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.
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.
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.
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.)
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 (Croque Camille)