The boulangerie is at the heart of French culture. French can drive miles for a good baguette. And you can spot the best boulangeries by the waiting line on Sunday mornings.
I always tell my foreign visitors to try everything in the boulangeries: breads, viennoiseries (croissants, pains au chocolat…) and pâtisseries (cakes).
The boulangerie is the perfect place to get out of your comfort zone with easy steps. The phrases you need are simple, you can repeat them everyday. And improve by asking for new things. Also, it is so delicious, you will not stop going!
Buy a baguette
The basic. The symbol of the country. La baguette.
Bonjour ! Une baguette s’il vous plaît.
Classic. Elegant. Perfect.
Then, as you will become more and more French, you can add a little something. So the baguette suits your taste. Such as:
Bonjour ! Une baguette bien cuite s’il vous plaît.
Bonjour ! Une baguette s’il vous plaît. Bien cuite
Bien cuite means that your baguette will be crusty and brown. My favorite way.
If you like it whiter, you can ask:
Bonjour ! Une baguette pas trop cuite s’il vous plaît.
Bonjour ! Une baguette s’il vous plaît. Pas trop cuite
The inside of the bread is called la mie, while the outside is la croûte. The end of it is le quignon. And we say that a good baguette never comes home with both its croûtons.
The baguette comes in a square of paper or a paper bag, depending on the boulangerie.
Note: if you feel you will not eat a full baguette today, you can always buy half a baguette. Just ask for une demi-baguette instead.
Buy other breads
Instead of baguette, you can buy plenty of other breads.
You also have :
- un pain de campagne (rye + wheat)
- un pain aux céréales (cereals)
- un pain aux lardons (lard)
- un pain de maïs (corn)
- un pain complet (whole wheat)
- un pain de seigle (rye)
- un pain aux olives
Theses are my favorites.
If, like me, you hate cutting it (it always ends up in a mess), ask the boulanger to slice it for you:
Vous pourriez me le trancher s’il vous plaît ?
Or you can ask:
Bonjour. Un pain de campagne tranché s’il vous plaît.
What about croissants?
The croissant is part of the viennoiseries family.
We buy viennoiseries for breakfast and/or for le goûter (4 pm snack, usually for children).
The most famous are:
- le croissant
- le pain au chocolat
- le pain aux raisins (raisin bread)
- la brioche
Then come the less famous and most awesome:
- le chausson aux pommes (with apple in it)
- le palmier (a festival of crumbs around your mouth) –> my favorite
- les lunettes (a sablé with jam and icing sugar)
- la patte d’ours (with its crème pâtissière: kind of custard)
- les chouquettes (full of air and covered in sugar)
Note: googling them is good. Tasting them is far better!
Take action now: taste a new viennoiserie today and a new bread tomorrow! Let me know what you tried and how it was in the comments below.
Share it: send the article to your friends!