Situated a block from the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement, Du Pain et des Idées is your favorite corner bakery—only better. The owner, Christophe Vasseur, was named best boulanger in Paris in 2008 and it's for good reason. From hearth breads to viennoiseries, everything is crafted to perfection. If you're discerning about your bread, don't leave without a slab of their signature loaf, the Pain des Amis—masterfully crusted on the outside and airy and fluffy on the inside, just waiting to be buttered. But Masseur's masterpiece is the chocolate-pistachio escargot pastry, a snail-shaped treat with pistachio paste slathered in between layers of puff pastry and punctuated with dark chocolate chips. This isn't an optional stop along your Paris visit, it's a must. But be aware: the shop is only open Monday to Friday.
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The Good Bread
My friend, who lives in Paris, told me about this Boulangerie, Du Pain et des Idees, so in my latest visit to Paris in June, I had to go there and try it for myself. We bought cheese in a local outdoor market and then got some bread and cakes and headed for a picnic lunch on one of the benches near Canal St. Martin. If you love boulangeries, don't skip this one. Highly recommended!
While this may look like a typical Parisian bakery at first glance, this couldn't be further away from the truth. The owner, Christophe Vasseur, used to be a successful fashion industry sales executive, but decided to switch careers altogether by pursuing his true passion: baking. To quote him, "I did not want to be just another baker. Rather, I wanted to be the baker". Mission accomplished, Christophe. The bakery Du Pain et des Idées opened in 2002 in one of the few remaining authentic, ancient boutiques of Paris, which has been in operation since 1889. As if the shop itself and the quality of the product wasn't enough, it's located in the beautiful 10th arrondissement, close to the lively Place de la République and the quaint Canal Saint-Martin, making it a true staple of any visit to Paris. If you only had one bakery to visit in Paris, it should be this one. Impeccable, warm customer service (a rarity in the City of Lights), delicious breads and delicacies, a beautiful location - I'm not sure how much better it can get. My tip: get the brioche sweet bread with the sugar crystals on top. Sugary goodness that melts in your mouth!