Fermeture Définitive

This always happens. You go away, then come back, and something hits you like a ton of bricks. This morning, after being away for a little more than a week, Romain looked at me, and said, “Daveed…je veux te dire quelque chose…” And before he could finish la phrase, I knew exactly what he was going to say, and I finished the sentence for him.

He was stunned that I knew what he was about to say, before he even told me. But I could tell by the look on his face exactly what was wrong: the boulangerie that makes My Crack Baguette is closing for good—Fermeture Définitive.

baguettes

I’ve been trying to organize a manifestation (demonstration) to keep the doors, and ovens, open. But I’m not having much success. Which is kind of odd in a country of people that seem all-too happy to go en grêve, but I forgot that the all-important summer vacation season is beginning, which takes precedence over everything else.

So far I’ve enlisted me, Romain, and his neighbor, the one who buys three at a time.


Well, actually, Romain is away and I don’t think his neighbor wants to stand in front of a bakery all day with someone he barely knows carrying a sign. So I’m forced to finally make their address public, 166, rue Faubourg-Poissonière (and a map & photo…and you’re welcome, btw…) in hopes the incredible surge in business will convince them to stick around.

If you go and get a baguette sésame, do plead with them to stay open. (Although don’t forget that they only make…like, seven sesame baguettes per day, and the place is decidely un peu triste.)

As for me, I’ve clearing out my freezer, making some space in anticipation of doing a little American-style stockpiling. Unless you get there before I do, now that I’ve told you where it is. But please, leave (at least) one for me, to return the favor.



Update: The bakery is now under new ownership, although they’re not making the sesame baguettes.

61 comments

  • Poor Daveeed! I so much understand. But you have to be fair; there is more than one good boulangerie in Paris…

  • How awful! If only you had shared your secret with us earlier….
    ;)

  • Uh oh….. if the closing is indeed a done deal it’s time to sample every boulangerie in Paris to find a new crack baguette. No time to mourn David. There is bread waiting for you to discover it’s magnificence. Have faith, it has to be there somewhere. Yes you’ll have to endure some clunkers, but it will all be worth it in the end when you find a new sesame baguette to ease you back into addicted bliss.

    Bonne chance on your bread endeavors. And let us know how you’re doing during this difficult time.

  • Shitfire! That’s just too sad…and now you even have to tell us where you get the Crack Baguette in hopes that we’ll storm it like the Bastille. Do they ship to the States? If so, I’ll do my part…gotta take one for the team.

  • Oh, no! There’s nothing worse than loosing a fixed spot where you just KNOW the bread will be fresh and good. On the other hand, it forces you to go out of your usual way and discover something new and fresh – and maybe even better? At least you’re in Paris, it’s not like you’re stuck somewhere in the US and there’s just no other option, right?

    And now I’ll hurry off to support my local bakery – just in case they catch the rabbies from your place – Paris might be at the other side of the country, but news travel fast sometimes..

  • Oh no! I know how you feel, David – my favourite French patisserie, Pan Cake (in Madrid) is also closing its doors in a couple of weeks – the latest victim of “la crisis” it seems. Given how ordinary most of the bread in Madrid is, this is very sad news indeed …

  • This is really sad :/…

    What is the reason of the closing ? Are they going into retirement or ar they moving in another town ?
    Maybe le boulanger is willing to give his secrets to a true baguette lover, especially if he is not making bread somewhere else anymore…

  • Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. I am personally addicted to the sesame loaf from Amy’s Bread. If they stopped making it . . . .

  • I am terribly sad to hear this for your sake. I sympathize. (However, I can’t say I’m too upset about you finally revealing the location three days before I come to Paris. What luck for me!)

  • When I looked at the google map, I thought the area looked a bit familiar, so I clicked around a bit, and sure enough I ended up on Rue Mayran without even trying. Map

    That’s the Hotel Williams Opera where I stayed on my first two trips to Paris. Not the most glam hotel, but it served us well as an operating base.

  • Perfect post, mon grand. Fresh, witty, and wicked.

  • Oh David – I feel for you. When I lived in Paris, I had a similar situation with a boulangerie on the rue Montorgueil, fortunately on that street there is l’embarras du choix and I migrated to another which, 10 years later is still there to serve me when I make my yearly pilgrimage! Bonne chance in the quest for the replacement!

  • Oh, crack baguette, we hardly knew ye. Did they give you a closing date?

  • Chaz: I see a lot of tourists at that hotel, and always wonder if they have any idea how truly close they are to baguette bliss

    Barbra: I think it’s the beginning of July.

    Are you suggesting some kind of candlelight vigil?

