If you’re intending on spending an extended stretch in Paris, then any temporary Parisian worth their salt will have made it a point to get in bed (so to speak) with the local boulanger very early on. You’ve scouted your quartier, shovelled a few sub-standard bread sticks into your mouth in the name of research (that big wedge of cheese sure helped hide the disappointment), and settled on a lucky candidate who’s snaking queue out the door gets the prize of being graced every day with your lovely fesse.
Congratulations. You get to regularly experience one of Paris’ most underrated and simplest pleasures – the ritual of the daily baguette. Even if you’re in Paris for a couple of days, it should be right at the top of your list of essential experiences to search out in the city. Crikey, if you didn’t think the baguette was important enough, they started revolutions over the darn things. It’s right up there in things that make the French get up every morning. Run a ten second montage of Paris through your head. There’s a baguette in every shot right? As steadfastly present in the background as Wally of Where’s…? fame.
Your task is simple. Go the your local boulangerie. Select a baguette. The tradition is the most popular, but you can choose the classic baguette, or even a really skinny one called ficelle (meaning ‘string’) if you reached your daily croissant quota way too early. Exchange pleasantries with the baker, pay your euro (or thereabouts) and begin salivating when you are handed a still warm baguette.
Exit the boulangerie. Walk down the road ripping chunks off the baguette, stuffing them into your mouth. Stick it in your bike basket or skip down the road whilst replaying La Marseillaise in your head. However you choose to travel, I promise you will never feel more French than with a warm baguette in your arms. Or get more enjoyment out of anything so simple. Every time you do it. Whatever you do, just try and make sure there’s enough left for everyone else by the time you get home. Now that’s the real trick.