Jean-Luc Poujauran’s name always comes up during discussions about the best bakers in Paris. And these discussions can quickly devolve into arguments, for every Parisian has a very strong opinion when it comes to bread.
Fresh daily bread is a staple of Parisian life. It would be a Parisian’s worst nightmare to be condemned to eat, what I thought was bread, in my early years. My bread came from a supermarket, where it had probably sat on a shelf for several days already. But that’s okay because ingredients included chemical preservatives and stabilizers to increase shelf-life. It came packaged in plastic and had a catchy name, Wonder Bread. Smeared with mayo and filled with Oscar Mayer bologna, it made a heck of a daily lunch at school. Who knew? And if the uniformly dry crusts were too much to chew, you could just peel them off and throw them away.
Monsieur Poujauran is reputed to be the first baker in Paris to produce a baguette made with organic, stone-ground flour , 100% French. During my first visit to Poujauran, it was evident to the regulars who deftly completed their routine transactions, that I was a neophyte boulangerie patron. I took too much time to peruse the goods and waffled between the croissant and mouth watering pastries. I was on the verge of a good drool, when a woman with a handbag hanging over one forearm, and a baguette tucked under the other, advised me with a disdainful flip of her chin that it would be a mistake to walk out without one of “those”. She was referring to the baguettes fresh from the oven. Then she broke off the very tip of her precious cargo and handed it to me, which I now know is a great honor…to break off the end of your baguette and offer it to a stranger! She must have sensed my pathetic lack of education in the bread classics, and thanks to her, I will never again mistake a loaf of factory- to- supermarket bread, for something edible.
20 Rue Jean-Nicot
Metro: La Tour-Maubourg
The boulangerie is now closed for retail business although Poujauran breads are still distributed to restaurants around Paris, such as Rose Bakery on rue des Martrys.