The best of French in Chicago: Where to find authentic French bakeries
It’s true. You can find authentic French bread in Chicago. Thanks to a burgeoning boulangerie scene in the Windy City, you don’t have to travel to France to indulge your taste buds. You can sample it at these three authentic French bakeries right here in Chicago.
While a vacation in France is wonderful, it’s the memories of the food that is purchased, eaten and savored during any time spent there that is hard to erase from your mind. As Author and The New Yorker Writer Adam Gopnik noted during a recent talk he gave at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago, food is part of the French brand. And, I couldn’t agree more.
When I think of my own travels to France, I immediately think of the food I enjoyed there. And I know I’m not the only one. People always tell me that after returning from a trip to France it’s hard to go back to eating just any old bread. They need and want authentic, crusty, chewy baguettes.
Lucky for us, these three bakeries (or boulangeries in French) offer a taste of the best of France right here in Chicago.
Three authentic French bakeries in Chicago
La Fournette opened its doors in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood back in July, making it one of the newest French bakeries to open in Chicago. The bakery, owned by Pierre and Michele Zimmermann whose founding bakery was located in Schnersheim, France, offers an amazing array of French breads and pastries, salads, sandwiches, quiches and more.
Chef Pierre’s bread selection includes the classic French baguette, olive fougasse bread, Pierre’s Salted Bretzel, and the bakery’s signature bread, the Miche La Fournette. You can’t go wrong with any – or all – of them.
La Boulangerie has been serving up fresh-baked baguettes, croissants, country-style loaves and French pastries in Logan Square since 2010, and opened a second Chicago location just last month. The new location in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood offers the same great selection of breads – just one block east of the Belmont “L” train station.
On a recent chilly morning, the Lakeview bakery offered fresh, hot, just-out-of-the-oven breads including its traditional baguette, epi and marguerite selections. There also is a wonderful selection of other breads, pastries, quiches and sandwiches to eat there in the cafe or on your train ride.
Floriole Cafe & Bakery began selling its delectable breads, pastries and other items from a stand at Chicago’s Green City Market and opened a storefront location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood back in 2010. While you can still find Floriole at Green City Market, it’s worth a trip to the large, sun-filled cafe and bakery to pick out a pastry, sample a tarte, grab a latte, or enjoy a leisurely lunch.
The cafe and bakery has a tantalizing display case packed with breads and pastries. The back of Floriole also will tempt you with a glass-faced wall directly looking into the kitchen. It’s a great way to admire Floriole’s chefs and bakers at work, while also providing entertainment for children and adults alike.
These three bakeries are just a sampling of new authentic French bread purveyors to recently hit the scene. Do you have any other favorite authentic French bakeries in Chicago?
List any recommended places in the comments section below – and be sure to include your favorite finds at each one too. Bon appetit !