travel : poilâne



My goodness, the trip to Europe feels like a lifetime ago. Anyway, before I harp on about our uncontrolled gorging in Spain, I better finish up Paris first. Poilâne was on my wishlist of food shops to see and luckily for our worn out feet it was just around the corner from our apartment. (St-Germain-des-Prés is great for food enthusiasts! Or is that just Paris in general?!)

Poilâne’s bread is the result of years of dedication and perfection, handed down from generation to generation. The bakery sells their signature product, pain poilâne – a dull, almost grey loaf, the colour of which is attributed to carefully controlled stoneground wheat and spelt flour, plus natural fermentation. Their huge 2kg loaves are sold by weight, so you can buy however many slices you want or whisk off the whole miche.

The bread is tangy, with an almost tough, chewy crust – fantastic with a mild, oozy cheese. It’s wholesome, reminiscent of its peasant roots and as far away from a baguette as bread can possibly go – which apparently the Poilâne family have sworn will never make an appearance on their shelves.




It’s the Parisian thing to love idiosyncrasies – conviction in one product, strict tradition (understandably the recipe for pain poilâne is a family secret) and refusal to bow to mass commercialism makes Poilâne possibly the most famous bakery in the world. Baking since 1932, they sell an astounding 15,000 loaves a day. Some of these are exported via international express to ensure customers have their bread within 48 hours of baking.

So how do they make that many loaves? With 24 wood burning ovens – replicas of the originals in Paris, of course. Which is so unbelievably french – preserving tradition but making it better. Conquering the world, one loaf at a time.


There are three retail Poilâne shops:

8 rue du Cherche-Midi,
Paris 75006
T: +33 (0) 1 45 48 42 59

Mo – Sat 7:15am – 8:15pm

49 bld de Grenelle,
Paris 75015
T: +33 (0) 1 45 79 11 49

Tue – Sun 7:15am – 8:15pm

46 Elizabeth Street,
London SW1W 9PA
T: +44 (0) 207 808 4910

Mon – Fri 7:30am – 7:00pm, Sat 7:30am – 6:00pm


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  1. Mei & Luke

    Indulging on salt specked butter (beurre cru baratté à l’ancienne) from Normandie on Poilane bread in Paris. How blissful et c’est tres tres delicieux!

  2. chipinthesky

    Oh I wish I saw this before we went. Looks amazing, I miss the bread and pastries in France! :(

  3. mei

    chipinthesky – I miss them too! Nothing like a croissant from the oven first thing in the morning. Another one to put on the list is Gerard Mulot – not as well known overseas but his little cakes and croissants are divine. Next time…

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