Ten Belles Bread

I’m always on the lookout for new bakeries and pastry shops that have opened in Paris. Although to be honest, it’s hard to keep up these days! The number of new boulangeries and pâtisseries that are focusing on everything from artisanal grains to organic flours, are spreading like wild yeast across the city.

I’d met Alice Quillet a few years back, when she, and her partners ran Le Bal Café. A few years ago she went on to open Ten Belles coffee shop with her business partners, Anna Trattles and Anselme Blayney (who co-created Belleville Brûlerie), a few blocks from the Canal Saint-Martin. (I can’t remember if it’s one block or two, because I’m always racing up the street because I need my coffee!) They were instrumental in being part of the coffee “revolution” in Paris, as a growing number of young people are opening cafés that focus on good-quality, well-made coffee. And now, bread is getting its turn.


Bread is an important staple in the French diet and even at Asian and Indian restaurants, you’ll see locals searching around for a bread basket. (I have a couple of French friends that simply cannot eat unless there is bread on the table, no matter what.) I love bread, and thankfully, Paris has over a thousand bakeries where people line up morning, noon, and late afternoon, for their daily bread. As part of the vague (wave) of younger people making their mark on the food scene, Alice is at the forefront, kneading up whole-grain loaves and using dough to create treats for a new generation of Parisians.


Alice was born in Paris and opened the bakery last year, after honing her craft at Tartine in San Francisco and Mirabelle in Copenhagen. She returned to Paris, bringing a little bit of Britain with her (where she shares dual-citizenship with), by creating savory pies, which are available at lunch and at le brunch, a meal which has become more popular (and better) in Paris over the last few years.

Because the number of people who come in at that hour have had a rough night before (young Parisians like to party!), morning pastries range from sweet to savory, but lean heavier on the latter, and change daily. I don’t go out for brunch (because my hard-partying days are over), but I would come in for one of the spinach-cheese brioche buns (above), even if I didn’t need something to soak up the previous night’s over-saturation of liquid refreshments.

I was also intrigued watching them experiment with chocolate bread, which is tough to get right. (Spoiler: They got it right.) Alice has a few helpers in her kitchen, like Mathilde (below), who all work calmly in the airy space, pulling hearty levain loaves, some riddled with seeds and grains, or spice, which change daily.


The space was particularly interesting to me as the generously sized bakery and café is on the ground floor of a building near my old post office, a nondescript street that sits in the middle of a bustling residential area. There wasn’t much there when a few buildings of new apartments were erected, and as part of the deal, residents were asked what kinds of businesses they wanted. They replied, “A restaurant, a wine shop, and a bakery,” so they located there, right between the other two businesses.

Unusual for bakeries in Paris, Ten Belles Bread is also a café where you can go for a basket of toast served with a French butter and jam, or something more hearty, like an excellent Welsh Rarebit (shown at the top of the post) and Eggs Benedict (shown below), topped with crisp strips of Brit-style streaky bacon.

Although I don’t get out of the house for brunch, I do get to do lunch every once in a while and have had a “toastie” sandwich (which was huge, I recommend just getting a half, or sharing a full-size one), along with a whole grain bulgur salad, or focaccia sandwiches filled with pickles, vegetables, or whatever they have planned for that day. The present winter weather isn’t so conducive to eating outdoors, but there’s a huge terrace behind the bakery that I’m sure is going to be packed once spring arrives, which we all hope will be soon.

I’m an especially big fan of grainy breads and while I took home a loaf of levain (and I loved the sturdy, éco-friendly paper wrapping around it!), even better was the sprouted rye bread, made with rye berries left to sprout 3 to 4 days. Needless to say, I’ve got tons of bread to go through, which I jokingly refer to as “The French Bread Crisis,” meaning I buy way too much bread, and am always looking for something to do with it. But my favorite way to enjoy it is simply as toast, with butter and honey or jam, or just with warm butter melting all over the crisp surface. Et basta, as they say.

Being a bakery, Ten Belles bread is no slouch in the dessert department either with fresh fruit tarts, cookies and cakes, all of which can be enjoyed at any time of the day with some of the best coffee in Paris.

While it may be the breakfast or lunch, or brunch, that tempts you, pastries come out of the ovens at all hours, including puff pastry apple tarts, lemon, plum and berry tarts, chocolate-raisin brioche, glazed gâteau citron, feta-Comté swirls, scones, financiers, or whatever else they’re baking up that day. Perhaps in the afternoon, with a expertly made coffee, bien sur

Ten Belles Bread
17-19, bis rue Bréguet (11th)
Tél: 01 42 40 90 78
Métro: Bréguet-Sabin, Voltaire, or Richard Lenoir

The bakery and café is open weekdays, 8:30am to 7pm, and weekends, 9am to 6pm. Lunch and breakfast are served daily in the café. Brunch served on weekends from 11am to 3pm.


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33 comments

  • March 7, 2017 9:59am

    What I would give for some of that bread right now! And I have just eaten breakfast.

  • March 7, 2017 11:12am

    It looks wonderful! Re the Bread Crisis, have you tried freezing the extra? My brother-in-law buys a dozen fat flûtes from our local boulangerie and takes them home to Belgium when he visits, the bread is that good.

  • Phoebe
    March 7, 2017 4:22pm

    David when I passed by Ten Belles, their bread looked exactly like Tartine hearth loaves! Seeing that the chef worked there as well, are they just selling the same bread??!!

    • March 7, 2017 4:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      No, it’s her own bread. Tartine’s bread has large, wide holes and the levain here is a bit more compact (perhaps because they use it for sandwiches and other things). She did learn from Chad at Tartine, but like other bakers, created her own recipes and loaves.

  • March 7, 2017 5:13pm

    Just gorgeous! I Must go. L love grainy bread too..

