Each year, Paris holds Le Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris, a blind tasting for the best baguette in the City. This is quite an affair and important for the winning baker since sales typically shoot up as does the baker's renown. (I got a taste of its importance at the boulangerie I worked at last year, which had previously won the honor).
In a rare inside look the contest, an American living in Paris applied for one of the random seats and was chosen to serve on the judging panel. (I wish she gave her name but hasn't on her blog She later revealed herself as Phyllis Flick. The result: she spent four hours tasting 163 baguettes, a record number of entries. "It was an absolutely incredible experience and for now I can’t imagine looking at another baguette," she writes.
She has an good summary recounting the experience on her blog Paris Notebook, including the caveat that not all French bread is great.
It may seem hard to believe, but a lot of mediocre bread can be found in France. Walk into your average corner bakery and if you don’t know what to look for, or to ask for, you risk walking away with a very average, and at times inedible, baguette.
Here's a list of the winning boulangeries, something you'll want to clip if you happen to be heading to Paris.
1) Djibril Bodian (Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses), 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
2) Daniel Pouphary, (La Parisienne) 28 rue Monge, 75005
**3) Dominique Saibron, 77 Avenue du Général Leclerc, 75014
4) Yves Desgranges, 6 Rue de Passy, 75016,
**5) Philippe Gosselin, 258 Boulevard Saint-Germain,75007
6) Xavier Doué, 163 avenue de versaillais, 75016
7) Boulangerie Lohézic (Sébastien and Sylvie Lohézic) 31, rue Guersant, 75017
8) Boulangerie d’Isa (Michel Chorin, Retrodore) 127 Rue de Charenton 75012
9) Mohamed Zerzour, 50 rue de l’Amiral Roussin 75015
10) SARL Zerzour II, 324, rue Lecourbe, 75014 (SARL can be roughly translated as incorporated)
** Both are renowned bakers
- Samuel Fromartz