It’s the oldest, prettiest and probably the best-marketed shops in the whole of France. A double fronted shop full of cakes and pastries on one side and nougat and chocolate on the other. Everything screams, “eat me” through the glass and it’s no wonder that since 1761 Meert has supplied royalty and the VIP sweet-toothed the world over. Their speciality is the waffle or gaufre, and it’s filled with Madagascar vanilla cream. It sounds sweet, it is sweet, and each bite leaves you needing another, but you just have to try them because it’s the law.

To the rear of the shop, there’s a tearoom and an expensive one at that. So, be warned you will pay a lot for a pot of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cake and ice cream sundaes. If you don’t mind spending 30 Euros on coffee or tea and a couple of cakes, this is a must, if you don’t then buy a cake in the shop to eat elsewhere.

However, if you want to sit down, enjoy what truly is an incredible work of art in the shape of a patisserie, and soak up the atmosphere, then I’d wholly recommend spoiling yourself. The tearoom is very pretty, all white tablecloths and silver cutlery, serving an equal mix of locals and tourists. The courtyard is a beautiful spot, made better with the sunshine, and there’s plenty to gaze at the interior is a large room with a side addition of a conservatory.

The tea menu was long and varied; coffees of various descriptions and their popular liquid chocolate drink were all on offer.

The cakes we tried were what can only be described as some of the best I’ve ever eaten. A lemon meringue ‘bomb’ is made with love and care by the hands of the cake fairy.   A thin biscuit base is topped with thick lemon cream filling and when cut with a fork reveals a small amount of sponge and the most fragile meringue layer.

The apple cake was another matter. Imagine a toffee apple without the mess. The fluffiest toffee mousse atop the lightest sponge sandwich, in there somewhere, is a dense apple filling and the whole creation topped off with a faux apple and a thin chocolate sail.

There is a food menu, I didn’t try it, and you don’t go to Meert to sample their version of the Caesar salad, you need to try LA.

Meert: 27 rue Esquermoise, Lille