Paris Bakeries Part 2. Breads, breakfast pastries and a plan of attack.
My previous post focused on suggestions on how to find quality Parisian bakeries. And now you have found that adorable artisan establishment and walked inside. What do you do? Before you make a move, check the time and be forewarned, Parisian bakeries are not for the meek in the morning. People (read that as locals) are there to grab and then get on with their days. Lines are often long and the servers don’t have time to be helpful. They have a job to do, don’t take their impatience personally.
Many bakeries will have small tables where you eat your baked goods on premises. If you want to order it this way ask for your order “sur place” as opposed as to go which is “a emporter”.
Here is a guide to the various breads and pastries that you will enjoy in Paris. This is not a simple subject, you will be well served to decide on what you wantin advance. Have a plan of attack that requires you to go several times and try lots of goodies. That should not be too hard.
Lets start with breads.
Baguette. Your baguette should be golden brown, crispy with a bit of flake, with a hint of salt and a soft inside. As befitting their importance in French culture, there are lots of shapes and tastes:
Baguette Parisienne. The basic baguette, sometimes called ‘ordinaire‘ or ‘normale‘, An amazing deal at 1euro40 or less. As with the bakeries, quality varies widely. If you see a lattice like pattern on the bottom side it was baked in a form pan and likely has an industrial source. But even those aren’t always bad.
Half baguette, at less than 1 euro it will be just enough for a snack and no one will look down on you if you buy one.
Tradition. Signifies the efforts of an artisan baker that takes the time to create a hand-made baguette. Also called Baguette A L’Ancienne or De Campange (country). They will be irregular in shape and a bit more expensive.
Batard. About half the length of a baguette and wider.
Flute. A long and very thin baguette.
Couronne. Ring shaped baguette.
Aux Cereales. Contains whole grain flour and other grains.
Ficelle. This means string. A very very thin baguette.
Breads are also available by loaf, consider:
Pain Au Levain. Akin to sourdough.
Complet. Whole wheat or multigrain breads.
Pain De Mie. The closest thing to white bread, but calling it white bread is just unfair. It is so much better. The best sandwich bread in France. Maybe it is all the butter but white bread does not like the bread you see pictured above. Period.
Aux Noix. Walnut bread.
Siegle. Rye bread.
On to another happy subject, morning pastries. I always search out breakfast pastries in Paris. They are the perfect for the on the run moment before you head out to see the sights meal along with a cup of coffee. Again, there are so many to choose from and by no means should you be limited to eating them in the morning.
Croissant. Try one, please. What passes for a croissant outside of France is often a joke. A good croissant should reek of baked butter and stain the paper that holds it with fat. The outer crust should be firm and the inside airy and light.
Pain au chocolate. Look for ones that are flaky and stuffed with practically melted chocolate. Make a mess.
Pain au raisin. Snail shaped pastry with raisins and custard. Personal favorite.
Croissant amande. Almond croissant usually dusted with powdered sugar.
Venoisse. A rich sweet morning pastry often with chocolate bits. It should shine from the egg wash.
Tartlette de pomme. An apple mini tart and cousin to the Chausson Aux Pommes, apple turnovers.
Brioche. A sweet bread made with eggs. Must eat with jam and more butter.
Beignet. Surprise, you can find doughnuts in Paris, typically plain dough rolled in sugar.
For more information about baked good consider these articles.
Paris has an annual best baguette competition, some winners are near the Yellow Flat. Award winning baguettes near the Yellow Flat include Boulangerie Frederic Pichard at 88 Rue Cambronne or Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel at 187 Rue De Grenelle across the Champ De Mars next to the Eiffel Tower. Read more at
There are plenty of quality croissants near the Yellow Flat. Try Boulangerie Pichard at 88 Rue Cambronne, L’artisan Des Gourmands at 60 Rue de la Convetion or Le Quartier Du Pain. 74 Rue Saint Charles. Be forewarned that the baker at L’artisan is not cheery. You are not there for friendship.
Learn about the ongoing baguette crisis in Paris here:
Want to practice your French and read more? Check out painrisien. Very detailed bakery reviews but only in French.
As always enjoy the journey and if one pastry doesn’t excite you order another, you are on vacation!
Next up: Patissiers for cookies, desserts and more.