Pain Poilane is reputed amongst many to be the best bread in Paris. A family run bakery established in 1932 in St Germain des Près, the bread is made the traditional way, using stone milled flour, water, sea salt from Brittany and yeast. Cooked in a wood fired oven, the big 2kg loaves are instantly recognizable, both in their texture and flavour.
Around 1000 loaves a day are exported to the US, Japan and the Middle East (I even heard a story about an American who loved it so much he placed an order to have a loaf couriered to him and then to his children in the US each week for life). You will often find it used for sandwiches in brasseries around the city, and you can buy a quarter or half a loaf if 2kg seems like too much!
- 8 rue du Cherche Midi, 76006 Paris. métro: Sevres Babylone or St Sulpice, closed Sunday
- 49 Boulevard de Grenelle, 75015 Paris. métro: Dupleix, closed Monday
- 38 rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris. métro: Filles du Calvaire or St Sebastien Froissart, closed Monday