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Paris Food & Drink

Best Baguette in Paris

Le Figaro recently rated the top baguettes in Paris. And not the “traditional” that has become trendy or any other exotic “flûte” or “craquant” but the humble baguette ordinaire. A plain white bread baquette. Standardisation in baguettes has become so rampant (how many of you are guilty of picking yours up at the supermarket or convenience store instead of fresh from the boulanger?) that many of the most famous gourmet bakeries in Paris don’t even sell the ordinary baguette, or keep it hidden out of sight, so a lot of familiar names are missing from their list.

Judgement is based on the “Aspect” (how the baguette looks), “Nez” (how it smells), “Texture” (the crustiness of the outside, softness of the inside), and “Goût” (the taste), on a scale of 1-5. Strangely, not one baguette got a 5 in any category. The highest score out of 20 was 15, for Jacques Bazin in the 12th (85bis rue de Charenton). See the entire list here.

Two are within dog-walking distance of my flat, #5 Laurent Duchêne (13/20, with more points on looks than taste) and #17 L’Artisan du Pain (7.5/20, with the same taste score as the one above). I usually go to two others closer to the Place d’Italie, but I’ve never actually asked for a baguette ordinaire. I always get a “Campagne” or “Baguette des Près” so maybe I’ll do my own taste test.

You know, in the name of research. I’ll have a fifth category: how nicely it tastes lightly toasted with a dollop of Nutella. Mmmmmm….

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  • "You know, in the name of research. I’ll have a fifth category: how nicely it tastes lightly toasted with a dollop of Nutella. Mmmmmm.."Thanks, now I want a baguette too. Hard to find a good one in the farther reaches of the L.A. suburbs.I think I’m gonna try and bake some bread. Any idea of what kind of yeast, available in the U.S.A., is best for a baguette?Oh, and about French grading, when I worked in a school near Cannes I was very surprised at the number of 8’s, 10’s, and 12’s kids received. I never stopped to think that this is what happens without the grade inflation I was used to. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This is a lot like the scoring system in French schools. Getting a 15/20 (the typical scoring) was considered to be pretty good. Anything under 12 pretty mediocre, and anything above 17 a miracle — like the medieval architects who made their buildings asymetrical on purpose because "only God can be perfect," French students rarely get 20/20 on their papers. It seems to have seeped into baguette ratings. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Gee, thanks, now I want baguettes.Time to start planning another trip to Paris, but not until I get home from Mexico.But seriously, 15 out of 20 was the best score? 75%, a C+ is the best you can do in Paris? *le boggle*

  • What is really amazing, is that none of the 20 baguettes, of the best well-known boulangeries de Paris, none of them was rated 5 in none of the categories. Un peu harsh, ne c’est pas.