Du Pain et des Idées

croissants

I am so glad I’m not on a low-carb diet. If I was, I’d have to move.

Seriously—if I couldn’t eat bread, I would shrive up and die. The only thing keeping me from doing that is constant hydrating myself with wine. Luckily, that’s another one of the other things around here that I don’t need to avoid.

Yet.

When I told Romain’s mom that we didn’t have bakeries in the US like they have in France, she couldn’t believe it.

Ooohh?…” she wondered aloud, “So where does everyone get their bread every day?”

I told her that there were some dynamite bakeries in the US (although I didn’t use the word “dynamite”, as I think that would’ve confused her equating bread-making with an explosive substance), but they aren’t nearly as prevalent as they are in France. I was afraid to see her reaction if I told her there were people over there that didn’t eat bread.

Mon dieu!

But still, even though there are plenty of bakeries in Paris, after a while, “bakery fatigue” begins wearing you down and you start getting picky. And that’s when I head over to Du Pain et des Idées.

The famous Chausson à la pomme fraîche is resplendid, a golden cage of puff pastry enclosing a half of a baked apple. Pinwheels of pastry filled with pistachio or praline are nearby, and there’s always a seasonal thin-crusted tart, too, which might include fresh baked figs or peaches, depending on the season.

pain

Yes, there’s sturdy, but tender-when-broken, croissants cooling on racks, and rows of pain au chocolat lined up in a generous basket. Behind the counter is a bread stand, lined with stubby loaves of Pain Pagnol and rectangles of Pain Tartine, a porous loaf with a focaccia-like crust, intended for sandwich-making.

Next to the register is a glass barrier, protecting their little snacking breads from eager hands (no doubt), called mini-pavés, filled with delicious combos like honey-feta and chèvre-spinach, plus a few that fall on the sweet side, which include—of course, chocolate. (Although I wish they’d add another sprinkle of salt in the dough.)

grainy bread

But I bike here for boulanger Christophe Vasseur’s organic Boule aux graines et céréales, packed full of seeds and crunchies. At 4€ for a quarter, hacked from a giant loaf, the price may seem eye-popping, but it’s hearty and sizable enough to last me a couple of days and I never regret my decision when it’s time to fork over the dough.

One of my absolute favorite bakeries in Paris, at De Pain et des Idées, the service is undeniable cheerful, and the décor is a delight, rustic and charming, filled with antiques from boulangeries from days of yore, but without being “cute”.

You’ll love it, and the bread is truly great, no matter how far you have to come to get it.

Du Pain et des Idées
34, rue Yves Toudic (10th)
Tél: 01 42 40 44 52
(Map)



Related Links:

Paris Dining Guides

Vandermeersch: King of the Kouglof

Squirrel Bread

Du Pain et des Idées (Croque Camille)

140

The Grainy Breads of Paris

Le Quignon

La Boulangerie par Veronique Mauclerc

The Pâtisseries of Paris

43 comments

  • Hi David,

    Thanks to posts like this and all your other posts on eating and food around Paris I am fairly confident on having a great trip there. Coming such a long way (Australia), for a short time means having to squeeze the most out of every minute. Thanks for making that a bit easier to do :)

    Matt

  • Matt: If you’re looking for a place to eat nearby, I recommend Chez Prune on the canal, which has become trendy, but the food is fine and the people-watching and atmosphere are great.

    And another favorite nearby is Le Verre Volé, a great wine bar.

  • Forgive my ignorance, but how would you ask for a quarter of a loaf of bread in French? I always got funny looks asking for a quarter kg of cheese, then realized I should be asking in grams. Is it ok to just ask for “un quart?” This boulangerie reminds me that there are a world of discoveries I have yet to uncover in this great city. Thanks, as always for sharing.

  • Isn’t that the bakery with the best brioche in Paris? I remember going there last year to try their brioche, which was incredible, but I didnt get around to trying the bread.

  • During a recent trip to Paris, I was enthralled with all of the bakeries and partook to my heart’s content. I noticed, however, that there were no baking facilities at many of them. They seemed to be storefronts only.

    Are many of the bakeries franchises — such as Dunkin Donuts –that are supplied by a central bakery? I don’t mean this as a criticism at all. Whatever I ate was superb.

