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Le Pain

[Update: Bazin bakery has closed. In its place is Boulangerie Bo, which features different items, but is also very much worth visiting.]

This probably isn’t the kind of bread that visitors come to Paris to experience, and while I like baguettes, I really, really crave breads loaded with grains. So when I was recently in Bazin to pick up my usual Bazinette aux Graines (seeded baguette), I noted a rack of these loaves lined up in the corner.

As usual, I was waited on by my favorite saleswomen. And I have to admit that her and I have a certifiable crush on each other and we always find more things to talk about than bread. When it’s my turn, we make googly-eyes at each other and engage in small talk like teenagers in love, oblivious to the long line of customers growing behind me.

During our most recent bout of hot ‘n heavy flirting, I asked if the bread, called le Viking, really had a lot of grains inside. Some of the grainy-topped breads are disappointingly scarce on les graines once you get them home and slice into them. And like relationships, one doesn’t want to feel burned once you make a commitment, then find out what’s under the surface is less-appealing than what you originally bargained for.

She replied, “C’est pas mal.”

Which might not sound like much, but around here, people aren’t always likely to appear to be too overly-enthusiastic about things, and will use the term “It’s not bad” when in actuality, it’s pretty darned good.

(Tip: If they say, “J’adore ça!” you can be sure that it’s going to be absolutely awesome.)


And true to her word (or should that be, contrary to her word?) once home and hacked open, the loaf was packed full of sunflower seeds, oats, and other healthy goodies.

But even if you’re not as wild about grainy breads as I am, their classic baguette is so outstanding that it took top billing in a recent tasting by Le Figaro newspaper.

galette de rois

In between the racks loaded with freshly-baked breads and shelves of pastries, you’ll find a touch of America amongst the goodies: Brownies aux confiture de lait. Monsieur Bazin asked for my Dulce de Leche Brownie recipe, making some modifications and variations for the local palate, but there they are—my claim to fame!

Aside from great bread (and pretty decent brownies), Bazin is also one of the most beautiful bakeries in Paris.

Not that you need another reason to go there. But still, looking good never hurts either.


85, bis rue de Charenton (12th)
Tél: 01 43 07 75 21
(Closed Wednesday and Thursday)

Other favorite breads and bakeries in Paris:

A previous visit to Bazin.

My list of recommended grainy breads in Paris.

Squirrel bread and Financiers from Eric Kayser

The best croissant in Paris.

Moisan’s Ficelle Apéritif

Boulangerie 140

Ble Sucré

Le Quartier du Pain

Two great guides to Paris pastry shops and bakeries:

The Pâtisseries of Paris





    • Barbra

    What are those beautiful discs of puff pastry? Pithiviers? Gorgeous!

    • David

    Steve: There’s a photo of the inside, linked in the post. But I didn’t think the photo I took did the loaf justice, so I popped it on my Flickr page.

    Barbra: Those are galette de rois, the traditional Epiphany Cake, which are sold all over France during the month of January. (Although theoretically, they’re meant to be eaten during the first week, but since it gives the bakeries something special to offer, the period seems to get extended every year.)

    You can see some of the variations of galette de rois here. (Link via Paris Breakfasts.)

    If anyone’s looking for a recipe, there’s a galette de rois recipe from Fanny at Food Beam, or the other version, the brioche de rois, from Helen at Tartlette.

    • Steve

    Does each loaf come in a wooden basket? Photos of that grain-filled interior to follow, no doubt. Unless it’s been eaten….

    • Therese

    GALETTE DE ROIS!! I miss them so much, along with our terrible versionf rom back home, King Cake (and Queen Cake).

    This post makes me so nostalgic in a stomach-aching way. After leaving Louisiana, I worked in a French-style Japanese bakery and pastry shop before switching careers entirely. Now in Hong Kong, we severely lack good bread, save from one or two bakeries (without much variety and certainly none of the seasonal offerings). : (

    • Susan

    What is it with winter and whole grains? I just copied your recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies last night..I’ve just had a yen for whole grain anything lately! :)

    What a lovely shop, too.

    • Laura

    As great as the food is in New York, having grown up in the Bay Area where the bread is so outstanding, I can’t help but feel sometimes that New York is a bit bread-challenged. So I get very jealous when I see posts like this.

    But I will say that one bright spot in the bread landscape here is Eli Zabar’s health loaf, which I must say, looks stunningly similar to your favorite grainy loaf! So I do not feel soooo depressed. Although Bazin is certainly a much better looking store than Zabar’s!

