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Le pain français

Here are three Boulangeries and Pâtisseries where you can buy yummy bread and cake in France. Une BOULANGERIE sells bread and une PATISSERIE sells pastries.

boulangerie Don't be put off by the scruffy exterior of this shop! its products are delicious.
Un BOULANGER is a baker and un PATISSIER is a pastry creator.
boulangerie Many also sell sweets, chocolates and ice creams as well. This one also specialises in "old style" bread.

Bread is a staple food in France. The typical loaf of French bread is called "une baguette", which means stick or wand. It is about 60 cm long and weighs 500 grammes. The weight and price of bread is government controlled.

French people like their bread crusty, and this shape of loaf offers the maximum amount of crust to bread. You can see in the photos that bread comes in many shapes, sizes and textures in France.

French bread

French bread contains no fat, so it becomes stale very quickly. Bread is eaten at all three meals, and forms the most important part of breakfast.

carrying baguette People expect their bread to be fresh. This is why people visit the local "Boulangerie" (hot bread shop) at least once a day.
When in France, you will often see people walking the streets with their baguette under their arm racing to get home for lunch at midday.
baguette on bike Often they will ride bikes, mopeds or motorbikes with baguettes strapped to the back.

Here are some of the main types of bread that you might see on sale.

Boule:   A round loaf sold in various sizes.
Ficelle:   A very thin version of the baguette. Ficelle means string in French.
Fougasse:   A flat rectangular savoury bread often filled with bacon, onion or herbs.
Gros pain A large family size version of a baguette.
Pain de campagne:   This is usually a big rustic loaf (campagne means country) with a thick crust.
Pain complet:   Loaf made from whole wheat flour.
Pain de mie:   Mie means the interior. This is a soft sweet loaf mainly used for sandwiches.
Pain aux noix:   Bread filled with nuts.
Pain aux raisins:   A light bread filled with raisins. A breakfast treat.
Pain de siegle:   Loaf with two thirds rye flour, one third wheat flour.
Pain viennois:   A baguette shape but softer and sweeter.

Les croissants.

Most people would consider croissants to be part of a typical French Breakfast. It is important to remember that croissants are a special treat and are often purchased only for Sundays or special occasions. Amazingly, while the "croissant" represents France for most of us, it wasn't invented in France!

croissants Everyone's favourite, the croissant

Did you know...?

The French word "croissant" means "crescent" in English. Here is how this yummy pastry got its shape and its name!

This delicious breakfast treat was invented about three hundred years ago, not in France, but in Austria. At that time, the armies of the Ottoman Empire or Turkey (whose symbol was a crescent) were attacking Vienna, the capital of Austria.

In a hard fought battle, the Austrian armies defeated the forces of the Ottoman Empire. To celebrate, the French chef employed by the Emperor of Austria decided to make a pastry in the shape of a crescent. When this was eaten, it would become a symbol of the way in which the Austrian forces had consumed their enemies. On his eventual return to France, the chef introduced the pastry to the French who immediately made it very popular.


Le pain français


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