There are many places where you can find macarons. As for where to find the best macarons, that's an easy question to answer: Paris.
Even though I haven't eaten all the macarons in the world (not that I'd mind trying, if anyone out there would like to sponsor me to go on such an adventure), I can't imagine finding macaron better than the ones safely tucked away in Pierre Hermé's chic patisserie. His haven of sugary enlightenment more resembles a high-end jewelry shop than a place to buy your morning croissant (which was one of the best croissants I've ever eaten).
Actually, it'd be more accurate to say that the best macarons are found at Pierre Hermé, not necessarily in Paris, for he has four locations in Tokyo. Not just four locations in Japan, but four locations in one city. This fact alone would make Tokyo the city I'd most want to live in, right after Paris. It also makes Tokyo the city most likely to make me very poor and fat, right after Paris.
However, Paris is the best place to go to if you want to try a variety of great macarons. Although the macarons from the corner patisserie or even the neighborhood supermarché will probably be satisfying, eating a revelatory macaron requires visiting a specialized shop. Paris has no shortage of such shops—patisseries, chocolatiers and gourmet grocery stores—but I've whittled them down to 12 places listed below you may want to check out if planning a macaron hunt in Paris.
If you don't have time to do a 12-stop macaron tour of Paris, at the very least head over to Pierre Hermé. No Eiffel Tower. No Louvre. No Sacré Cœur. Trust me on this one.
After Paris, the city whose macarons I'm most familiar with is New York City. Unfortunately, after eating NYC's macarons I think I'd rather wait until my next vacation to Paris than eat another one here. I don't mean to imply that they're all horrible—obviously someone likes them or else these shops wouldn't keep churning them out—but I've found most of them to be disappointing. My top recommendation for macarons in NYC is La Maison du Chocolat, which has an added bonus of carrying some of the best chocolates you can get in the city. Their macarons (and chocolates) are pricey, but considering that all macarons are somewhat pricey, LMDC is worth the extra money.
Besides those two places I wouldn't heartily recommend any other place to buy macarons; it would actually be easier for me to tell you where I wouldn't buy macarons. In particular, I found Bouchon Bakery and Madeleine Patisserie to be surprisingly disappointing and Tisserie's macaron too sweet and heavy. Jean Georges probably makes great macarons, but I've never tried them as I don't think they would let me stroll into the restaurant just to buy a box. Below, I've put together a list of places in NYC that carry macarons for the sake of being thorough and because (sadly) I haven't tried them all yet. Try them out and decide for yourself what kind of macaron you enjoy most.
With a little help from my blog readers combined with intense Internet scouring I've come up with a list of places to buy macarons around the world. As this list is terribly incomplete, I welcome all additions or changes you may have. For those of you who don't live near a bakery that makes macarons, mail order from Mad Mac or L.A. Burdick may satisfy your macaron craving.
There's also the option of making your own macarons. A roundup of macaron recipes is coming soon!
And in case you missed it yesterday, check out my introductory post about French macarons.
Where To Get Macarons Around the World
New York City
Almondine (Brooklyn, DUMBO)
Bouchon Bakery (Columbus Circle)
Bouley Bakery (Tribeca)
Dessert Club Chikalicious (East Village)
Financier (Financial District)
Georgia's Bake Shop (Upper West Side) J' Chanceux Macaron (Nolita)
Joyce Bakeshop (Brooklyn, Prospect Heights)
Jacques Torres (Soho and Brooklyn, DUMBO; seasonal availability; check with the store before you visit)
Kee's Chocolate (Soho)
Macaron Cafe (Chelsea)
Madeleine Patisserie (Chelsea)
La Maison du Chocolat (Midtown, Upper East Side)
Payard (Upper East Side)
Silver Moon Bakery (Upper West Side)
Something Sweet (East Village)
Tisserie (Union Square) CLOSED
Trois Crepes Patisserie (Upper East Side)
Paulette (Beverly Hills)
Milk (LA, make macaron ice cream sandwiches)
Macarune (North Beach, custom order)
Bay Bread (San Francisco)
Miette (San Francisco)
Jin Parisserie (Venice)
Rest of the USA
Sweet Pea Bakery (Phoenix, AZ)
Essence Bakery Cafe (Tempe, AZ)
The Market (Denver, CO)
Maison Robert (Atlanta, GA)
Pacific Place Tea Garden (Honolulu, HI)
Bonjour Bakery and Cafe (Chicago, IL)
Bittersweet (Chicago, IL)
Vanille Patisserie (Chicago, IL)
Sucre (New Orleans, LA)
Patisserie Poupon (Baltimore, MD)
Le Nôtre (Las Vegas, NV)
La Tulipe (Mount Kisco, NY)
Mrs. London's Bakery and Café (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Pix Patisserie (Portland, OR)
Miel Patisserie (Philadelphia, PA)
Gesine (Montpellier, VT. They seem to make the original French style macaron cookies, not the filled sandwich kind.)
The Essential Baking Company (Seattle, WA)
Le Panier (Seattle, WA)
Michel Patisserie (based in the Washington D.C. / Virginia area, but ship nationwide)
L.A. Burdick (Have shops in NH and MA but ship all over the country. They refer to their macarons as Luxembourger/Luxemburgerli, which aren't exactly the same thing, but are close enough.)
Mad Mac (Ship all over the country)
Le Goûter Bernardaud (Hong Kong)
Fauchon at Lotte Department Store (Seoul)
Evan's Kitchen Ramblings (Singapore, custom order)
Mad Baker (Singapore, custom order)
15ème Patisserie (Taipei)
Liz Gourmet Corner at the Landis Hotel (Taipei)
Saisons Patisserie (Taipei)
Chez Cima (Tokyo)
Jean Millet (Tokyo)
Le Chocolat de H (Tokyo)
Madame Toki (Tokyo)
Pierre Hermé (Tokyo)
Sadaharu Aoki (Tokyo)
Rest of the World
Töertchen Töertchen (Berlin)
Ladureé at Galeries Lafayette (Berlin) Au Bouquet Romain (Brussels)
Pierre Marcolini (Brussels)
Nectar Desserts (Calgary)
Cafe Pistachio (Salmabad, Kingdom of Bahrain)
Adriano Zumbo (Sydney)
Lindt Concept Store (Sydney)
Laurent Bakery (Melbourne, Sydney)
Ganache Patisserie (Vancouver)
Thomas Haas (Vancouver)
Fauchon (Locations worldwide)