Monday, September 01, 2014

Baguette Stalker

Parisien Boy by photographer Willie Ronis "Parisien Boy" by photographer Willie Ronis
Everyone knows this world famous photo by Willie Ronis of a Parisien boy carrying a baguette.

But who knew that most Parisiens do walk around with a loaf of bread under their arms in broad daylight. Look at these two sisters getting training early.

Naturally the older sister gets to carry the baguette...humph! Can you tell I'm a younger sister?

I spotted this woman coming out of the boulangerie. I started following her hoping for a shot.

Uh oh! She's spotted me stalking her.
Gawd, you'd think with 6 baguettes under her arm, she's getting in supplies for a restaurant? Not the case in France. It's the norm to stock up for the day.

Isn't this the typical Frenchman trying to decide which wine will go best with his bread.

Here's another thing...the French are quite content to walk around with their bread PRACTICALLY NAKED. Exposed to the air, to street pollution with just a tiny paper "diaper" around the thing. Wa'?

I have a favorite boulangerie where I go for a wonderfully grainy, nutty baguette on rue Vavin. It has no name so don't even ask(they've since moved to Chile. Why ever?).
But why is it when I go in, the saleswoman before I open my mouth takes my baguette, neatly cuts it in half and sticks the cut ends into the bag so no bare bits are hanging out. How did she know I was a crazy-hygenic American? Was it the way I knotted my scarf?

 The end of this fab bread, which Rick says I must tear off and eat in the street. It's de rigueur. I first bought their bread just for the adorable bag.

Here's another rule of thumb in France. When eating in a restaurant or as a guest at someone's home, ALWAYS take your half-eaten bread and PLACE IT ON THE TABLE. Do not ask for a bread plate or butter. At home you can put your bread wherever.

A PB reader told me I MUST go into this boulangerie on 64, rue Saint-Dominque 75007 and I'm glad I did.

There are 6 Le Moulin de la Vierge throughout Paris. They are all equally beautiful.
Did I mention that everything I tasted was DIVINE.
The French love these little worker figurines. A bit like garden gnomes in Amalie...non?)

Another bread phenomenon. Not just restaurant menus chalk boards are out in the street to peruse. Bread menus too.

 What happens to the bread you don't carry under your arm - it becomes delicious sandwiches like here at SECCO (formerly Poujauran - they bought all of his recipes by the way) at 18, rue Jean Nicot 75007
Regarde!(Look) French babies start training while still in the strollers.
Don't we all want to pass as Parisians? Admit it.
Here are some rules (regles):
1. Get on line, any line.
2. Carry a loaf of bread under your arm, preferably naked (I mean the bread! not you).
3. Walk with a straight-legged stride.
4. Never run across the street even if the light is red.
NEVER! Your straight-legged stride will get you quickly, expediently across the street. Plus drivers will see your baguette like a flashing headlight.
5. NEVER wear a hat even in Artic temperatures (frequent in Paris).
6. Wrap 9 yards of fabric around your neck at all times, but you've heard that before a million times.
Oh and try to keep your mouth shut (the biggest give-away)

AND DON'T WEAR SNEAKERS! (no longer true.)
Err...this was a repost I didn't mean to repost.
C'est la vie.


  1. Carol this is so funny!
    Best line: ''Find a dog to drag around..."
    Second best line: "Wrap 9 yards of fabric around your neck at all times..."
    Merci for the first laughs of the day...

    1. Anonymous4:30 PM

      My favourites too. Smiling thanks to PB.

  2. Dear Carol,
    Naked bread is good and so is putting it on the filthy table --you can tell I'm Euro-trash.
    I'm so glad this is a repost - all those horrid winter coats!
    Our chums in Paris lived near the 'tour FL' -AKA EYE-FULL Tower. Anyway, there was a boulangerie exactly downstairs from could fall downstairs into the embrace of an embarrassment of baguettes.
    Furious with Robert who had ordered new New Balance sneakers for Prague....should have ordered a Loden coat instead.

  3. Merci, Carol, for these delights!

    Going around with a baguette half-naked is not different from having your face exposed. The air you breath is the same as the one that "touches" your baguette.

  4. I just occurred to me that there must not be a "gluten free" diet rage in Paris.

    1. And what of me??? And those, like me? Who _have_ to eat Gluten Free????? Have to!!!!! -sigh-


    2. Helmet NewCake is yr man
      28 rue Vignon 75009

  5. Picture #13

    Gracious, inside the Le Moulin de la Vierge looks like the ambiance of our old (began at time of Civil War) family pharmacy. Real old tiles... Beautiful old wood counters... Etc. :-))))

    And I too, would want my bread, wrapped. It may be chic to go around with half out it, sticking out, exposed to alllllll the elements. But... :-(

    I'd buy one, to carry around. And one, cut/wrapped, like yours!!!


