Who can come to Paris without sampling a croissant or a crusty baguette fresh from the oven? From cherished traditional bakeries, faithfully preserving age-old techniques, to exciting new establishments pushing flavor boundaries, the French capital’s boulangeries are a testament to its unparalleled culinary heritage.
Paris, a city celebrated for culinary arts, holds a special place in the hearts of bread aficionados. It is, of course, synonymous with the baguette, cherished symbol of French identity and holder of world cultural heritage status. But beyond its iconic baguette, Paris boasts a rich and diverse world of artisanal bread-making that beckons to be explored. From sourdough loaves made with ancient grains …. a host of boulangeries are daring to push the boundaries of baking, kneading new life into a proud bread tradition. Follow the early-morning aroma of dough rising to these 7 artisanal bakeries.
Masters of the art of fusion baking, Petite Île is a unique bakery in the chic Marais neighborhood. Products laced with the flavors of Taiwan – such as the pain melon, a fluffy melon bread with a satisfyingly crusty outer layer – rub shoulders with French classics such as pain de campagne (rustic country loaf) and jambon beurre (ham and butter baguette). Other delicacies combine both cuisines, like the honeyed pain de mie soft loaf or sweet-savory pain au chocolat au sésame (chocolate sesame roll). The breads and pastries here are playful and bold, with everything skilfully and precisely crafted – whether it be a quintessential baguette, a Taiwanese-style loaf, or something in between.
8 Rue des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris
Discover the world of Sain (the French word for ‘healthy’), where master baker Anthony Courteille’s imaginative creations await. With its eye-catching green exterior and tiled counters, this organic boulangerie beckons you to step inside and savor its culinary creations. Indulge in the unique flavors of their cauliflower and sesame seed bread, savor the richness of the truffle rye, or enjoy the enticing combination of butternut squash, turmeric, and ginger in their savory rolls. Beyond bread, treat yourself to irresistible sweet delights like fresh fig tartelettes and chai-spiced cake. In the hip, vibrant hub behind the Canal St Martin, Sain Boulangerie stands out as a true gem, offering exceptional flavors and craftsmanship to satisfy and surprise your taste buds.
13 Rue Alibert, 75010, Paris
Levain Le Vin
‘Levain Le Vin’s’ clever name-play (levain being the French word for sourdough starter) serves as a nod to the bakery’s dual identity. In addition to their exceptional sourdough breads, Levain Le Vin is also a destination for natural and biodynamic wine enthusiasts. The tipples can be enjoyed with plates of charcuterie, cheese and, of course, different types of bread – all served in the pared back, chilled-out bar area. The staff are knowledgeable about all things bread and wine and are happy to make recommendations. At lunchtime the eatery also offers fresh, seasonal salads and sandwiches and, if you’re not a wine-drinker, there are a range of artisanal beers, ciders, and fruit juices to accompany the food.
83 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris
There’s lots to love about Chapel, the teeny-tiny boulangerie tucked away in a quiet corner of the 11th arrondissement. Founded by two brothers, Max and Charles Carré, using all ingredients sourced from in or around Paris (not least the flour, from nearby Forest Ferme in Seine-et-Marne)- there’s a real charm about the place that keeps locals and visitors coming back for more. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and all the baked goods are made with great care and attention by the brothers themselves. With such a small production team, the selection is limited, but by no means disappointing. Don’t miss out on their sweet and excellently textured cornbread (even better toasted and slathered with butter) or their seasonally rotating fruit pies (all encrusted in buttery, buckwheat pastry).
25 Rue de la Forge Royale, 75011 Paris
Born and raised in Japan, Shinya, the mastermind behind this off-the-beaten-track Montmartre boulangerie, is an expert in unusual grains and natural levains. You’ll find out what’s on offer by looking at his Instagram feed, where he shares scribbled post-it-notes of the menu du jour. His premises are similarly no-frills: exposed brick and space enough for only one or two people to enter. Get there early enough (he usually sells out in a couple of hours) and you’ll be greeted by Shinya from behind a fold-out table brimming with meticulously crafted bakes. The most coveted are the scone levain nature (delicately textured and pleasingly buttery) and his pain a levain caramélisé (caramelised sourdough loaf), a triumph interweaving sweetness with the subtle tang of naturally fermented dough.
41 Rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris
From classic baguettes to speciality loaves, Éléments offers a diverse range of bread options to cater to different tastes and dietary preferences. There’s only one employee – Claire Escalon – whose interior design background rarely goes unnoticed, from minimalist wooden counter tops to the gorgeous ceramic cups used to serve coffee. Éléments is as chic and sophisticated as boulangeries get, and the bread is just as delectable: long fermentation and quality organic ingredients ensures that each product is perfectly textured and full of depth. The branche aux fruits (fruit branch) is a popular breakfast order: prepared with a natural rye sourdough base and studded with apricots, raisins, and roasted almonds, it also makes for a brilliant accompaniment to cheese. Equally delicious are her take on financiers, which, gluten-free, are made with buckwheat flour, almonds, and laced with honey and orange oil.
3 Rue Victor Letalle, 75020 Paris
Atelier P1 is a cosy Montmartre bakery that exudes rustic charm. The open kitchen invites customers to witness the art of bread-making close up. The team takes pride in using organic and locally sourced ingredients, resulting in intriguing flavors that capture the essence of each season, such as their kalamata olive-studded wheat sourdough, made with T80 flour. Chocolate fiends will adore the treat that put Atelier P1 on the map: the praline (a rich and sublimely hazelnutty pain au chocolat). You’ll find just one table nestled beside a dough hook, and a bench outside, but the park opposite has plenty of seating options if the weather is favorable. The team also runs workshops each Wednesday between 3pm and 6pm, if you’re keen to learn bread-making tips from some of the city’s best bakers.
157 Rue Marcadet, 75018 Paris