Boulangerie du Pain et des Idées in the 10th arr. near Canal St. Martin, has a big sign on its window painted in gold letters proudly saying it was awarded the Gault Millau 2008 prize for the best baker in Paris to owner Christophe Vasseur. I could see why. The peasant bread that's cut into large pieces is crunchy and almost burnt on the outside and chewy and spongy in the inside. Perfection in my book of the perfect way to bake bread. The taste is beyond the overused words delicious, sublime, and unbelievable.
Christophe Vasseur was a blue suit, tie wearing fashion executive and when he turned 30, he thought there was more to life than pushing shmattes, and decided to follow his passion for bread baking. He wanted to restore the old craft of hand made bread baking,striving to be THE BAKER of Paris. His passion and hard work paid off and after opening in 2002, he was awarded the Gault Millau prize in 2008.
When looking for a location, his choices were limited because he wanted to take over an authentic boulangerie. He found one in the 10th arr. in the then still funky Canal St. Martin area, which has been gentrified in the last five years. It's just gorgeous inside with its hand-painted glass ceilings, tall brass stands filled with country loaves and baguettes, wooden slats on old wood tables showing off the award winning bread, and Provencal style painted ceramic platters filled with the most appetizing pastries. The windows are filled with colorful cookie boxes, and copper and tin molds from yesteryear.
Some of their other specialties are escargot chocolat-pistache, a most delicious treat of puff pastry woven with chocolate and pistachio paste, apple chausson, another authentic pastry filled with apples rather than jam, and a traditional North African specialty mouna, a butter brioche with orange blossom.
Boulangerie du Pain et des Idées is absolutely worth a special trip from anywhere in Paris, or for that matter in the world, and if you have trouble finding it, follow the intoxicating aroma emanating from about two blocks away. But once you get there, don't expect anything less than a line of hungry, patient customers out the door on to the street.
Boulangerie Du Pain et Idées
34 rue Yves. Toudic, 10th arr
Open Monday to Friday 6:45AM to 8PM
Tel. 01 42 40 44 52
Please read the wonderful, in depth interview about Eye Prefer Paris on the site French Creative Connection. Thibault Estellon, a Frenchman, lived in New York for over a year and started this insightful blog originally interviewing creative French people living in New York. Thibault has moved back to Paris and is now interviewing creative Parisians and I am most proud to be one of his choice few. Click here to read.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook. First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte’s professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 3 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com