Du Pain et Des Idées

Du Pain et Des Idées – Dare to Dream

Du Pain et Des Idées (“some bread and some ideas”) is the story of a man who dared to dream that he could become the best baker in Paris.

It is about a man who gave up a successful career in the fashion industry to take on a new life as a baker at 30. Who of us wishes we dared to do just that?

His dream was not to become just another baker but to restore the craft to its traditional roots using old-fashioned baking techniques and ingredients that have long since been forgotten.

In Paris, when you buy bread, you buy from artisans who are respected for the time it has taken to perfect their art.

Christophe Vasseur is a true artisan in every sense of the word. He brings passion and love to his work. He works tirelessly at promoting the time-honoured traditions of his craft. There is no compromise, only quality.

I aim to show that this profession is amongst the most beautiful in the world, allowing for those who have mastered its secrets to give a simple yet intense happiness with something as simple as a piece of bread.

Christophe Vasseur

His passion and hard work have paid off. After opening in 2002, he was awarded the Best Baker of Paris 2008 by the Gault Millau magazine and baker of the Year 2012 by Guide Pudlo. In 2014, he was awarded the Best Galette des Rois de Paris by Le Point magazine. His reputation has grown such that renowned chefs like Alain Ducasse have to collect their bread as Christophe is the only baker in Paris that does not deliver.

To bring his dream to fruition, Christophe needed an authentic boulangerie. He found one in the 10th arrondissement dating back to 1889. The antique furniture, mirrors, clocks, and gilt lettering on the shop windows, together with the original decorated ceiling, convey an impression of travelling back in time.

You will spot the shop easily – it is the one with the long queue outside and the unmistakable smell of baking bread. And when you finally get inside, be sure to look up at the magnificent ceiling.

The bread he is most proud of is Pain des Amis, bread he made for his friends on the weekend and who eventually persuaded him to make it for the bakery. It is made with wheat flour and features a thick, half-centimetre crust and a nutty taste. It is distinctive, unique, and original. It is his signature bread.

Ruth and I will travel across Paris, no matter how many métros it takes, to get our hands on a piece of Pain des Amis.

He uses only organic flour, no additives, and a long fermentation period for his baguette. His baguette is made in seven hours as opposed to the average of an hour and a half. He does all the shaping of the loaves by hand.

In 1920, French law officially fixed the price for a baguette, and while no longer in force, the legacy has stuck. Christophe keeps his baguette prices low because he regards the baguette as daily food. For only 10 cents extra, Christophe can produce a quality product and still make a profit. Christophe has earned the right to be called a Boulanger like the artisan he is, as he makes all his bread on the premises.

Another house specialty is the Escargot Chocolat Pistache, delicious swirls of pastry coiled around pistachio cream and chocolate pieces. It sits alongside other pastry escargots, L’Escargot aux Pralines, L’Escargot au Citron et Nougat de Montélimar, L’Escargot aux Cassis Frais and L’Escargot Rhum Raisins.

Chausson à la Pomme Fraiche, another of my favourites, is a flaky apple turnover with fresh-cooked apples rather than apple purée used by other bakers because it is cheaper and faster.

Brioche is a light, slightly sweet bread delicately flavoured with orange blossom, lemon juice and vanilla. You can specify whether you want your piece to have sugar crystals on top or choose to have a bit cut from the end of the loaf, which is well-cooked or from the centre part, which is less well-cooked.

And of course, I have to mention their croissants. Ruth starts to salivate at the thought of a genuine French croissant once we hit French soil. True to her heritage, she refuses to give much credit to soggy Australian croissants, preferring the buttery and crunchy French variety. Du Pain et Des Idées satisfies her cravings.

One thing you must do when you visit Du Pain et Des Idées is to try some of your purchases at the large timber table and bench outside. I am sure that table is there to seduce you into going back inside for more. Alternatively, stroll down Rue de Marseille to Canal Saint-Martin and eat by the water.

In short, Du Pain et Des Idees is a beautiful boulangerie with an extraordinary craftsman. Christophe’s story is a journey in the excellence of a man who dared to dream that he could turn back the clock and create something worthwhile for today. He sums up his contagious passion in his mission statement:

I’m going to make you bread like you’ve never seen before, and in this bread there will be love and friendship.

Marc Pagnol – La Femme du Boulanger


34 rue Yves Toudic 75010 Paris
+33 1 42 40 44 52
7.15 am to 7.30 pm (Mon-Fri); Closed for Summer Holidays August
Metro: Jacques Bonsergent
Bus: 56, 65


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