Monday, May 27, 2013

The Best Baguette in Paris

In today's PB post:
1. How to paint une baguette traditional
2A. How to speak French
2B. How to find the best baguette in Paris
3. Why the French don't get fat.
1. To paint une baguette place it right on your paper and trace around it lightly with your pencil. Start laying in your light warm colors with lots of water - yellow ochre, burnt Sienna etc. Darker cooler colors go on top.
2. Moving right along - How to speak French.
I Googled "French news out loud" and found Frenglish News = perfection.
Not only will you be able to read in French and English bits of the latest news but you can hear it and play it over and over.
Just what I was looking for.
2B. On to finding the best baguette traditional in Paris.
Thanks to Frenglish I charged off to Au Paradis du Gourmand in the 14th today. They are closed on Sundays
156, rue Raymond Losserand
Metro Plaisence Ligne 13 (take exit 5)
Isn't it funny how one thing leads to the next?
I'm not the world's biggest baguette eater but my curiosity got the better of me. What's all the fuss about?
On The Paris by Mouth tour Meg Zimbeck explained in detail what makes a great baguette.
Think: aroma, interior holes, outer appearance, and CRUNCH. The French are very big on crunch and crispiness. Who knew? Crustillante is the word to remember. You can use it for just about anything and get away with murder IMHO.
There were 203 contestents in the 2013 competition. Every baguette must fit the strict requirements of size, weight etc. By the way Meg Zimbeck was appointed to be on the jury which though quite large is a big honor. Or do they draw names out of a hat? I forget. Still Meg is the right person to be up there. Her tastebuds are the TOP!
Back to Au Paradis du Gourmand's baguette. Tunisian-born chef Ridha Khadher came to France at age 6 and started apprenticing at 14. The difference between his baguette? His takes 24 hours to make not the usual 5 hours. To me this was most flavorful and crunchiest baguette ever.
I thought I should do a some comparison tasting and stopped in 'bleu ciel' Boulanger Jocteur.
You can watch the baker making the bread as you pay.
On to Monoprix. I don't know if their MOF Chef Frederic Lalos makes the baguettes but I hope not. This was not an enticing loaf.
I nearly got knocked over by this guy running off with 5-6 baguettes from my local Alsacian boulangerie Maeder.
Again nothing to write home about. Honestly I would say take a trip to the 14th and try this fabulous bread. Everything else is dross. Well almost. I should taste more baguettes, being new at the game. As the winner of this year's competition, Au Paradis du Gourmand will be supplying President Hollande for a year and everyone else in the Elysees Palais with their daily bread. I'll be going back for more. The sandwiches and tartes looked divine too but I was trying to stay focused. I must say I now have flour over everything I own including my iPad.
3. As to why the French don't get fat.
If you start off from day 1 hanging out in pastry shops and boulangeries in your pousette, you won't behave as we do = uncontrolled raving-famished for French pastries. It will be old hat to you. Ho hum. You'll build up immunity. Well that's what I think. I could be wrong.


  1. Thanks for the tip..I need to get a big sheet of watercolor paper from downstairs:)

    I will!
    What a great site.. I mean the translations are GREAT.FRom what I can see so far..I read about the jewel heist in Cannes and listened..
    Ah too the cruch and holes are important..I must admit to finding some way too crunchy..
    I love bread:)
    What a day you ahve had so far..Does it count? I've washed my floors..But..the sun has shown it's beautiful face finally!
    Quiche on the menu.

  2. The sun came out here too unexpectedly.
    Must get to the post office!
    You don't need a big sheet to paint bread.
    Don't attempt the entire baguette M. ;))

  3. So THAT is the secret! How long do you think it would take me to build up immunity if I moved to Paris next year? I'm willing to sacrifice, as you say, strictly for the sake of research.

    1. The stroller is ready and waiting for you Jeanette!

    2. actually, though i am NOT any professional at this or anything... I read something about how they drink wine A LOT. Because as you know, they do eat a lot. I totally approve that wayy more and the English, who are not very good with food in my opinion. Quoting Peter Mayle, "Grey meat, grey vegetables, grey potatoes, grey flavor." no offense, anybody. xP so apparently it's because they drink wine. and then most people think that hey just eat better stuff in smaller portions.
      i dont know though... cant say for sure. luv ur paintings tho

  4. What a wonderful post! I love the idea of tracing it! Love the tip about the French/English web site too. I need to be able to reply stuff a lot to learn.
    Have a fun day!

  5. Carol, thank you so much for the frenglish link. I think I might have to visit there a few more times to add the the Parisian knowledge you give us so generously.

    Your baguette painting tip is tres charmant. I may have to try it for other foods, too.

    What pleasure you continue to bring to us from Paris!

    Will you be going to the tennis? I do hope that the answer is bien sur.


  6. Love the baguettes. Not so crazy about the pastries.

  7. I think I have to agree with your theory about the French not getting fat. They are desensitized to all that buttery goodness.

    I made some French bread in my bread machine and the smell was divine! Crunchy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. Perfection the night we ate it but hard as a rock the next day.

    1. working in a bakery full time living here is
      The streets are full of aromas of baking croissants
      A killer if you don't have the immunity shield

  8. I like your familiarity/immunity concept. It would certainly take years for that to build up. I can't imagine not wanting to buy all of every shop- it's only with the utmost restraint that I manage not to.

  9. Anonymous11:21 AM

    IMHO, you are very wrong on No. 3 but I won't start my usual rant about how chain-smoking keeps them thin and keeps me breathing toxic fumes.
    I do have a great baguette for you: try Le Nôtre's sourdough paysanne. It is excellent.

  10. Darn. The best baguette search and I'm not there. Pity. That is a search where I'd have been happy to help you! Kayser is near and dear to my heart, but I could try others. I do think you develop an immunity---or perhaps aversion---to all the sweets. Other than Gateau Basque (only from Picard) I resisted most after the first six months or so. Hang in there! Lovely post.

  11. Anonymous5:05 PM

    My next life I want to live in Paris and have plenty of €€€ to go from bakery to bakery. Full of good info...

  12. I am floating off to dreamland, imagining all those heavenly aromas from untold baguettes
    (consumed with delight and never gaining an ounce)(told you it was dreamland!)
    Beautiful sketches,Carol, and just a wonderful post today!
    Thank you!

  13. Merci Carol! Belel decouverte il est très proche à l'appartement où je vis quand je suis à Paris (rue Pierre Larousse), la prochaine fois que je serai là j'irai surement! Bisous Helga


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