A French patisserie in the colonial quarter is a city landmark and much admired bakery for those with a penchant for sweet.

At the heart of Bogota’s colonial district, La Candelaria, there is a family-owned bakery which has made a name for itself in the city for producing some of the finest baked pastries and breads. Known as La Pastelería Francesa, this quaint bakery specializing in French dishes and an international cuisine is always stocked with puffy baguettes and perfectly shaped croissants.

Founded by Parisian Roger Laburthe, the bakery first opened its doors in 1998, two years after this businessman received a phone call from a colleague asking him for help whilst opening another bakery in Chapinero, one of Bogotá’s most traditional neighborhoods. Laburthe, who had served his country during Algeria’s war of independence, arrived in Colombia and was seduced by the colors and the cobblestone streets of La Candelaria and decided it would be there—in the old quarter—where he would start a business of his own.

After 25 years of running a bakery in France, Laburthe had no problem moving his expertise to a far-away city and country he knew nothing about. And now, after more than a decade in Colombia, he has been charming a whole city with his breads, pies and sweets such as the almond croissant and chocolate tart, among others.

Laburthe maintains the bakers’ tradition by preparing his breads and pastries at the crack of dawn. At eight o’clock, when the doors of La Pastelería Francesa open, a small crowd of devotees can be seen waiting outside, many eager to jump-start the day with a Meringue au chocolat or a tarte lettes des fruits.

According to Laburthe, La Pastelería Francesa is very popular with students from the nearby universities on Mondays, but during the rest of the week it’s mainly the tourists who endure the hike up the hill—as if wandering the streets of Montmatre—in search of the perfect éclair.

There is a breakfast menu with omelet and Quiche lorraine and a lunch menu with local dishes and a hearty Ajiaco soup. All of these are served in a cozy environment that blends the colonial aspect of the city with the personal tokens and picture postcards reminiscent of Paris and the ‘joie de vivre’ of the old country. It is a venue worthy of Proust and Piaf, but in Andes.

Calle 9 # 1-95