Whether it’s a simple, oven-fresh baguette, or something a little more complex, like a crème-filled religieuse, French baking is hard to beat. But there are also marvels in French bakeries not made of flour and butter.
We’ve found 5 #nofilter-worthy boulangeries with incredible décor and photogenic displays.
Brimming with Belle Époque grandeur, the painted exterior of this 19th-century bakery is enough to stop you in your tracks. Step inside and you’re in a mini Versailles, with a painted-tile ceiling and crystal chandeliers.
The décor may be historic but the exquisite bread and pâtisseries are the freshest, created by Academie du Pain founder Christian Vabret.
Christophe Vasseur opened the place of his dreams in a shuttered 19th-century boulangerie with fancy painted-glass ceilings and huge gilded mirrors. The Belle Époque décor also inspired his dedication to selling only traditional bread and pâtisserie.
Locals flock here for signature products like the poppy-seed rye bread and chocolate-and-pistachio escargot pastries.
Philippe Conticini’s stellar career in pâtisserie has included writing a Nutella recipe book and inventing the verrine – a dessert glass of artfully layered deliciousness. His journey led him to this whimsical cake shop, which he opened in foodie Rue du Bac in 2009.
Here, he gives traditional recipes a modern twist, in a fairytale setting where dainty cakes sit under gleaming glass domes.
Like owner François Brault’s own conversion from financial analyst to baker, this store is styled with lovingly-converted pieces, such as a lamp from the old Concorde hangar, and offcuts of old wooden mouldings.
Brault’s focus is specialty breads made with organic leaven and rare wheats such as kamut, as well as a range of ‘naturally without gluten’ breads.
For Gaudard, whose father was a well-known pastry chef, his metier is all about reviving the pleasurable sensations of childhood. So, moving away from his creative past under famed pâtissier Pierre Hermé, he now focuses on perfecting traditional French recipes, such as the Paris-Brest, as well as his father’s signature Mussipontain, a light meringue cake filled with vanilla cream.
His new shop’s beautifully photogenic, with its marble counters, gilt fittings and flea-market finds.