Du Pain et des idées – the best boulangerie in Paris!

Don’t just take our word for it: the Gault Millaut Paris guide agrees with us! It’s a real old school French bakery with all the traditional charm and taste. Worth crossing Paris to taste, definitely!

photos : JasonW



A croissant, a pain au chocolat and a nice café crème… all part of a long French tradition. It’s surprising then that so many pain au chocolat taste of cardboard, and that many croissants are so greasy that they’ll be on your fingers for the rest of the day. Du Pain et des idées is a boulangerie that tries to be different. The prices are a little higher, the choice a little more restricted, but you’ll find plenty of really tasty treats and quite a few surprises! We went and had a thorough look round..

The boulangerie is near the canal in the 10th arrondissement not far from République, at the corner of rue de Marseille and rue Yves Toudic, in a building dating from 1889. The owner (more about him later) wanted to recreate the ambience of a boulangerie circa 1900, with old furniture, large mirrors and the original painted glass ceiling that is listed as a historic monument. You immediately feel like you’re in another time…



A sign on the door proudly says that this has been named the best boulangerie in Paris for 2008, but there are also two other little posters, one saying that they are not open at weekends (darn it!) and the other explaining the love that is put into every piece they sell. You’ll also find that the people behind the counter have brimming smiles, making a change from the dour French welcome that some places offer…


Entering the shop, you immediately notice the old-style mirrors and furniture…





We love the style of the shop, but it would mean nothing if the food wasn’t so good. On your right is a huge display area. First we see the standard croissants and pain au chocolat (although they also do a pain au chocoloat with banana in it!)…

Next you’ll see some large fruit tarts, always made with fresh fruit, followed by some smaller tartlets.


Just next to those are the ‘chaussons aux pommes’ (with fresh apple), followed by my favourite of their products! An ‘escargot’ is a sort of pastry shaped like a snail’s shell (a bit like a pain au raisin, but without the raisins, and using flaky pastry). They are really super tasty, with some surprising recipes…


Lemon/nougat is my favourite (and I don’t even really like lemons or nougat!). To the left of these you’ll find some bread unlike any other. Called ‘le pain des amis’ (the bread of friends), you can by a quarter or half loaf for 2€ or 4€. The smoky, nutty taste of the crust is unbelievable. Try it with some French cheese and you’ll never go back to baguettes again!



Carrying on down, we get to the brioche, a sort of sweet bread often sliced and spread with butter. Theirs has a tastes of orange flower, and is absolutely delicious.

Some people may be surprised that the boulangerie does’t prepare sandwiches at lunchtime. Instead, they gave a selection of mini-breads with various savoury or sugary fillings. Two mini bread are easily as good as a sandwich…


More mini breads are lined up behind the counter, ready for the midday rush. This is also where you’ll find – at last – most of the bread. There’s not a huge selection, but it’s quality not quantity that counts. Just one thing to be careful about: some of the bread is quite dear, and you might not find it as tasty as the ‘pain des amis’. They all great though!…


And that’s it for the products on sale!

The story of the bakery – and above all the baker – is an interesting one. Christophe Vasseur worked in fashion for around ten years before deciding to change direction completely. In 1999 he trained with JP Mathon in Paris’ 13th arrondissement and got ready to open his own establishment. Christophe uses only natural products that respect the environment, and everything is made on the premises. His work is his passion, and you’ll often see him behind the counter, especially towards the end of the day when the baking is over, smiling and greeting the customers personally. This man is proud of his work, and we think he has good reason to be!

photo (c) ViaMichelin


Here’s all the essential information forthe wonderful boulangerie Du pain et des idées!

Address: 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, métro Jacques Bonsergent (line 5)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 7am – 8pm (but there won’t be much left by then!)
Official site (in English!) : here (avec beaucoup d’autres informations intéressantes)
A little film about the place (in French)?: here.


Bigger map here