Du Pain et Des Idées

March 4th, 2010 § 6 comments

In Paris, there’s really no need to travel far for bread. Almost every neighborhood has at least one decent bakery. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t bread that’s worth a trip.

Du Pain et Des Idées makes beautiful breads. The corner location has been a bakery since 1889 and you might think that owner Christophe Vasseur comes from line of bakers that stretches back at least that long. But he actually came to bread relatively late in life, deciding at age 32 to hang up “définitivement mon costume cravate” (he worked in fashion) and learn the art of baking. He seems to have made the right choice: In 2008, Gault & Millau named him the best boulanger in Paris.

Formed by hand and given a slow rise, these are loaves with character. The popular “Pain des Amis” is a slab of thick, toasty crust encasing a bubbly mie that is both airy and substantial. It’s toothsome and satisfying, with an unmistakable nuttiness.

On the other end of the spectrum is the “Mouna”, a sugar crusted brioche, delicately flavored with fleur d’orange, with a crumb so fine and tender that it’s practically cake.

There are rustic fruit tarts, too, and viennoiserie including croissants and a playful range of escargots filled with pistachio, praline, or lemon and nougat, as well as traditional raisin. The chausson aux pommes is superb.

I don’t live quite close enough to make Du Pain et Des Idées my every day bakery. Every other day? Maybe.

Du Pain et Des Idées 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, 01 42 40 44 52  (Closed Sat. and Sun.)

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§ 6 Responses to Du Pain et Des Idées"

  • As Michelin would say, totally worth the detour ! As I was reading your post, I kept saying in my head, “is she going to mention the escargot, the escargot, when’s she gonna talk about the escargot…?!” And voila, escargot aux pralines, worth the detour alone. Oh, and those savory rolls that come out of the oven at lunchtime – hello long lines ! :)

  • Daniel says:

    We were unlucky enough to visit this bakery in the summer when it was closed for the holidays. It totally broke my heart. Maybe next time.

  • Barbra says:

    Kerrin: How could I not mention the escargot? They are delicious, and it’s such an unlikely place to find a burst of color. I love them!

    Daniel: Summer in Paris is cruel like that. Next time, for sure.

  • Carly says:

    I have been waiting to visit this boulangerie for ages! so glad you reminded me. A French friend told me that one of the best breads he makes was invented by accident. He “messed up” the batch, and so decided to give it away free to people from the neighborhood – only thing was, they came back asking him to make more! Have to love the “autodidacte”-foodie success stories :)

  • Barbra says:

    Carly: What are you waiting for?! Go now! And visit the website — there’s a movie there in which Vasseur tells the story of the accidental invention of the Pain des Amis.

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