    My question is one of curiosity only. I can’t wait to go back to Paris and eat more.

    Sue

  • Last trip, we bought our bread at a corner bakery we suspected was storefront only. As we were waiting for Paris Shuttle to take us to the airport for our trip home, we noticed flour being delivered there. Perhaps Parisians need very little space to make good bread?

    I’m salivating. Two weeks from tomorrow I will be buying bread on Rue St. Antoine…

  • Sarah: Yes, un quart (pronounced like “car”) is how you’d ask for a quarter, or if they’re already cut, un morceau, which is like asking for a piece.

    Sue: If a bakery has a sign “artisanal bakery” (often a blue and white baker-logo is used) that means they’re supposed to bake the bread on the premises. Since storefront space is tight in Paris (as Mimi pointed out), often the baking is done downstairs or out of sight. But yes, there are franchises as well. Some use pre-mixed sacks of flour, yeast, and salt.

    A good rule is that if someone’s name is on the bakery storefront, somewhere, usually that’s a sign the bread is made there.

    Johnanna: I’ve never had their brioche, but they infuse it would a bit of orange flower water, which is a lovely touch, I’m sure!

  • I too am salivating. I’ve only been living in Paris for a couple of months and I can no longer imagine a day without bread at each meal. I am completely hooked on the baguette monge and the tourte from Kayser, but those crunchy seeds sound great. I think I’ll hop on a velib and head over right now!

  • David — Du Pain et des Idées got rave reviews in the new Paris issue of Gourmet as well! Along with lovely photos.

    My dad just lives for his visits to Paris to get good bread (a good, if mean, way to torture him is to call him while I’m walking home with a warm loaf from the bakery, tearing off the crusty end to stuff it in my face!). He always takes home a baguette with him — but has learned NOT to put it in a plastic bag. He now wraps it up in paper towels and finds that that way he has a real Parisian treat on his first morning back in Oklahoma.

    Although I wish he (and my mom) were here to enjoy the bread more often! Miss them . . .

  • I would be so upset if i was told I couldn’t eat bread. It’s an absolute must on my favorite things to eat. I have been contemplating a quick sojourn in Paris (i need to pick a spot to go on vacation) by myself, this bakery looks like a great place to make a stop! :)

  • That was an amazing piece.
    As a person who drools more over the artisan breads than pastries, I wish I could sample some of those incredible breads.

    Are there any bakeries in the U.S. that even come close to making breads like those?

  • It would be interesting to see if there were bakeries “like those” in the U.S. before the industrial revolution. I believe it was the advent of industrialization as well as the merging of local bakeries into gargantuan conglomerates (e.g., National Biscuit Company – Nabisco) that led to the creation of Wonderbread and all the other trash that was fed down our throats for decades.

  • This post makes me want to cry. The past few days, with a chilly nip in the air, I’m transported, whenever I grind my coffee beans, to the Left Bank in Paris (dream on Eileen). The smell conjures up memories of walking by the cafes, hearing the grinders and the steaming of milk. Here at home, I have to get in my car and drive miles, yes miles (!) to find a decent bakery! And then miles in another direction, to find a decent coffee :(

  • http://www.siteparc.fr/bonneau/Webcam.htm

    I found this site a long while back and enjoy visiting daily to watch this guy bake the breads! One day I hope to visit this bakery. Thought maybe others might like a peek at this. My nine year old daughter and I check out the Eiffel each day too. I plan to take her for 8th grade graduation gift if she does well in school! She is highly motivated to go to Paris! :-)

  • David,

    I am with you on the bread front. But, I had to giggle when the post came up and all the “Ads by Google” were about “pain” management, “stop back pain now” etc.

  • Ok, now I am cracking up! I must be the most clueless person on the planet because I have never noticed the google ads before….went back to see what Mark was talking about. :-)

  • Can you send a memo to the Carb-conscious people here in California that bread will NOT kill you?! I’m aching for some lovely fresh bread, bread that is without the damned corn syrup and enriched flour. The closest bakery fix I can get is in my own home, which is great since I love to bake my own stuff, but sometimes a girl just wants a baguette and cheese on the run!

