It’s no secret that bread, le pain français, is one of the glories of France: anyone taking home a warm, crispy baguette who’s not pulled off the end for a nibble has super human willpower.
It’s the national staple, so much so that even at Chinese restaurants you’ll find baguettes for those who can’t imagine a meal without it. Bakeries (boulangeries) often bake bread twice a day, especially as the popular wands— the baguettes, flûtes and ficelles—that are so delicious with a crunchy crust when they are fresh, turn to rock if you leave them out. Many other kinds will be found under pain.
Bread is so essential that since the 15th century the government has regulated weights, ingredients and prices. Nearly always you can buy a half loaf of any kind of bread, even a baguette (un demi-pain or un moitié) if you can’t eat a whole one. Bakeries will also slice (trancher) your bread in a machine for a small fee.
Image by Monica Arellano-Ongpin