The French baguette is one of the biggest symbols of the nation. The daily ritual of buying fresh bread is engrained into the French culture. In Paris there is a plethora of boulangeries to choose from. In this article we explain where you can find the best baguettes in Paris and who decides it’s the best!
“Give us this day our daily bread”
Since living in France I have become really selective about which bread I buy and eat. The French are renowned for seeking out the best ingredients and enjoying everything in balance. Bread is no exception and is a serious business in France. The tradition of buying a daily baguette has happily been maintained where in other countries supermarkets now replace the local bakery. Where we lived before I had the choice of about six bakeries and pastry shops to choose from which meant we could buy croissants from one, bread from another, lemon tarts across the street and really seek out the best quality. Yep we were pretty spoilt!
We’ll post a separate article about how the French baguette is made but just to say that a sourdough base starter (levain) and long fermentation is key to success. I’m not great with gluten and I can tell in minutes the quality of bread I’ve eaten. I only buy baguettes made from “levain” and that have been made properly made otherwise healthwise I pay for it. The baguette is such a serious matter that Paris even designed a competition…
Annual competition to find the best baguettes in Paris
The annual Best Baguette of Paris Competition is organised by the City of Paris to find the best baguette from the hundreds of bakers across the capital. The winner receives the prestigious award, 4000 euros in prize money and more importantly becomes the prestigious bread supplier for the Elysée palace for a year.
Bakeries that have won this prize invariably become very well known both nationally and internationally and have queues along the pavement, especially at weekends, with very willing customers wanting to sample the best bread Paris has to offer.
It has been taking place since 1994 on the Île Saint-Louis at the Chambre professionnelle des artisans boulangers-pâtissiers. To take part the baguettes have to each be between 55 and 65cm long and weigh between 250-300g with a salt content of 18g per kilo of flour. The baguettes are all numbered to ensure they are anonymous.
Judges look for specific characteristics in the way it has been cooked, the quality of the crumb, its flavour, fragrance and appearance. Each of these categories is given a grade from 0 to 4. Thirty loaves are then chosen to go through to the next round where the best Parisian baguette for that year is decided.
The top 10 bakers are named but only the winner gets the prestigious prize and title for the year.
Paris’ best boulangeries (2010-2017)
We’ve visited a few of the winning boulangeries from recent years where you can find the best baguettes in Paris.
- 2010 : Djibril Bodian, “Le Grenier à pain“, 38 rue des Abbesses (18th arrondissement)
- 2011 : Pascal Barillon, “Au Levain d’Antan“, 6 rue des Abbesses (18th arrt)
- 2012 : Sébastien Mauvieux, “Boulangerie Mauvieux“, 159 rue Ordener (18th arrt)
- 2013 : Ridha Khadher, “Au Paradis Gourmand“, 156 rue Raymond-Losserand (14th arrt)
Au Paradis Gourmand kindly let us take some photos inside their bakery where we photographed a picture of Ridha Khadher meeting the President François Hollande and his certificate proudly displayed on the wall.
We bought a croissant for our little girl Aimée at the same time and she looks too cute eating it afterwards to not share it with you!
- 2014 : Antonio Teixeira, “Aux Délices du Palais“, 60 boulevard Brune (14th arrt)
- 2015 : Djibril Bodian, “Le Grenier à pain“, 38 rue des Abbesses (18th arrt)
- 2016 : Michael Reydelet et Florian Charles, “La Parisienne“, 48 rue Madame (6th arrt)
- 2017 : Sami Bouattour, “Boulangerie Brun“, 193 rue de Tolbiac (13th arrt)
The best croissants in Paris
Did you know there is also an annual competition for the best croissant? It is known as the “Meilleur Croissant au beurre AOP Charentes Poitou de L’Ile de France”
I’m definitely going to volunteer to write that story if it means sampling lots of croissants au beurre. The sacrifices one has to make to write a blog 🙂
Do you know other boulangeries where to find the best baguettes in Paris? If so, please do share the address below!
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