I used to
cross Paris to buy a loaf of bread. That was when I was more of a débutant and kept a
list of bakeries that I wanted to visit, and I’d make it a point to check
off as many as I could, to try their bread.
But few in
Paris go farther than their local boulangerie to get their bread. Since
it’s something you do almost daily, one goes to a place that’s
convenient. An added bonus is that like most places in France, when the
staff gets to know you, they will bend over backwards to help you. So you
ask them for the darkest baked loaf of pain au levain, you’ll get
it. Or they’ll rifle through the basket to pick out your baguette for
you, baked just as you like it.
part of extended conversations with clerks who will
show me the different baguettes, cooked to various degrees, while I
give them the oui
or non – until
they Goldilock’s-like pluck out just the right one. No matter
how many people are waiting behind me, they accept it, because when it’s
their turn, they’ll do it too.
need to do that at Panifica
because all the breads are bien
cuit (well-cooked) and the owner and head baker, François Brault,
told me he doesn’t do any breads that are pas trop cuit (not well-cooked), because
he doesn’t like them, and that was a sign of bad bread. I have to
agree. And so do plenty of others, you’ll notice, when you walk into his
bakery and see the line of people waiting to buy his marvelous breads.
Most seem to live in the area, but this is one of the bakeries in Paris
that’s worth crossing town for if you don’t.