The Parisian Baker Boys

Every weekend in a specific location in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, you will see a crowd of people standing patiently outside the most famous bakery in Paris. In a street stretching across the quater, packed with restaurants, bars, independent shops and cafés, Poilâne sits huddled alongside commercial businesses selling shoes and three-course meals.

Having never seen it empty the first few times I’ve strolled past it, it appeared to be a popular boulangerie and I didn’t really think twice about it, until one weekend. In the early hours one morning, I was heading along Rue Cherche Midi, striding in its direction, when I noticed a lot of people, not just one or two – more like twenty – and it was growing! They had formed an orderly line the length of a few cars out -side the entrance of Pôilane.

People were queuing! They were actually prepared to wait in line to buy this bread! Rather than go to a boulangerie a few street away where they could be in and out in under five minutes. This single moment  catapulted Poilâne into another stratosphere in my mind and peaked my curiosity! There had to be something special about this place.

So, if you haven’t heard of it yet or haven’t read the back story, allow MLP to enlighten you. Poilâne,  arguably the best boulangerie in Paris. As the queue outside suggests, it has a long-standing reputation for one good reason.

The bread and everything else they make is simply delicious.

The story started in 1932 when Pierre Poilâne launched the business, using unique methods such as a wood-fired oven with stone-ground flour. From here their famous sourdough bread was born, commonly called miche or Pain Poilâne. You’ll see the loaves in the shop, with the letter P, etched into them.

A family business, it was taken over by Pierre’s son Lionel in 1970, but following his untimely death, Lionel’s two daughters now run it. They have expanded the offering to include: rye bread, raisin bread, nut bread, cookies and a veritable feast of pastries that add inches to the waist on sight!

Apparently, there is another son  – called Max – who set up 3 rival bakery  shops in Paris each sporting his name, Max Poilâne! Oh the scandal! and there is constant competition between the two.

This is definitely a good idea for a soap opera!

So, there you have it. MLP just had to share this with you.

Head to the original store at 8 Rue Cherche – Midi, 6th or go to 49 Boulevard de Grenelle in the 15th or The Marais, 38 Rue Debelleyme.

Ps. There’s one in London!

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