  • Bread is wonderful. And the best kind are the multigrains from an artisan baker, fresh from the oven. It’s just killing me to think about it. Give me a glass of wine. This too shall pass.

  • You are so lucky to have all those wonderful bakeries so close. The variety of breads and pastries is astounding. I wish we had more here. The SF Bayarea has some really good unique breads (partially because of where we are) and the bakers do wonderful things, but we lack the variety pastries available in bakeries there.

    Hey..and don’t knock wonderbread to me..I can’t even imagine my first garden tomato sandwich (tomato, pepper and mayo) or first Thanksgiving turkey sandwich (turkey, salt and mayo) being on anything else. Oh, the things we’ll put in our mouth to bring bake the joys of our youth! HA!

  • Mmmm… I had a lunch that consisted of a mini pavé and a chocolate-pistachio snail just the other day! Every time I go there I try something new, and I have yet to find anything sub-par. :)

    Merci beaucoup pour la mention!

  • Re: where is the bread baked? I remembered reading an article several years ago on the Poilane bakeries. Lionel Poilane and his wife designed a central manufacturing bakery facility in Bievre, complete with wood-fired ovens to be able to produce enough bread to supply his bakery stores.

    I so miss ready access to good crusty bread. Since the closest good bakery is over 60 miles away, we’ve taken to make our own. Some of which is quite good. But in summer, here in Virginia, who wants to heat up the kitchen? so in summer, I am often deprived of good bread, and have to settle for decent (but not great) bread, “artisanal” and mass produced (is that an oxymoron or what? but that’s what La Brea is) and sold through the supermarket (the closet of which is 25 miles away) or my country store

  • but I really really really miss the croissants. Puff pastry is definitively not my forte!

  • how true this all is! upon your recommendation of “du pain,” i made sure it was a stop on my list this past venture to paris. oh, how i miss those pinwheels and croissants. i didn’t opt for the boule aux graines (though now i wish i had), but even just the plain baguette was fantastic. service was fantastic too, especially since the woman there easily forgave me for not having brushed up on my french bakery vocabulary!

  • If you are lucky, and find a good jewish bakery that still uses “clear” flour along with rye, you can get a quarter or an eighth of a loaf, sliced thick, of sour corn rye bread. Divine. But those heavy silky loaves are getting harder and harder to find.

    A moment of silence for all the good bakeries that bake on.

  • It really is heartbreaking to see this post. Me and the girlfriend just were just in Paris for a month and really got used to the bread. Before that I was in Chile where bread is just as important. Yesterday we looked far and wide to find a decent baguette(On long island, NY) but had to settle for a Panera ( a sandwich chain for those who don’t know) baguette. Chewy and dense these loaves had nothing on the great crusty and airy bread we had in paris. The closest serious baguette is 45 minutes away. It’s not fair!

  • Please, don’t! We live down in the middle of nowhere in southeastern Missouri – there’s absolutely no way to get good bread unless I bake it myself. And who wants to heat up the house for that?

    I’m envious – just hope you realize your good fortune.

  • Tell me about it. A good bakery is almost impossible to find in southern California. We are really lucky however, we have an out-of-this-world French bakery (owned by a French woman) about 3 miles away – C’est Si Bon. We don’t eat bread every day though. Just on occasion. We love it, but just don’t always buy it. No special reason, I just wasn’t raised having bread with dinner every night, so I don’t usually have it.

  • I think that eating fresh bread daily just isn’t part of American culture as it is to the French. Hence the lack of bakeries on every corner. Plus every 18 months there’s a new diet (and a slew of books) that comes along demonizing something, and can ruin (or build) a business. I seem to remember “low carb” bakeries opening…then closing a year later.

    In most major cities, I’d imagine, there are good-to-excellent bakeries, but they might require a drive across town, which isn’t very practical for most people. And I, myself, don’t bake bread (admittedly, with 3 great bakeries within 2 blocks, I don’t really need to!) so can relate to people out there that don’t want to bake their own.

    Some people liked the No-Knead bread recipe that was going around, although in my opinion, 5 minutes of kneading yields a much better-tasting bread. And if you’ve never made it, pita bread is really easy, and fun to make, especially if you have kids.

  • Aren’t I fortunate to live where the daily bread is salt free and disgusting? if I had bread like you show I’d look worse than I do.

