There is so much more to Paris than its famous monuments. In fact, one of the things we at MyFrenchLife™ love most about the City of Light are the beautiful artisan businesses that line the city’s streets.
In our view these small businesses and the passionate people behind them are exactly what give Paris its magic and unique charm: a Paris mosaic of les fleuristes, boulangeries, patîsseries, fromageries, et bien sûr, les chocolateries.
Enchanted by their beautiful displays and inspired by their talent and dedication, we’ve brought together the Paris Mosaic series, where we introduce you to the faces behind these Parisian gems.
Welcome to our Paris Mosaic series.
Boulangerie Bruno Solques
Address: 243 rue Saint-Jacques 75005
Opening hours: Mon – Fri between 8am – 7pm
Métro: Place Monge
La boulangerie Bruno Solques, is no ordinary Parisian boulangerie. Nestled in the Latin Quarter in the 5th arrondissement on the historic rue Saint-Jacques, this true artisan gem will certainly catch your eye.
Displayed in the window are boulanger-pâtissier Bruno Solque’s sugary treats and rustic loaves, alongside his less edible creations. Depictions of nature, flowers and animal heads, all ceramic sculptures adorn the walls inside, making it obvious that this bakery is one of a kind.
Bruno is a creative person who decided to exercise his passion through food. Young yet dedicated to his trade, he rises well before dawn to prepare his four types of croissants (plain, cinnamon, raisins and dried fruits), his famous vegetable quiche and his oversized but hearty loaves, using a mix of different flours.
This eccentric boulangerie piqued our curiosity, and Bruno, with his charming smile, was happy to indulge us with talk of his profession and most popular gourmandises.
France has succeeded in keeping its tradition of small businesses alive, even if it’s disappearing bit by bit.
Inspired by Bruno’s story, we at MyFrenchLife™ were delighted to have had the chance to speak with him and are excited to share his story with you.
What made you choose this profession and how was it made into a reality?
The choice was simply born out of a passion for food. I created this personal business 13 years ago now. I studied at culinary school when I was 18 years old in the south. I was really surprised in the beginning; everyone was dressed up in uniforms with little bowties, and I was just there completely normal!
I had a lot of training to do. To succeed in this profession, I believe that you first need to be courageous, and to be a real hard-worker. It’s extremely difficult to do this type of work – you need to have dedication.
What is your favourite moment of your workday?
It’s difficult to choose. It’s a job that I love, really – I like the morning routine, where I start at3am every day, except for Saturday and Sunday, which I take as personal days.
I start with the tarts, both sugar and savoury, and afterwards, I make the bread. We open at 7.30am. I especially like the intimacy of the small everyday tasks.
What is the major advantage that contributed to your success?
Without being arrogant, I think that there are several attributes that allowed me to succeed. On the one hand, I only choose organic ingredients. There are only fresh vegetables in my store and that’s what makes my tarts and quiches very popular. On the other hand, I give the remaining items to my customers at the end of each workday. It’s those types of things that make you popular.
Do you have an anecdote to share on the social aspect of your work? (an endearing client, a particular event…)
In this type of profession, you often see the same people, the customers who live or who work in your neighbourhood. France has succeeded in keeping its tradition of small businesses alive, even if it’s disappearing bit by bit. There are fewer and fewer businesses like mine. Nowadays, you have to have a lot of money in the beginning to launch this type of business. That makes it very complicated for people of this generation.
Which product sells the most?
I would say quite simply that it’s the organic bread and viennoiseries that sell the most.
Do you have a favourite neighbourhood address to share with our readers?
I’m often extremely exhausted because of work, and I only ever want to sleep. But when I do want to go out to eat, I really like to go to the restaurant Les Papilles (30 Rue Gay-Lussac, 5éme).
What interested you most about Bruno’s Story? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Introduction // Le Furet Tanrade // Thalie // La Petite Chocolatière // FJ Fleuriste // Rêve // Fromagerie Goncourt // Au-delà des Prés // Le Grenier à Pain // Boulangerie des Artistes // Les Fleurs d’Aline // Gontran Cherrier
1. courtesy of Rencontres sans gluten
2. courtesy of Bruno Solques
3–5 © Jill Craig