  • sillygirl
    March 7, 2017 5:15pm

    I still remember a bread with walnuts that I got at the open market in Beaune along with a cheese that had walnuts in it. So glad there are more whole grain breads in Paris – I’m also wild about them.

  • Linda H
    March 7, 2017 5:24pm

    That place looks perfect. I could live there.

  • Ursula Maurer
    March 7, 2017 5:30pm

    I will be in Paris the end of May and have already put Ten Belles Bread on my must-do list. I just watched the Paris episode of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having. Crazy fun!

  • carvingthyme.com
    March 7, 2017 5:40pm

    Beautiful looking breads and such lovely photos!!

  • March 7, 2017 5:51pm

    I so love bread, and feel terrible for folks who cannot enjoy it for health reasons such as gluten sensitivities. It may be blasphemous to even ask, but, David, are you aware of any bakeries in Paris (or surrounding area) that create gluten-free bread that one would actually want to eat? Is that even possible?

  • Gina Bisaillon
    March 7, 2017 5:59pm

    Seeing such properly cooked bread makes me wonder why everyone around me prefers the pale, anaemic-looking stuff! (I feel that way about potato chips too.)

    • March 7, 2017 6:12pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, the “pas trop cuite” (not well-cooked) bread that a lot of people seem to prefer has taken over, to some extent. But I am noticing that the new crop of bakers are baking their loaves more, but many aren’t doing baguettes, which are what people order pas trop cuit. The WSJ published a good article on the tendency toward less-cooked bread in France a few years ago. Je deteste ! ; )

      • Gavrielle
        March 7, 2017 9:18pm

        And it’s not just a question of a crisp crust or not, either. British baker Paul Hollywood maintains most commercially baked bread is undercooked – he says if you can squash a bit of the inside with your fingers into a lump, i.e. pretty much back into dough, it’s undercooked and not good for digestion. I make my own bread so don’t get to try commercial loaves very often, but since I heard that I’ve tried it, and even artisan breads I’ve often found to be squishable in the way he describes. Hmm. Give me bien cuit every time.

  • March 7, 2017 6:05pm

    Another thing about the nouvelle vague of bakers — women are finally coming to the fore, where the profession was traditionally male dominated.

  • March 7, 2017 6:31pm

    Necessary shops: “A restaurant, a wine shop, and a bakery.” Forget about hardware or shoes, this are serious businesses! BTW breads are gorgeously captured by your photos and look scrumptious.

  • Virginia Howard
    March 7, 2017 7:38pm

    Mouth watering and torturous at the same time! Need to return soon!

  • tim
    March 7, 2017 11:03pm

    I have made croissants with cheese and caramelized onions in it. Now I have to try it with brioche.

  • March 7, 2017 11:49pm

    I’m in the lounge waiting for my flight from Chicago to Paris… guess I know where to head for breakfast tomorrow!
    Thanks, I always enjoy your posts!

  • Paul Huckett
    March 8, 2017 12:47am

    My notebook of your recommendations is becoming so large that our next week in Paris is stretching to a longer stay . Pity its such a long way from rural Australia ! Your emails keep us excited and keen.

  • Carla M
    March 8, 2017 2:04am

    I know the feeling of looking for the bread basket or not being able to eat without bread! I couldnt do it for a long time, once when my Italian grandfather came to visit us in NYC and we took him to dinner in Chinatown, he insisted on bringing a little baggie with bread!!

  • Frank Ball
    March 8, 2017 3:43am

    Did I miss something? Was looking for a recipe.

  • Victoria
    March 8, 2017 6:13am

    Do you remember what the little individual or mini pies are that Alice has on the tray? Perhaps chicken and mushroom pies?

  • March 8, 2017 2:33pm

    Sounds like a great place to visit. Your photographs are wonderful. You nailed it with the eggs benedict. I just wanted to jump right in the picture.

  • Bricktop
    March 8, 2017 5:45pm

    I know where I will be heading the weekend after next!

  • March 9, 2017 5:21am

    See, this is why I know I was French in my past life…I, too, cannot call it a meal without a piece of bread.

    This place looks fantastic. Love that it’s run by some awesome LADIES! :)

  • Gisella
    March 9, 2017 1:42pm

    I’m a huge pastry lover myself, and this place sounds awesome. I’ll definitely put this place in my itinerary if I ever visit Paris.

    On another note, I love your Tiramisu recipe post. Thanks for sharing that. :)

  • beene
    March 9, 2017 7:06pm

    so how much is the paris tourism industry paying you cause Im guessing I am not alone when I say your blog and reviews are the reason I am scheduling a trip….. btw… I just ordered your book… why does it come in 2 different covers. regardless… you do a beautiful job with your writing. a GIANT THANK YOU.

  • March 11, 2017 11:34am

    Oh my word I just want to eat this bread RIGHT now and those eggs Benedict look insanley good

  • LWood
    March 12, 2017 3:27pm

    Yum. I am extremely lucky to have Zingermans as my local bread hook-up. I was recently convinced by the fellow behind the bread counter to purchase a 2 kilo pain de montagne. He offered a discounted rate for the whole loaf. And included instructions on how to freeze (double bag is the key). Working my way through, with pancetta scramble topped with Tracklements smoked cabot this morning. It has that glorious chewiness and crunch.

  • Margaret
    March 14, 2017 2:39am

    Yum!

  • March 30, 2017 5:41pm

    That looks amazing David. Me and my partner are heading over to Paris for the fete de pain in May, have you been before?

  • Kim B.
    April 1, 2017 11:01am

    I went one day this week for lunch – snuck away from the office and went all the way across town. And the terrace was open! It was wonderful – I had a toastie, but I’m most excited about picking up some focaccia!! I love it in Italy and miss it here so much.

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