Bookmark the Addresses of These Paris Bakeries: The Indispensable List of 'Boulangeries'

Walking into a bakery in Paris first thing in the morning is a heady experience. Nothing compares with it. The bakers have been up since pre-dawn mixing, kneading, shaping and baking so that whole shop display cases and bakery windows are filled with the morning’s allotment of fresh baguettes, croissants, pain au chocolats (chocolate croissants), apple turnovers, sweet raisin rolls, brioches and the dozen or so other morning boulangerie staples.

When one stops to consider the genius in the engineering of the simple baguette, it gives pause for appreciation. I’m talking here more about the social engineering of this long, thin loaf of bread that is baked on-premise at least twice, but more often three times, per day. When it’s fresh, particularly when it’s still warm from the gigantic bread ovens, there are few things on Earth more delicious. But take that same loaf of bread just 12 hours later, and the flavor has diminished by at least half. Hence, with any logical estimation, the continued flourishing of bakeries throughout Paris, and France, can be credited to this simply engineered loaf of bread, which must be baked, bought and consumed – fresh ! – at least twice per day.

Every year there is a city-wide competition for which bakery bakes the best baguette in Paris. The boulangerie who wins is then awarded a year’s contract to furnish the Elysée, where the French President lives and works, with baguette and bread for the year.



7éme Arrondissement
Eric Kayser
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner copyright 2015

The beloved Eric Kayser, need more be said? If you are not familiar with the Paris or NY bakery scene, then lets get you filled in. Anything from an Eric Kayser bakery is divine. Whether you are stopping in to pick up a simple baguette on your way home from work, or tucking in first thing in the morning for a bag of his pastries, like apricot-custard danishes, pistachio-chocolate rolls and brioches, here you cannot go wrong. The French tend to reserve quiches for their midday meal, but here they can be a good a breakfast option as well, if you find you have an appetite for eggs and a bit of bacon in the morning. Several of the locations accommodate dine-in seating, namely the location near the Louvre and this location near St.-Germain.

16éme Arrondissement
Lalos Paris
Photo courtesy of Frédéric Lalos Boulangerie Paris

Frédéric Lalos, the baker, is considered one of France's finest. And the great thing is that if you don't make it out to his bakery here in the 16th arrondissement, chances are you might still get to taste some of this delightfully passionate baker's breads since they are served at many of Paris' best restaurants and hotels. Even as a young teenager he was determined to pursue baking as his career goal. This is a man born to be a baker and he had the wisdom to honor that instinct and follow through on it. When he was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France distinction, he was the youngest baker, at the time, to be accorded it. "Dough is a marvellous material," he says, "it lives and breathes."

6éme Arrondissement

Apollonia Poilâne certainly inherited her late father, Lionel's, knack for baking. What's more, the time and energy she puts into her breads always leave her customers pleased. Her "pain poilâne" is sold all across Paris as "tartines au pain Poilâne" (a kind of sandwich made with just one slice of bread, typically covered with ham or cheese, but countless variants exist now). In fact, all other breads have to measure up to Poilâne's. She also makes unbelievable sweets. Some of the more popular are the bakery's golden butter cookies and apple tartlets. This location, just near Place Saint Sulpice, makes it an oh-so-convenient stop off on your way to a picnic lunch in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

14éme Arrondissement
Moulin de la Vierge

"It is the soul of a baker that creates his bread," says Basile Kamir, baker at this longstanding favorite, especially the location on rue St. Dominique. At Moulin de la Vierge, you'll find a rich array of breads and pastries to suit your fancy. Among Monsieur Kamir's most popular items are a scrumptious sourdough, a delicious golden country bread, and fougasse (a bread with a crispy shell stuffed with luscious fillings). The house's signature baguette is the Parasseuse which boasts a creamy crumb and a crunchy crust. You must sample the pastries too, including canelés, that Bordelais speciality, which are small, caramelized batter cakes.

10éme Arrondissement
Du Pain et des Idées
Photo courtesy of Du Pain et des Idées

One of the house specialties of baker Christophe Vasseur's is his Friendship Bread ("pain des amis") whose distinct flavor and crusty, browned bottom come from being formed by hand, or so this bakery's fans would have you believe. More likely the organic flour he uses to make it also plays a part. Morning is the best time to come because that way you can delight in the house made morning pastries like the five different kinds of raisin roll, « l'escargot » (the traditional morning danish that looks like a cinnamon roll) : l'escargot made with honey nougat and lemon, another made with pistachio and chocolate chips, a third made with fresh cassis, yet another with bits of praline and then finally the raisin danish made with rum-soaked raisins. Once you're finished with those, be sure to buy some loaves (of bread) to take home with you.

Boulangerie Murciano serves up delicious pastries and café items in a warm and welcoming seating in the heart of the Jewish quarter in Le Marais district of Paris. It is worth centering your whole visit to this delightful little neighborhood in the beloved Marais district around finding that perfect Apfelstrudel. This bakery is a good bet but it's understandood you will likely be tempted by at least several of the surrounding bakeries nearby, too, all specialized in kosher, Jewish baked goods and specialties. At this address, 16 rue des Rosiers, there has stood a bakery for at least 100 years.

1er Arrondissement

People can't seem to say enough good things about Philippe Gosselin's baguettes. The gifted baker takes special care to make each loaf perfect, and the same attention goes to his rye and white breads too. If you require a sweet fix, Gosselin offers a selection of chocolate and fruit cakes that is simply mouthwatering. Their recipes are all family ones and the artistry of bread baking is one that has been passed down from father to son over the years. Also, in the winter they offer deliciously warming homemade soups, too. For dessert indulge in their proprietary cake, the L'Eventail. It's an almond flour cake with cherries and a vanilla-cherry meringue on top, garnished with fresh strawberries. It almost looks to good to eat, until you bite into it, that is.

2éme Arrondissement

Highly demanded breads are baked in a wood oven built in 1890. The baker's day starts at 5am, and he concentrates on producing top-quality baked goods for eager customers. Among the favorites are the sourdough baguettes and the St-Fiacre, a special white bread. The location here means that this bakery is surrounded by office workers either going to or coming from home. It has a loyal following especially for the morning pain au chocolat which you can enjoy on premise with a café – not something that many of the other traditional bakeries offer as most of them are set up as a sort of cash-and-carry operation.

16th Arrondissement - Auteuil Pa
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner copyright 2015

This is more than one of those favored neighborhood bakeries, this is a local Passy institution. Passy, of course, is that posh enclave of the already upper-crust 16th arrondissement, so you know that the clientele here is not just discerning but perhaps even a tad bit tough to please. So when you see lines out the door on Sunday mornings and people walking with their pretty little bow-tied boxes of cakes and pastries on the weekends as far as Trocad�ro and La Muette, you can be sure this is the best bakery within the immediate surroundings. It's also one of the few places in all of Paris where you'll find a type of baguette called Le Passy. It costs a few centimes more than the regular baguette but is worth its posh price.

4éme Arrondissement
Huré Createur de Plaisir
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner copyright 2015

This is one of those humble but popular, meaning by word-of-mouth popular, Paris bakeries. True, its location near the Centre Pompidou makes it ultimately convenient but also puts it smack in the middle of lots of competition. Fans of this bakery tend to like it either for their morning danishes and pastries which substitute chocolate chips for raisins or add pistachios where there were none. Or people like it for their lunch offerings. The noon day meal, when eaten on the run, is often grabbed at a bakery where sandwiches and quiches prevail. Here the sandwiches, and quiches, are made with a generous hand, so lots of fillings along with that good bread or crust.


Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige