Friday, December 4, 2009

Good Bread Trails in Paris

Paris and bread - well what can I say? While I struggle to search out the truly artisan and specialty breads in Spain, France, particularly Paris, is teeming with divine breads.

I surveyed some of the notable boulangeries (bakeries) on my last trip to Paris, seeking out breads made on site in local bakeries with slow leavening which enhances the enzymes, aroma, and taste of bread. Listed here are just a few of the numerous possibilities in Paris -- all are delicious. You can do a taste testing tour and decide which are your personal favorites.

Housed in a bakery from 1889 with original furniture and fixtures, fashion executive turned baker, Christophe Vasseur produces original and traditional breads and pastries at Du Pain et Des Idees. From slowly prepared sourdough baguettes to more exotic orange blossom brioche and chocolate-pistaschio rolls, Du Pain et Des Idees is full of delectable treats. Du Pain et Des Idees, 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris; Tel: 142 404 452; Web:; Metro: Jacques Bonsergent. Bikers take note: There are four Velib bike stations close by. Open Monday to Friday from 6:45 am to 8:00 pm.

La Moulin de la Vierge uses stone-ground organic flours and traditional leavening for their bread in their four stores in Paris in the 7th, 14th, 15th, and 17th arrondissements; open 7:30 am to 8:00pm, see web site for store locations.

Boulanger de Monge makes fourteen different breads using organic flour and grains including outstanding sourdough loaves. They also make fifteen traditional French breads (not organic), as well as fine pastries. Boulanger de Monge, 123 rue Monge, 75005 Paris; Tel: 143 375 420; open Tuesday to Sunday from 7:00 am to 8:30 pm; Metro: Place Monge.

The Poilane bakeries use wood-fired ovens making breads with sourdough starter and French sea salt since 1932. There are two bakeries in Paris in the 6th and 15th arrondissements. Poilane, 8 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris; Tel: 145 484 259; Web:; open Monday to Saturday from 7:15 am to 8:15 pm; Metro: Vaneau or Saint-Placide

Philippe Gosselin has won prestigious awards for his baguettes, and makes unusual pastries including rose and pistachio éclairs. With three stores in Paris you can find at least one open on any day of the week. Philippe Gosselin, 125 rue St-Honore, 75001 Paris; Tel: 145 080 359; open Sunday to Friday (closed Saturday) from 7:00 am to 8:00pm; Metro: Louvre-Rivoli. Also a location a few blocks from the Musee D’Orsay at 258 Blvd St. Germain, 75007 Paris; Metro: Solferino; Open: Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, Saturday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. And one at 28 rue Caumartin, 75009 Paris; open Monday to Friday (closed weekends) from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm; Metro: Havre-Caumartin.

In 2006 Cohier’s baguette was voted the best in Paris, and many still believe it is the best in the city. In addition to the award winning baguettes, you can find pastries and delights at this forty-year-old bakery. Jean-Pierre Cohier, 270 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, Metro: Ternes.

Breakfasts at Coquelicot start at 3.90 euros up to full on brunch for almost 20 euros with fresh baked goods, freshly squeezed orange juice, Le Bol de Café Noir or au Lait, and other divine things. Indoor and outdoor seating available at this delightful bakery and restaurant. Coquelicot, 24 rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris; Tel: 146 061 877; Web:; Metro: Absesses

Eric Kayser, a third-generation Parisian baker, is the brains behind the Mayson Kaiser bakeries, making bread from natural leavening using a special machine designed by Kayser to keep the leavening in a perfect state. In addition to amazing breads, you can also buy quiches, tarts and sandwiches at the fourteen stores in Paris (with other stores in Japan, Russia and the Ukraine). You can find Maison Kayser bakeries in most arrondissements. To avoid disappointment, check store location and hours on the website as some are closed on Mondays and others on Sundays. Mayson Kaiser Web site:

La Boulangerie de Papa is a bakery and tea-salon offering delicious breads, sandwiches, and beverages to warm you close to Notre Dame a few blocks from the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore and near the Saint Michel metro stop. Twenty-two special breads made fresh daily on site including delicious sourdough baguette. La Boulangerie de Papa, 1 rue de la Harpe, 75005 Paris; Tel: 143 546 616; Web:; open every day from 6:30 am to midnight

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