Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A Baguette S.V.P.

I've been marveling at a recent sign put up at Paul, a chain boulangerie/bakery in France. My local Paul has traditionally not been open on Sundays. When we first moved here it was one of the issues we had to work out... where to buy a baguette on Sunday because all the local bakeries were closed.
We also had another problem because we wanted to go out and buy croissant every day. We resolved all this by having Sunday be the official "my husband gets up early (for him) and goes to the open bakery 5 blocks away to buy croissant, pain au chocolat, oranais (apricot danish), brioche and a baguette" day.
Maybe he doesn't have to walk 5 blocks anymore, it looks like Paul is now open for business on Sunday. However, now we can't buy a Paul baguette on Thursdays! I'm not sure what the local law (arrete perfectoral) states, but apparently if Paul is open on Sunday, they can't sell bread on Thursday. Go figure. Imagine a French bakery with no bread. It's an eerie sight at Paul on Thursdays!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
7:56 PM



Excellent !
That's one of our french "bizarreries" but, still, hé, our society works...
Anyway, you're so lucky, my wife and I are dying to get a Paul boulangerie in our sight. It's the very first thing we plan to do when we'll land in Paris on december 22th : buy bread and croissant "chez Paul". Mmmmmh.

Why it's not possible to find such things in the USA ???

# posted by Jérôme : 10:55 PM  

Hilarious!!! How I truly miss Paris and the bizarre French laws/systems. You've gotta love it! The weird thing is that the Paul in the Casino shoppe is open on Thursdays, as well as Sunday mornings. I know that they sold bread on both days. I am addicted to your blogs now. I know Thanksgiving won't be the same there, but our guys (we went to the same butcher) sure know how to do a roti!! We'll be thinking of you!

# posted by cmac : 3:59 AM  

CMAC, I use the Paul at the Casino mall often. That Paul is still about 5 blocks from our home -- but Belles Feuilles is a great street and has a number of stores open on Sunday morning.
Jerome, I'm not sure why it's difficult to find good basic bread in the US. Before I left the US, a number of fancy bread stores (a loaf of basil, dried tomato, cheddar sourdough please, kind of thing) had opened up in my area, but good basic bread, like a baguette, is hard to find.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 10:14 AM  

You know how I feel about Paul. I will continue to walk five blocks every Sunday to the nice local bakery that sells 80 cent grande viennoise au chocolat and a nice moist oranais. Have you ever had warm, fresh bread at Paul? Does the vendeuse smile at you and give you a croissant with extra butter? I refuse to go to Paul because of that annoying corporate french habit of treating the customer like an intruder on the professionalism of their metier. Plus, they are just nasty there.

Jérôme -- Haven't you heard about Au Bon Pain?!? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA

The Hubby (or should that be Uncle M?)

# posted by Anonymous : 10:27 AM  

Hi Auntie! :)

This may be a difference between Paris and Not Paris, buy my hubby says the Boulangeries here are ALWAYS open on Sundays, and it's traditional to have fresh croissants on Sunday morning. The boulangerie that is closest to us is closed on Wednesdays, and the next-closest is closed on Mondays. Since it's next door to an Intermarche, they leave a couple of batches with the store on the day they are closed.

That's a drag you have to go so far for bread - I've only got to walk about 500 feet!! :)

# posted by ViVi : 12:49 PM  

The Hubby :
Maybe it's because of the diffenrence Paris/Province. But I used to live in Aix en Provence, in the south of France, and I can assure you at the local Paul I got warm bread and a smile.
(french people are really nicer outside of Paris)

But our Paul was also closed on sunday...

# posted by Jérôme : 3:36 PM  


I suspect it is just Paris being Paris. There are a few establishments where I get the sense that you are sized up and deemed worthy of the extra little service. I expect that at Galeries Lafayette (at least the main store); I don't like that when I want to buy a loaf of bread. I will admit the lack of warmth (physical and emotional) is probably just my local Paul. However, I don't like that vague "smell" of Starbucks that the ubiquitous, corporate Paul gives off. Yet again, given the choice of Paul over Starbucks, Paul wins hands down and I will count the days to coming back and finding a french boulangerie when I leave your fair country.

By the way, Jérôme, I like your blog.

The Hubby

# posted by Anonymous : 5:10 PM  

I never go to Pauls because (a) their bread and croissants aren't THAT great, sometimes they're too chewy or the crust is so hard it makes my gums bleed and the staff is never up to snuff (b) it's a chain, and I prefer to support my artisanal boulangerie when I can (c) my boulangerie at Pyrenees 30m south of Menilmontant, run by an Antillais, makes incredible bread. He's open on Sundays till 1pm, but closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. His baguettes, and believe me I've trekked around trying all the boulangeries within a 2km radius, are simply perfect: crispy flavourful crust, delicate fluffy interior, and oddly more tasty than the rest.

I know I'm far from you...so I can't expect you to trek to the 20th just to try, but if you ever come my way, the stretch of Pyrenees between Gambetta and Menilmontant is wicked for food If you tell me in advance, I'll give you a guided tour :)

# posted by NARDAC : 1:56 AM  

Dear Jerome:

You can now finally find PAUL boulangeries in the USA. PAUL opened the maiden US store in Miami, and plans on opening all across the USA. The store address is 14861 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami Beach, FL 33181. The store is just before Aventura Mall, at 149th Street! And you don't even have to deal with the attitude! Telephone number is +1-866-PAULUSA

# posted by Simon : 5:25 PM  

Suggest to " PAUL" that he opens a boulangerie i Las Vegas , also . He will make a killing here . Alexis las Vegas , bonjourlv@cox.net

# posted by alexis scarr : 3:24 AM  

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