Inside Laduree, there's what I'll call a large bar area where all the macarons and other pastries are displayed. Customers line up and wait to be served at the counter by one of several staff members filling orders. Then on the right side of the space, there's the sit down restaurant area where you can order tea, pastries, and actual food like salads and sandwiches. We actually came back on another occassion at night and tried ordering dessert in the restaurant but they were completely sold out of everything. We ended up leaving, and it turned out for the best because the prices they charge are a bit ridiculous. It's mainly the brand and name that you're paying for.
After we ordered and got our macarons, we walked around Paris for awhile and didn't eat any of the macarons until late in the afternoon, so the macarons got a little beat up in transit. They were in much better shape at the shop I assure you. Laduree has a whole assortment of different flavors - they have a little pamphlet they print out and give to you as you wait in line so you can decide what to order.
As I mentioned earlier, macarons are everywhere, and we even found them in a Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop. Of course the twist here is that the macarons are filled with ice cream instead of your typical jam or buttercream.
Another big brand is Fauchon, and their macarons are sold in the city as well as at the airport in the duty free shops. We picked up some as gifts for friends and family before we left to come back home.
The last macaron shop we tried macarons from was Sadaharu Aoki. Aoki is from Japan and adds a Japanese twist to the macarons using flavors like green tea, black sesame, and yuzu.
Of all the macarons we tried, we liked the ones from Sadaharu Aoki the best. I personally think the best part of any macaron is the filling, and Aoki's fillings were the most generous in terms of quantity. The flavors were great as well and seemed more pronounced than the ones at the other pastry shops. As for the macarons themselves, each of the brands were relatively similar with a crisp exterior layer giving way to a slightly chewy interior. Prices varied at each shop but were roughly in the range of 1.50-2.00+ euros per macaron, which is pretty steep.