La Galette des Rois: What it is and why you should get one

January 4, 2024

In France, we celebrate Epiphany (also known as Three Kings’ Day ) on January 6th by doing what we do best: eating. In this case, a delicious pastry called galette des rois. The golden-brown cakes are made of puff pastry with a sweet almond filling and have a little porcelain figure (la fève) hidden inside.

A galette des rois with a golden paper crown on top, bought on Epiphany from the Parisian bakery Atelier P1.

Customs and traditions

Traditionally, the cake is cut into as many pieces as there are people present. The youngest child then goes under the table to announce who gets the next piece. The person who finds the fève in his or her slice (be careful not to swallow it) becomes king or queen for the day. 

In the Middle Ages, when they put real fèves (beans) in the cake, the king of the day had to pay for a round of drinks for everyone around him, so that poor or stingy people would swallow the bean before anyone noticed. Today, the lucky winners have no such obligations. They just get to wear a golden paper crowd around their office or home.

The lit-up facade of La Gambette à Pain bakery in Paris at dusk.

Perfect for families & solo travelers

If you’re in Paris between Christmas and mid-January, don’t miss the fun of eating a galette and hopefully winning the crown. You can get one for you and your family or fellow travelers at any good bakery. Most also offer smaller cakes or even one-person sizes. 

One of our favorites:

We’ll be getting our galette des rois again from Atelier P1, an excellent organic neighborhood bakery that won first place for their galette in 2022.

Atelier P1
157 Rue Marcadet
18th arrondissement
Métro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt (12)
Opening hours: Wed-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat-Sun 8am-7pm

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