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 Louis-Ernest Ladurée, a miller, founded the bakery on the Rue Royale, Paris in 1862. During the Paris Commune uprising of 1871 the bakery was burnt down. A pastry shop was built at the same location and Jules Chéret was entrusted with the interior decoration. The chubby cherubs dressed as pastry cooks, painted by him on the ceiling, form the company's emblem. The interior of the premises were painted in the same celadon colour as the façade. Ladurée's rise to fame came in 1930 when his grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, had the original idea of the double-decker, sticking two macaron shells together with a creamy ganache as filling. Queen Catherine de' Medici had brought the macaron to France from Italy in the 16th century, and the recipe for the biscuit had hardly varied over the years, but the amounts of the ingredients used and the appearance of the end product were up to the individual bakers.

Desfontaines also opened a tearoom at the pastry shop. In those days ladies were not admitted to cafés, which were the exclusive domain of men. This was a big success with ladies, who enjoyed meeting in the freedom of the tearoom rather than their homes.

In 1993 the Groupe Holder took over the firm Ladurée, which was beset with financial difficulties. The Holder family also owns the PAUL bakery chain in France. Following the takeover, the company began an expansion drive, setting up pastry shops on the Champs-Élysées in 1997, followed by subsidiaries in London, Geneva and Monaco. Ladurée shops have also been opened in Tokyo, Dublin, Bahrain and Dubai.

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