  • Ya know, you go and build an entire lifestyle around something … and then your world comes unhinged. Your ability to function is compromised. Your view of the world is now in question; everything is a little bleaker, maybe a little little less stable. The deep, profound resentment at life’s fickleness colors everything.

    And to those of you that say there is “another” loaf out there…nay, I say. Is crack the same as anything else? I think not. Oh sure, he can dabble with a heroin baguette, even mainline some sourdough. But it isn’t crack (baguette), now, is it? How can you people say “buck up camper, there is always, like, cough syrup.”

    Your world – and your view of it – will never be quite the same again. Your cynicism is hard-won; the sun shines a little less brightly now in Paris for him. Your universe is no longer right-side-up. Ahh, so sad when an innocent has his favorite baguette snatched away by the cruel hand of fate (and the damn bakers that won’t. make. the damn. baguette.) and learns how fragile all our worlds really are.

    Been there.

    Eat out your freezer and then stock-pile like this for best preservation:
    Wrap – TIGHTLY – in plastic wrap. Do it again. Three layers if you’re obsessed. AND THEN, wrap in tin foil (doing a neat, folding thing – NOT just scrunching to close). You must do both and as tightly as possible. If a layer rips (try for the heavy aluminum foil), it doesn’t count. We’ve un-earthed things from three years prior (I know, I know….) that were absolutely untouched by freezer burn. It works. Lots of upfront work, but a labor of love when you are still eating your beloved food two years from now. (And a situation like this prompted us to get a small – very small – extra freezer.)

    And I’m sure I don’t need to say that bread revives by popping it into a hot oven for a smidge to bring the crust back.

  • ack! i will be in paris starting july 2nd, and will promptly stop by. will they still be open!

  • Mon dieu! Say it’s not so. Don’t these establishment consider those of us that are drawn to the smell of fresh baked bread like moths to a flame, get us hooked like addicts, then only to close? It’s a travesty. I have visions of people or persons (ok, YOU!) standing outside, sandwich board in place, some scheckles in hand with a wanting look in your eyes.I have been known to select the perfect loaf and while waiting to pay, unceremoniously rip of chucks of the crust warm bread, stuffing them in to my mouth only to present a half eaten loaf to the cashier. Sad, yes – but when the urge calls one must eat. And here’s a little something for you to do with that remaining stick – if one can hold out that long:

    1-2 good, sun rippened hearty tomatoes
    a few slices of sweet onion, Vidallia if it’s available
    good feta cheese
    basil leaves
    tarragon vinegar
    olive oil
    fleur de sel
    fresh cracked black pepper

    Cut medium sized tomatoes slices and as many onion slices as you desire. Place on a shallow bowl or plate. Sprinkle with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Crumble some feta on top and rip some basil leaves to scatter about. Drizzle with tarragon vinegar and olive oil. Leave to marinate about 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, slice your bread of choice.

    Sometimes (ok, when there is company) I put out small plates, other times, I eat directly from the serving plate. Use the bread to squish around in the oil marinade. There is no reason to be shy here. This is truly the taste of summer in your mouth.

    Enjoy!

  • I feel for you David! It took me nearly 4 years to get over my favorite cafe closing. And I live in Portland–it wasn’t as if there was no other good (often even better!) coffee to be had. Nothing to do about it but allow yourself a healthy mourning period, eat as much of the baguette as possible, and feel very, very sorry for yourself.

    I think I’ll go buy a favorite pastry today for myself, in solidarity, and to help prop of the local economy. Probably a gibassier from Pearl Bakery…

  • Oh snap this is SO close to where I’m staying for fashion week in Paris next week! Rest assured I’ll savour the sesame baguette and shed a single tear for its passing.

    Now if I could only get a reservation at Hidden Kitchen my trip would be culinary heaven…

  • July x 3: They do get last-minute cancellations at Hidden Kitchen, so let them know your contact information and you might be able to get you in.

    As for the baguettes, though, I can’t help you out…

  • Ahh, David, mes sympathies.
    I am reminded of W.H. Auden’s wonderful poem,
    “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone”!
    http://homepages.wmich.edu/~cooneys/poems/auden.stop.html

    Ok, it is your boulanger and I am being a bit sappy,perhaps even histrionic but there are those of us who would understand.

  • David, when you use French in your Blog, could you also include an English translation (perhaps in parentheses)? I hate feeling left out.

  • This is very sad news indeed. I had always held out hope that I one day I would get to try that amazing-looking baguette. Good luck with your stockpiling

  • I completely feel for you. I’m not in Paris right now but keep up posted about this citizens’ action for it might still be ongoing when I return. Thank you immensely for sharing the info about the boulangerie. Bon courage!

