Even visitors who aren’t terribly food-oriented could not fail to be enthralled by a first encounter with a Paris boulangerie shop window. Despite the recent emergence of Starbucks outlets and “McCafés”, Parisian boulangeries-patisseries have managed to withstand globalization and mass production, by continuing to produce quality breads, pastries and cakes that are eye-catching, sumptuous, and often downright decadent. With one on virtually every corner, you will never go croissant-hungry, but if you’re looking for that extra-special baguette or raspberry tart, here’s a guide to ten of the best bakeries in Paris.
1. Le Grenier à pain Paris
Address : 38 rue des Abbesses – 75018 Paris
Phone : 33 (0)1 46 06 41 81
Metro : Abbesses
Winner of the 2010 prize for Best Baguette in Paris, this prestigious bakery located in the heart of Montmartre is run by Michel Galloyer, a member of France’s “Académie Culiniaire”. The decor is appealingly rustic, with the breads and cakes strikingly presented. The almond and apricot bread is sublime, and the chocolate tarts are second-to-none. Breads are reasonably priced, while the individual tarts are slightly above average (3.20 Euros for a chocolate tart), but in this instance, worth the extra cents.
Web : www.legrenierapain.com
2. Poîlane Paris
Address : 8 rue du Cherche-Midi – 75006 Paris
Phone : + 33 (0)1 45 48 42 59
Metro : Saint-Sulpice
Established by Pierre Poilane in 1932, this bakery has stood the test of time. Son Lionel continues to bake bread in the original wood-fired oven. Sour dough bread baked from stone-ground flour is a speciality here, as are exquisite butter cookies. The unique online ordering system offers potential original gifts, or the chance to keep up your bread habit if your trip to Paris is temporary.
Web : www.poilane.fr
3. Pain d’Epis Paris
Address : 63 avenue Bosquet – 75007 Paris
Phone : +33 (1) 45 51 75 01
Metro : Ecole Militaire
Located on the prosperous and ultra-chic rue Bosquet, around the corner from the Eiffel Tour. Pain d’Epis has developed a name for its top-class baguettes and loaves, including its unique baguette royale made from mixed-flour dough. An impressive line of fougasse (olive oil-laced bread loaf with fillings) is also a draw card, with varying combinations including goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, or goat’s cheese and paprika.
4. Le Moulin de la Vierge Paris
Address : 64 Rue Saint Dominique – 75007 Paris
Phone : + 33 (0)1 47 05 98 50
Metro : Invalides
Andre Lefort, the last living representative of this family bakery, is something of a wood-fired oven guru around Paris. He still oversees the running of the bakery, where organic flour is used and wood-fired cooking takes precedence. Bread favourites include the pain de campagne and the paresseuse sour dough baguette. The pain au raisins (fluffy custard-filled pastry with raisins) is also a must for any visit. Le Moulin de la Vierge has additional outlets in Paris’ 7th, 14th & 15th arrondissements.
Web : www.lemoulindelavierge.com
5. Maison Kayser Paris
Address : 14 rue Monge – 75005 Paris
Phone : 33 (0)1 44 07 17 81
Metro : Maubert Mutualité
Three generations of Kaysers have established a number of bakeries across Paris, where they sell their unique variety of bread, comprising a mix of milk, hazelnuts and honey. The pain céréales (multigrain loaf) has a notably light and fluffy texture, and the raisin baguette makes for a perfect breakfast treat. Gourmet ready-made sandwiches and salads are a lunchtime feature at this Latin Quarter bakery.
Web : www.maison-kayser.com
6. Au 140 Paris
Address : 140 rue de Belleville – 75020 Paris
Phone : 33 (0)1 46 36 92 47
Metro : Jourdain
Situated on lively rue de Belleville in Northeast Paris, Au 140 counts a list of awards to its name. The official supplier to the presidential palace in 2001, its baguette was named the best in Paris that same year. Talented baker Pierre Demoncy also earned the bakery second prize in Paris’ croissant competition. Au 140 features a large selection of organic breads to choose from, which are worth the detour.
Web : www.au140.com
7. Lenôtre Paris
Address : 10 rue Saint Antoine – 75004 Paris
Phone : 33 (0)1 53 01 91 91
Metro : Bastille
Le Notre’s window displays are an art form in themselves, and many a tourist can be observed staring longingly at the impeccably presented opéra (a dense chocolate cake) or fraisier (sponge cake with strawberries). Unfortunately for some, prices veer on the outrageous side (you can pay up to 50 Euros for a cake of four servings), but if you’re out to impress or looking for something extra special, Le Notre will deliver. Top-quality foie gras and smoked salmon are also available.
Web : www.lenotre.fr
8. Boulangepicier Paris
Address : 73 boulevard de Courcelles – 75017 Paris
Phone : 33 (0)1 46 22 20 20
Metro : Courcelles
Part of the revered Alain Ducasse group, this all-in-one bakery, restaurant and shop is the brainchild of the multi award-winning chef along with master baker, Eric Kayser. Their concept is to bring a contemporary element to traditional French-style baking. Breads on offer include pain aux figues (fig bread) and pain céréales. Gourmet soups, sandwiches, and desserts are also available, with pumpkin soup and rice pudding with vanilla and orange marmalade highly recommended.
Web : www.boulangepicier.com
9. Jean Paul Cohier Paris
Address : 270 rue Faubourg St-Honoré – 75008 Paris
Phone : 33 (0)1 42 27 45 26
Metro : Ternes
Holding the title of best baguette in Paris for 2006, Jean Pierre Cohier is a legend in Parisian bakery circles. With his first bakery established in 1969, he has been bringing his breads to the city’s residents since 1969. Aside from his famous baguette tradition, several other breads are on offer, along with a selection of decadent pastries.
10. La Bague de Kenza
Address : 106 rue St Maur – 75011 Paris
Phone : 33 (0)1 43 14 93 15
Metro : Parmentier
If you’ve had your fill of French patisseries and are craving an alternative pastry experience, check out La bague de Kenza for some luscious Algerian concoctions. A sweet tooth is a prerequisite for sampling the traditional Algerian pastries here, but a savory section is available, if slightly overshadowed. These are arguably the best North African pastries in Paris, and occupy a prime spot on dessert menus at top-rate North African restaurants such as L’Homme Bleu.