In 1932, when Gaston Lenotre was 12 years old, he made his first dessert. The next year he became an apprentice in a bakery shop in his native Normandy. In 1936 Lenotre went to Paris where he spent the next four years perfecting his baking skills, then returned to Normandy and was employed as a pastry chef before opening a shop of his own. He constantly experimented with new recipes and improved traditional pastries. He made desserts that were light and elegant, and his reputation grew each year.
In 1957, he and his family moved to Paris and opened a shop here. Over time, there were several Lenotre shops in Paris and the surrounding region, as well as the famous Le Pre Catelan restaurant in Paris' beautiful Bois de Boulogne.