  • Clicking on that picture made me want to cry…. I was right back in the streets of France. I wish I could have just jumped right in.

  • Having just penned this…

    http://openpantry.blogspot.com/2009/06/practically-criminal.html

    …I must say [imagine my index finger and thumb rubbing together]…this is the world’s tiniest violin, playing “My Heart Bleeds for You”…hahaha, ok, ok, I am being a smartypants, but seriously, I have to cycle 30 minutes uphill to fetch a merely palatable loaf of bread, and even then, often it’s not so hot.

    It’s still tragic to lose your favourite bakery though–stinky news!

  • Here in Montreal, people will put together a manifestation for just about anything, and in French, bien sûr! Put a couple of us on a plane and we will take care of this matter for you, as we, too, understand the importance of baguettes.

  • Amanda: Fair enough, except when you move somewhere specifically for the bread, and the rug is pulled out from under you, then it’s only natural to freak.

    John: I do try to add some translations, but I also use supporting English text so that (I hope) people get the gist who don’t speak French. There are also online translators and dictionaries which….ahem…I’ve been known to make use of myself.

  • Am I the only one who saw the post title and thought you were closing your blog? I’m very, very sorry to hear about your bakery and would come help keep them open if I weren’t still trying to jumpstart my heart at the thought of you closing your blog forever!

  • So sad! You should read your book if you need a pick-me-up. It’s really friggin funny.

  • Too bad. I lost my linguica supplier (in business for something like 80 years) last month, so I feel your pain.

  • Je suis la avec vous– the only decent bakery in my small college town changed owners, and they quit making their chocolate lava cake. While it is nice to be able to get Florentines now, chocolate lava cakes made with organic everything and rich dark chocolate were my favorite thing to bring home and have for dinner on a bad day.

  • My husband and I were recently recalling some of the most memorable meals and restaurants in our experiences together, and realized that so many of them are history–the best Swedish pancake place, the best French pastry shop, etc.–all gone. It should be against the rules of the universe for the “best of” any food place to close and leave us with only memories.

  • So now I find out your crack baguette is available 2 minutes from my best friend’s flat in Paris! I never bought from them because, as you say, it looks un peu triste – hope they are still open the next time I vist.

  • There is one solution that all of you seem have to overlooked. You could take over the boulangerie after getting monsieur to show you how to make the cracked baguette just like his.

    I do know the feeling though. It seems every time I find something, no matter what, that I like, the only place that sells it, either stops selling it or the manufacturer stops making it.

    By the way, you guys do know that most things labeled ‘organic’, are not. Right?

  • Hey… if you zoom in really, really close on that picture, you can see baguettes… maybe even one of yours that you will so sadly miss.

    Thank God for google’s little car thingy, your boulangerie will be indelibly marked online :)

    It’s not the same, I know…

  • this is a loss that only a foodie will understand. *Pats David on the back*

  • We were on that street after the Fouquet visit, and still you didn’t clue us in! That would have tasted lovely with the Bordier butter. I think I actually miss that butter more than I miss the chocolate–is that wrong?

    Well, I will put that miniscule frustration aside to make multiple lines down my cheeks from the corners of my eyes in mourning for you.

  • Truly a sad moment. I feel for you. It’s like losing a friend!

  • To all you folks:
    I have drafted a letter to the owner of the bakery, which I hope will be mailed tomorrow, asking him if he would be kind enough to share his recipe and especially his technique with me. I am a retired chef de cuisine and a decent bread baker, so I will be able to scale the recipe to fit the home baker’s needs and I will gladly publish the results on this blog, with David’s permission naturally. So you will all be able to enjoy la baguette sesame.
    David, please give me the name of the boulanger.

  • too bad. So many good bakeries don’t make it. How many of this bakery’s admirers kept it as a top secret?

  • David, don’t scare me like that! I thought you were closing your blog. I don’t know how I would survive… but I do know there are other great, addicting bakeries in Paris.

  • I’m sure someone will want to say “this is karma “.. but we’re past all that now, dear David. I do declare, this latest post of yours has probably set the food blogging world up in arms. I hope you let the dear Mr. L’esperance (really.. he should be “l’espoir” no pun intended) know the baker’s name so he can be our saviour. Amen.

  • well, that sucks.
    maybe you can plead with the owner to give you the secret?

  • Guy Lesperance – what a champ!
    valentine – you’re funny and need your own blog
    David – my insincere condolences, since I live in a town so small that I’m the only good baker. Tant pis

  • I was in Paris in April. As a regular reader of your blog and a buyer of your books, I was quite peeved that you refused to disclose the name and location of the boulangerie.

