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….