward to my routine. Upon returning home, I was missing my favorite brioche, so I was pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation to a former bank vault turned French bakery—in the heart of Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Amy Strasser Mado

Mado Paris Bakery, where baguettes meet biscuit lovers, is tucked away on Cherry Road with an unassuming facade. You would never guess that behind the unpretentious brick walls lies a slice of Parisian heaven. The building's history as a bank adds a delightful twist—vaults once filled with gold bars now cradle flaky croissants and buttery pain au chocolat.

As I stepped inside, the air transformed. The aroma, oh, the aroma, swirled around me like a carousel of culinary delights. The sight of freshly baked baguettes instantly brought me back to the banks of the Seine. The scent of butter and sugar touched with cinnamon, promising melt-in-your-mouth pastries. And we can’t forget the rich, smooth, and comforting cappuccino. Perfect for a cool February morning.

The display case held treasures fit for Marie Antoinette herself. Baguettes, their golden crusts crackling with anticipation, begging to be claimed, filled the baskets. And the almond croissants, buttery crescents that promised flakiness so divine, your tastebuds start to dance.

Choosing a pastry was the hardest decision I’d make all day. As a first-timer, I wanted one of everything. And that’s precisely what I ordered. The vanilla Choux was not only gorgeous but sinfully delicious. The savory bread, fresh out of the oven, warm and satisfying. Upon placing my order, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the owner pulling a pan of Pain Swiss from the oven. Its flaky layers glistened with melted chocolate; I knew in my heart I had to have it. I politely asked if I could quickly add it to my order, and the cashier nodded. The owner himself handed me a warm, flaky pastry wrapped in parchment. The chocolate peeked through the folds, promising bliss in every bite. And it delivered just that.

A line outside Mado Paris snakes around the corner into the parking lot. Patrons, united by their love for flaky pastries and buttery croissants, wait patiently. The regulars know the drill: arrive early, stake your claim, and savor every crumb because Mado Paris sells out faster than a Parisian fashionista at a sample sale.

So, heed my advice: set your alarm and join the queue. Mado Paris French Bakery & Cafe is more than a bakery; it's a passport to a taste of Paris. A hop, skip & jump away from Charlotte made this a fun Saturday morning adventure. So here’s to the serendipitous moments, the warm ovens, and the irresistible allure of freshly baked pastries.

Bon appétit, my fellow foodies! 

Mado BaguetteMado Berry TartMado CroissantMado Cream PuffMado Pastry

Make sure to follow Amy on Instagram @Cltfoodgirl and watch her Mado Bakery Reel!