    • Chiot’s Run

    I’m a huge fan on seeded whole grain breads as well. That loaf looks fantastic!

    • Amy

    I just made some galettes des rois yesterday for the French hubby and kids…they adore them and miss them so much! My almond paste was very runny but oh so tasty!!! Thanks for the bread photos…that looks yummy!

    • Anne @ Pink Galoshes

    Oh, that bread looks beyond fantastic!

    • David

    Laura: Try the health bagels at Murray’s Bagels in NYC. I’m normally not a fan of whole grain bagels, but there’s are loaded with good stuff. I think you’ll like them.

    There is good bread in the US, but in general, the prices here are much lower. This loaf costs €2, and one of those bagels (I think) costs $1.25 or $1.50. Both are worth it, though!

    • kellypea

    Gorgeous bread — nothing like too many nuts. But on the brownies…the dulce de leche in a can on the stove isn’t so much scary as it is something that never quite works. No luscious deep golden brown caramel — more like semi-syrupy latte looking canned milk. You’re not missing anything…

    • flavia

    I too have an almost disturbing craving for whole grain breads the past 2 weeks. (All the snow on the ground?)
    I have found the be-all-and-end-all of whole grain crackers. Most crackers disappoint with their pallid and flaccid mien. Dr Kracker’s Seedlander flatbread are covered with many seeds, and are so crisp, you’ll think you’re going to break a tooth. I found them at Whole Foods. Great with soup

    • NIna

    That’s a long way from le Marais. Must be really good bread. It’s now on my list for this year’s visit

    • Elra

    Ahhh….if I only live in the neighborhood David!

    • kayenne

    I love grain breads! Those look heavenly lightly toasted and spread with butter and raspberry jam! Are they giving out the recipe? =D

    • Murasaki Shikibu

    mmmm….’le viking’ LOL

    Did the vikings bake a lot of grain into their bread?

    • David

    Murasaki: I don’t know. I’m not that old!
    ; )

    • siri

    I’m sure the Vikings must have used a lot of grains in their bread, because there ancestors sure do. The Norwegians are pretty pathetic at making a loaf of French bread, but they are the masters of making coarse, grainy bread like this. Le Viking looks sooo good!

    • mrs lavendula

    thats a beautiful loaf!

    • Laura

    Thanks for the recommendation David! You are quite right about the prices…these $7 loaves I keep coming across are just starting to annoy me now.

    • Anne T

    If you are ever in Vancouver, BC, you must try walnut bread from Terra Breads. You would love it.

    • parisbreakfast

    I LOVE grainy bread!! and I visited that boulangerie…next time Le Viking!!!

    • Therese Priest

    David, Gaston Lenotre died….He was an exceptionel pastry chef…No mention at all of his death , no tribute in the so -called French blogs.a shame!
    It might take someone like yourself, an American pastry chef to give him an hommage.
    I count on you.

    • Rita

    Oh, I really love multi grain breads, the one on the first photo looks soooo good, I specially like the very dark colour of it. I bet it has a nice roboust flavour, great with some good salted butter. Yum!

    • Charles Curran

    Hi David. Man does not live for bread alone. How about a picture of your love interest. Cordially Charles

    • Eileen

    I bet that bread is really, really good spread with French fleur de sel butter.

    • diana strinati baur

    David. I love your grainy bread topic. It is a personal crusade for me. I moved from Germany to Italy five years ago and having been spoiled by the most grainy bread in the Universe in the Vaterland I have been nothing but disappointed at what is known in Italy as Pane Integrale (seriously, if there is 5% whole wheat flour, they call it that). So now I just make my own. I believe man can live for bread alone — if it’s the right dang bread. I will pass the word of your flirtatious grainy find to my friends in Paris.

    I wonder what the bread is like in the Alsace. I bet it’s grainy AND sexy.

    • David

    Charles: She’s in the background, but to protect her identity (and our secret) I kept her blurry.

    diana: With all respect to the Italians, they aren’t really known for their whole-grain breads. I think you need to get your whole grains in the form of coffee. Now that’s something they really excel at, and I’d be happy to arrange a trade!

    • krysalia

    The difference between pithiviers and la galette des rois only stands in the little ceramic statue hidden in the cream (how do you say la fève, in english ?)

    The picture I’m craving about is the one of the inside of this bread :) .

