If you think about Paris, you usually think about the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, or Notre Dame, don’t you? However, apart from all of the above, there is one more thing which is probably one of the most essential trademarks of the City of Lights – and we’re talking about Parisian baguettes, of course!
Bread-and-butter or a national treasure?
If you come to Paris, you’ll find it really hard to resist the impression that almost all the major streets are lined with boulangeries displaying all sorts of tasty bread, cakes and pastries. You’ll soon realize that in Paris, baking is not only a mere ‘trade’, but a form of art the arcana of which are often passed from one generation to another. Indeed, the locals tend to hold this craft in much esteem, especially given the recent outpouring of all the ‘McShops’ you might find around the city. Fortunately, there are still many places that are bound to please your palate with genuine taste of authentic Parisian baked goods, and the best time to test this statement is the period when the majority of Parisian boulangeries compete for the title of the Best Baguette of Paris. This is the time when all the local bakers put that extra effort to meet the strict criteria of entering the competition and make their products appeal to as big audience as possible (though the title is still awarded by professional jury), so you might expect huge queues of baguette-lovers striving for top-quality bread on virtually every corner. Feel free to join in and delight in one of the best-kept traditions of Parisian cuisine.
And for all those with a time limit for their short stay in Paris, below is a list of top places worth a visit. The best of the best…As for the said annual competition for the Best Baguette of Paris, the game is worth the candle, because the winner gets the enviable title, a cash prize, a trophy and the honor of baking baguettes for the French president for the whole next year! Moreover, the criteria to be met to enter the competition, i.e. the ingredients and the way the baguettes are made, are all defined in writing in a decree signed by the French prime minister in 1993, so here’s a list of those who made it through the careful selection and will treat you with the finest bread you’ll find around:
The list could, of course, go on and this is only a short excerpt of all the places worth your time, but you’d probably like to use the time spent in Paris in a more diverse way than satisfying your palate only. Still, let us serve you with one final piece of advice: once you set out to explore the City of Lights in more detail, remember that local bakers tend to specialize in either pastries or bread, which in practice means that you when you finally get a mouth-watering macaron or éclair, you won’t necessarily get baguettes of the same quality – and this actually works the other way round, too. Bon appétit, nonetheless!