    I grew up with bread on the table, but unless it was biscuits or homemade wholewheat rolls I didn’t like it. It was neither encouraged nor discouraged, just there in its fluffy white glory.

  • Good call! I love that beautiful place. The aptly-named ‘pain des amis’ is a great loaf to pick up on the way to a dinner party. I don’t know what makes it so special – a hint of vanilla…or is it crack?

  • I wish Poilane bread would be available at kiosks at CDG like sourdough bread is at the San Francisco airport. (Maybe it is and I’ve never seen it) What a great thing to be able to bring home!

  • Hi Mimi: Yes, that’s a good idea! The one problem vendors face with airport concessions, though, is making sure the stock is rotated and fresh. I know several chocolatiers (and some customers) that have had bad experiences selling that way, which is why the top places don’t do it.

    Poilâne does ship internationally, although I’m not sure shipping bread 5000 miles helps reduce one’s carbon footprint very much
    : 0

  • I think it’s a hundred times more appalling than breadless diets is the fact that people accept “bread” in North America that comes preserved in plastic sleeves, and was baked about a year ago, and includes additives like DHA to “make you smart” and prebiotic fibre to “make you go”. ugh…the supermarket “bakery” aisles should be blasted to kingdom come. The bread in your photos looks like something I saw one time…in a dream! Jealous!

  • David,

    I fully agree with you–I would suffice to exist without bread. Luckily, I live in San Francisco–a land of bakeries! In my neighborhood alone, we have a cooperative bakery, several Asian bakeries, a pie shop and a dessert bakery. I haven’t been to Paris in several years, but the baguettes and fresh croissants are really not the same there as they are here. Thanks for dishing some love to a food group that gets a lot of hate. I’m happy to cut down on my sugar every once in a while, but please, don’t take away my bread!

    Kasey

  • I have actually considered ordering Poilane online. With only two full days in Paris this trip, I will have to find that place near the Bastille that carries it. We may not make it over to Rue de Cherche Midi.

    Mimi: I think almost every Monoprix carries pain Poilâne, which is baked just outside of Paris, and would be easy to bring home. Bon voyage! -dl

  • Lucky you as it is a sad state that we do not have bakeries here in the South. Our culture has missed out on one of the great joys in life.

  • David, you’re killing me with this post! Here I am stuck in my apartment in Brooklyn, with hurricane Hannah pouring down sheets outside my window, with some stale roti in the fridge, and I have to read about crusty, buttery croissants and thin-crusted peach tarts? My head is spinning! When you describe these delights I can almost smell them!

    Thank you for your lovely blog! :)

  • Hi David!
    Do you have to torture me?? This looks like a great place, lovely bread photos & the antiques must be fun to look at.
    Maybe I will have to try Facebook since you have links there…seems to be “the thing” these days but I keep resisting it!
    Hello from Seattle! :)

  • Oh great – five minutes after lunch and I’m drooling again!! This looks like a wonderful place to visit on a daily basis – lucky you to be in a city filled with artisanal bakeries!

  • thank you, David for posting about my favourite bakery in Paris. we were there in the Spring for a month and i searched high and low but kept coming back to Du Pain… (we were lucky enough to be staying just across pl. Republique, so it was only a 10 min walk). the tartes aux pommes et beurre demi-sale (carmelised appleslices and semi-salted butter on puff pastry) were so good, i was convinced that they put that picnic table outside for people who go weak in the knees after trying a bite… everything there was amazing.

  • *drool*

    I love bread. Sadly I am one of those who must eat low carb due to a health issue–but whenever I manage to be in Geneva I submit and eat lots and lots of bread.

  • I wish we had more bakeries in like this in the USA. Morning coffee goes so well with fresh bread. I can’t tell you enough how much I love a good croissant. It’s impossible to find where I live. NYC and Cali have some good finds though

  • You make me want to go to Paris asap! This place is high on my list of must-go when i have a chance to visit Paris again. I would live on bread and croissant ( and cheese and brioche :-) ) if i could. Here in Los Angeles there is less than a hand full of places that could make good croissant and baguette somewhat close to the those in Paris and i have to drive more than 30 minutes to get them, my favorite croissant place was recently closed :-(