    Did the loaf suddenly dissappear so you weren’t able to take any picture ? I know those bread can be surprizingly volatile :D

    Kellypea> the dulce de leche in a can always works if you do it properly :) : on a stove, the heat isn’t sufficient, and the can isn’t heaten all around so yes, like this, it probably won’t work. there’s two easy ways to make dulce de leche : to place the can one our and a half in a pressure cooker, the one that whistles, with little water. the can must be placed above the water in the cooking basket.

    the other way is to tear off the paper around the can, then to put the uncovered can in the oven while cooking something else, for example some chicken or a pie. when it has taken 2 to 3 cumulated hours of oven, it’s done :) .

    after cooking and with both methods, take the can with cooking gloves and roll it, turn it, homogenising the inside.

    of course the time depends of the size of the can, and you may need to try one or two times to adjust the time. But when you’re used to one brand and one time, you can be so confident in the process that you can offer the can even without opening it (with a brand new home made leaflet and tied with a nice ribbon :D), it will be perfect any time.

    • Babeth

    Therese: Some French food blogs mentioned that the greatest ever pastry chef just went cooking for the angels.

    Some free publicity (David is ok with that, he’s so sweet :-) ), Therese you could read it on my food blogs (not to mention that I’m 100% pure Frenchy) in English at La Vie in English and in French at La Cuisine Babeth.

    And also, in French, here’s a few who mentioned it: Thierry from Thymcitron and Stephane from Cuisine En Ligne.

    • frances

    What a work of art! such a shame to have to break it open. Still, it’s something to aspire to when I’m trying to improve my bread making efforts. I shall have to study it hard and work out how many different kinds of seeds there are. Thank you for your wonderful site. I made your armagnac, prune & choc macarons and peanut sablees at Christmas and they were devoured instantly.

    • Jennifer

    I’ll definitely hit this place my next time in town. Thanks for the hot tips! (The map link in this post is completely off, FYI).

    Hi Jennifer: Hmm, I tried re-doing it with Google maps and although it mapped it properly, it kept giving me a link to another address, so I omitted it. Folks can map it via Google maps, or use another mapping site, for directions. Thanks for bringing that to my attention..-dl

    • haya

    holy crap that first loaf looks fantastic! i am inspired to start working on my own super grainy breads.

    • alice

    ahh i wish i’d discovered this blog before we spend last christmas in paris. we stayed literally down the road from this bakery.

    such a long way from australia for some bread but we loved paris so much i’m sure we’ll be back soon.

    • Mimi

    We saw grainier bread on the Right Bank than on the Left. What’s up with that? No matter, next time we are again staying in this general area and will check this out.

    • Rebecca

    Hi, speaking of baking … I was wondering if you might happen to know the difference between baking SODA and baking POWDER in French? I am making cookies (a David Lebovitz recipe bien sûr!) but was wondering where I can find baking powder here in Paris? i.e. what is the French word for “baking powder”? Merci beaucoup!
    Cookie-less in Paris

    Hi Rebecca: Check out my post American Baking in Paris, which will give you guidance. Happy baking! -dl

    • Vicky Hampton

    I love a bit of flirting in my food blogging! Keep up the good work…

    • Connie

    David to you have a great recipe for a grainy bread you could share . I have been experimenting with a poppy seed ,sunflower, whole grain but it isn’t quite there. Thank you
    Hope you have a wonderful 09

    • Susan

    The Bazinette aux graines is my fave whenever I’m staying in the neighborhood, like right now. So it’s YOUR fault the line moves so slowly! But there are plenty of things to notice, like the poster for Harry Potter feves, all those yummy-looking tartes (love the Savoyarde) and snack breads, and the mini Viennoiseries–croissants without guilt. The brownies always look a little dry to me but now I’ll have to try the ones based on your recipe!

    • David

    Susan: Enjoy your Bazinette! As mentioned, they modified the brownies to “local tastes” and the French don’t seem to make brownies with the same full-on blast of chocolate that Americans like. Still, it’s fun to see a version of my brownies in the showcase.

    • Ashley

    This is one of my favorite boulangeries in Paris. I used to live a short distance away in the 12th and would stop there whenever i was heading to the Aligre market (can’t ever remember the proper name, so i just call it the magreb market.) they do make the most fantastic breads and pastries. i’m living in Dublin now and don’t get back over as much as i’d like. reading your article and seeing the pic sure make me miss it.


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