    1. Hahahaha !
      You can never be French!

  6. All our baguettes are half naked:)
    I had a wee coat like the girls..Love them..
    Never knew about the bread on the table not a bread plate..:)

  7. Your posts are always great, but this one is SUPER great! I laughed and laughed --- and am already plotting my stiff-legged stride ---

  8. If you look carefully at the "baby" in the stroller, doesn't it look like a baguette stuffed into that snowsuit where the arm should be? :-)

  9. This two little girls look wonderful in their grey wool school coats! I dressed my only daughter in a black and white tweed one from.....can't remember the of those old fashioned, classic clothes companies for children. She was teased by her classmates.
    That nutty, grainy baguette looks so delicious. I think I could easily live on bread alone, but with lots of butter. Why does everything French look so damn CHIC?

  10. Louisa12:59 PM

    'At home you can put your bread wherever'
    The mouth is a good place.

  11. Jeanne in OK1:30 PM

    Ohhh, this Baguette Stalker is my favorite. I enjoy all of your posts, Your photography is superb! I look at your posts more than once.

  12. Beautiful photo essay. I love the theme & how you make it flow. I like how you worked kids into the post; who thought bread could be fun!
    I would love one of those sandwiches right now :)
    Nice job.....

  13. I'm making notes! You are too funny, Carol. Great post, and I recognize the boulangerie on rue St. Dominque. ;-)

    1. Paris boulangeries OPEN today!
      September 2. Yay

  14. ....9 yards of fabric! That sounds about right! J'adore those cute little girls and their matching coats!

  15. Carolyn12:15 AM

    Wonderful post!!! I shall be practicing my straight leg walking because my trip is only a week away :) You have told us of so many wonderful boulangeries and patisseries over the years I feel I should go back and plot them out on a map! I will continue to just stumble upon them though, because I am not that organized. Thank you for making us laugh :)))) And, I LOVE your report card!

    1. Stumble upon' is the Best way to find good things in Paris.
      Other people's favs...Hmmm. Best to find your own.

  16. Cool post as usual love You Carol make me dream Paris anytime and I miss the Ville Lumiere so much,my fav boulanger was in Passy .I was living near pont the Grenelle so sometimes with a sunny day I went up for a walk and I loved to stop for a breath in the Balzac's garden,entrance and visit free, and finally arriving to the main road.. full of pastry shops boulangerie and a nice road market in the morning ..

    iif You wanna make a nice and easy pudding dark chocolate cake here:

  17. I love this edition of PB... how people live, what they do, and how they are...I get the sense of the place, the people and the life itself!
    I really like the way you "see" things...

  18. Nice photo ! The best is still the smell of hot baguettes !

  19. Anonymous8:30 AM

    Love the way the French believe the baguette is impervious to contamination of any sort. We are so focused on sanitizing everything in our culture, it's quite a change. And I've never been ill, so I think they're on to something.

    Also, just opened your August letter (sometimes I save them for a special quiet time) and I was so charmed by the tomatoes as hot air balloons, very clever--also loved that you included the funny puppy and curious kitty. And of course, la Tour Eifel--wonderful letters!! Thank you so much.
    --Nora in CT

  20. Anonymous2:33 PM

    The French are still there, so I guess quarter of a baguette exposed to the elements is hardly dangerous? :D

    I loved the post (I love bread of all sorts), but I have to say that not wearing a hat in Paris is hardly an achievement in terms of human endurance... But it's easy for me to say up here quite near the arctic circle and having given up wearing hats around 18 years ago! (Except for the lovely little chic kind that cover practically nothing, of course)

  21. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Brings back great memories of the bread lines at the boulangerie, pulling off that end of loaf, savoring everything!

    What do you call those worker (baker) figurines. I need to scout for one of those on Ebay or something for my own baker boy, Rick, who was so moved by the bread in France he has started baking his own baguettes. Not QUITE the same, but better than anything you can get in the store here!

  22. I love your rules! They had me in stitches! So funny!
    I'd probably get shot because I always used to run across the street.

    Re : the 6 baguette lady

    Maybe she thought you were the carb or baguette police... which could explain the difficulty getting the pic... Imagine the stern words of the Baguette Officer-"Madam (insert name) you have been photographed on three ocassions buying TOO MANY BAGUETTES!".

  23. I love baguette stalking too. Opportunity always abounds. So many boulangeries, so little time...


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