Ever since I moved to Paris, I’ve been wanting to try Du Pain et des Idées. I had read that the chausson aux pommes was especially delicious and heard from numerous people that it’s one of the best boulangeries in the city. Indeed, Christophe Vasseur, the former fashion sales guy turned artisinal baker who started the boulangerie seven years ago, was named best baker last year.
The problem is, it’s only open Monday to Friday. So it took me awhile to get there.
But, not only did I finally get there and it was everything I had heard about and dreamt about and more. But I went with Adorable Isa because her sweet copain, Alexi, is working there. So in addition to sampling bread, a croissant, a chausson aux pommes and an escargot amandes—puff pastry rolled with delicious almond paste and cream—lucky me, I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen.
Du Pain et des Idées is an authentic boulangerie—that is, it’s focused on bread and a select few seasonal tarts and viennoiseries, rather than cakes and pastries that entail tons of sugar and chocolate and pretty trimmings. This is the kind of place that does a few things and does them extremely well.
Its pain des amis, for example, is a wonderfully thick, doughy-on-the-inside, crusty-on-the-edges bread. I haven’t had bread like this here in Paris, and it is, in a word, incredible.
We got to see the raw dough, and a giant slab baking in the oven.
The ovens are stacked, with the hottest ones lowest down. The pain des amis baked in the bottom while the more traditional baguettes were a couple drawers above.
Look at Alexi go!
It was a small thrill to see an authentic French boulangerie’s kitchen, never mind one of the best in the city. The entire staff was so warm and welcoming—something that is truly extraordinary about the French. They are proud of what they do and happy to share it with you.
After Isa and I split a croissant, I took my chausson and escargot home.
Look at the artistry—there are a million layers of pastry. Mon dieu. It’s a good thing this place isn’t open on the weekends. I think I would give up everything and just exist on bread and pastries for awhile.
Un million de remerciements, Isa et Alexi!
34 rue Yves Toudic