Healthy, organic food is sweeping through Paris in the form of health food stores, juice bars, and vegetarian cafés, and not even boulangeries are immune to this food craze. The city’s top bakers are making baguettes and other loaves in biologique (organic) varieties in an effort to offer healthier products and protect the environment. Those who come to Paris hoping to forget about their diets and indulge in the city’s legendary baguettes and pastries should not be dismayed; the switch to organic flour doesn’t mean a sacrifice in taste.
Du Pain et Des Idées
At Du Pain et Des Idées in the 10th arrondissement, the pain des amis, or “bread of friends,” has been made with 100 percent organic flour since 2014. Owner and baker Christophe Vasseur says he decided to make the switch over concerns about the chemicals used in wheat farming. “There is no doubt about the dangers of these products, particularly among children and pregnant women,” says Vasseur. He also says organic flour is easier to digest and contains fewer allergens, so clients who couldn’t eat the bread before now can. The nutty, caramel-y tasting flatbread with a thick crust hasn’t lost a lick of its flavor or aroma. In fact, the combination of top quality flour from Ile de France, filtered water (to eliminate dioxins and pesticides), long fermentation, and lengthy baking process make this one of the best – if not the best – breads in Paris.
Du Pain et Des Idées
At the Marché Biologique Raspail – a large, all organic market held each Sunday on Boulevard Raspail near the Rennes metro stop – vendor Patibio carries a wide range of organic and gluten-free breads made with alternative flours, like those made from kamut and rice. The dense, slightly sour seeded baguette comes laden with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and for something slightly sweet go for the pain aux fruits secs, bread with dried fruit. This cake-like loaf comes filled with figs, hazelnuts, almonds, raisins, and sunflower seeds and makes a great base for a slice of cheese or foie gras.
French bread baker Eric Kayser, who now has 100 Maison Kayser bakeries around the world, was a pioneer in the bio bread movement in Paris. His second bakery location at 14 rue Monge has been specializing in organic bread since 1998. At the bakery and café you’ll find organic versions of his famed loaves, like the multigrain pain aux cereals bread peppered with millet, sunflower, and sesame seeds.
Du Pain et Des Idées
Baker Véronique Mauclerc’s bakery in the 19th arrondissement near the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is worth the trek for her delicious breads and pastries made with organic flour. Mauclerc uses levain, a natural sourdough starter, rather than yeast in her breads and the loaves and baguettes are cooked to crisp perfection in a wood-fired oven (one of only four of its kind left in Paris). Breads change weekly and incorporate flours like buckwheat and quinoa as well as seasonal ingredients.
And bio breads are never too far out of reach in Paris thanks to Moisan, an organic bakery with about half a dozen locations throughout the city. The bakery is best known for its large wholemeal, sourdough loaves but the ficelle apéritif, a small baguette with a generous helping of sesame seeds and sea salt, is worth seeking out.
Du Pain et Des Idées – 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 40 44 52
Marché Biologique Raspail – Boulevard Raspail. Open Sunday from 9h to 15h.
Maison Kayser – 14 rue Monge, 75005. Tel: +33 (0)1 44 07 17 81
La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc – 83 rue de Crimée, 75019. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 40 64 55
Moisan – 2 rue de Bazeilles, 75005. Tel: +33 (0)1 47 07 35 40
- Erica’s handy guide to understanding and ordering bread in a French boulangerie.
- Paris by Mouth writes up the 2014 Paris best baguette winner.
- Good Food gives tips on how to spot a good bakery and how to eat bread like the French.
Written by Casey Hatfield-Chiotti for the HiP Paris Blog. All images by Casey Hatfield-Chiotti. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.