    Greedy selfish behavior never is good and usually results is a comeuppance over time.

    nothing personal, bien sur

  • Why don’t you offer your services for a week for free so you can learn the secrets of their baguette?
    Or sometimes if you just ask, they’ll give you the recipe for their breads.
    I hope there will be another boulangerie to satisfy your crack baguette needs.

  • Urusula: It’s actually quite a distance from Fouquet. If it had been close, I definitely would’ve taken you. I’m not that, mean…am I?
    : D

    Joseph: There are hundreds of bakeries, chocolate shops, pastry-makers, and specialty stores listed on the site for readers to visit. There’s also a huge amount of recipes, too. Occasionally I may write about somewhere, or describe something, and not provide a recipe or coordinates, and do hope readers indulge my infrequent use of a little discretion.

    Guy: I don’t know the name of the boulanger, but if you click on the link I gave, it takes you to the address, and a name is listed in the sidebar: ‘Jean-Michel Lacroux’ which may be him. Good luck!

    Carolyn: Thanks! I had fun writing it, glad you liked it~

  • That always happens to me.
    They discontinue the bra I have been wearing for years, or discontinue the color of lipstick from high school.
    I guess I should change my bra and lipstick color since I am in my 40′s and high school was a long time ago.

    I have faith that you will find another fantastic baguette, but I sympathize with you.

  • David, you don’t need to apologise to Joseph! What an ingrate, tell him to kiss your ass! You take hours out of your day photographing and writing things exclusively for this blog and we get to read it all for free, FREE. You’ve already given us hundreds of recommendations which would take years to try (and believe me, I’m trying).

    In return we offer you very little, and that makes it very hard for us to complain about the relationship. If JoJo wants to find out about ever single nice bakery in the city he can buy any one of the dozens of Paris restaurant guides, spend days scouring through the message boards and forums, or just memorize the Paris phone book.

    if it wasn’t for you I would never have discovered Pozetto, my favourite ice cream on the planet. After that, every other recommendation has just been a bonus. I’m sure others here share the sentiment, so if it isn’t clear, we appreciate your recommendations and opinions, past and future.

  • Oh, David, I’m so sorry! I just might be in Paris this fall, and if they can hold on that long, I’ll throw myself into your cause and get myself a baguette (or two, or three…). I feel your pain, though not nearly as badly – my favourite bakery is closing for vacation for two weeks. Now there’s no way my dog is going to get a walk in the morning since there won’t be their delicious bread as the reward!

  • David, distance doesn’t scare me, particularly when it’s a lot closer to get there when I’m in Paris than when I’m in California. = ) I wouldn’t call you mean, just protective like a crack addict naturally is of his best source. Well, I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that you’ll wage a successful campaign and that I can sample one when we eventually return to Paris.

    Hey, maybe we can convince Rachel to take over the business? She’s in Dublin right now; it’s a short flight back to Paris.

  • I’m So Sorry! Sometimes everything that happens, happens for a reason!

    David You go open a bakery or buy the guy out! Someone you know can take over the business….

    Good Luck … Let me know if I can help with anything.

  • I’m trying to spread this message using my Facebook page since more than a few of my high school friends are from France and some of them live in Paris.

  • This is so tragic…I was in Montmartre just two weeks ago and stopped in at a lovely bakery, not this one. Had I known I definitely would have gone to yours and bought up the store! Good luck…keep us posted.

  • That’s too bad! I would be devastated, too. And I would protest with you if I lived in Paris. Surely, though, there must be another gem hidding in a well-kept nook.

  • Dare I say this is some sort of karma inflicted upon you for your failure to share this gem with us sooner? You have to admit, the timing is curious…

  • Laurie: If karma is indeed tit-for-tat, as inferred, then there should be an avalanche of it coming my way for all the places I’ve pointed readers towards in Paris; the brasseries, crêperies, pastry shops, chocolatiers, boulangeries, hotels, specialty food shops, épiceries, markets, hotels, fromageries, confectioners, bistros, and other addresses.

  • Touché. Though it would seem that you have received your share of good karma.. you are, after all, living the sweet life in Paris.

  • Et oui. When the favorite boulangerie closes, it’s bad.

    David, you were quite right about the “manifestations”. They usually close in the summer. The French love to demonstrate their discontent during work time; not so much during vacation time.
    It usually starts again in September, for what they seriously call “la rentree’ sociale”!

    Great post.

  • Sorry for your loss David. I’m very particular about and get terribly attached to certain foods and they always seem to change or become unavailable. Argh.