On March 17th the Best Baguette in Paris for 2016 was awarded to Mickaël Reydellet and Florian Charles of Boulangerie La Parisienne (48 rue Madame, 6th). This annual competition run by City Hall, Le Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris, is a blind taste-test of over 150 baguettes which decides which bakery gets to supply bread to the Palais d’Elysée (the French president’s residence) for a year.
Even though the winning bakery is in the 6th arrondissement (in a rather average neighborhood bakery, surprisingly), have a look at the official Top Ten winners:
1) Boulangerie La Parisienne, 48 rue Madame, 6th
2) Fournil de Lourmel, 121 Avenue Felix Faure, 15th
3) Le Grenier à Pain Saint-Amand, 33 bis Rue Saint-Amand, 15th
4) Boulangerie Alexine, 40 rue Lepic 18th
5) Boulangerie l’Essentiel Blanqui, 73 boulevard Auguste Blanqui, 13th
6) Doucers et Traditions, 85 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7th
7) La Flûte Enchantée, 104 rue du Faubourg St-Antoine, 12th
8) Brun Boulangerie, 193 rue de Tolbiac 13th
9) Le Grenier à Pain Italie, 52 avenue d’Italie, 13th
10) L’Académie du Pain, 30 Rue d’Alésia, 14th
Not only are 80% of the winners on the Left Bank (go Rive Gauche!), the largest number of them, three out of ten, are from the 13th arrondissement. And for those of you — especially the long-time Parisians who should know better — think this means they’re Chinese bakeries, you’d be mistaken. Only a very small section of the very large 13th is “Chinatown”. The winning bakeries are all in my neighborhood, at the foot of the Butte aux Cailles and just outside the Italie 2 shopping mall. Personally, I think the one from Le Grenier à Pain is my favorite (pictured on the left with the baguette from l’Essentiel; Brun is closed Tuesday and Wednesday so I didn’t get one from there), but I usually get my bread right at the Huré Boulangerie at Place d’Italie or the Boulangerie du Monge at the bottom of my street.
I should mention that there were only about 150 entries (out of approximately 1200 bakeries in Paris), and half of them were disqualified for not measuring up to the exact length and weight requirements. So honestly this is just a list of the Top Ten Baguettes of those who participated and followed the rules. There may be excellent — or even better — baguettes in any other random bakery in Paris. So before you go out of your way to visit La Parisienne in the 6th, you should probably know no Parisian would ever go out of their way for a baguette except in extreme circumstances (it’s August and their regular spot is closed, or they moved to a new neighborhood and miss their old boulangère).
The prize will be awarded officially by the Mayor Anne Hidalgo at the 21st annual Fête du Pain on the square in front of Notre Dame Cathedral from May 21-30, 2016.
If you’re curious about how the competition is conducted here is an excellent write up from one of this year’s judges, our very own expat blogger Jennifer of Chez Loulou: A Taste of Life in France.