Paris Mosaic: meet bakery manager Élodie of La Parisienne
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: 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.
Address: 52 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 7am – 8pm; Sat: 7.30am – 7.30pm; Sun closed
Métro: Maubert – Mutualité
Editor’s note: La Parisienne on boulevard Saint-Germain has had a change of management since we conducted this interview. The content published below reflects the actual conversation.
Situated on the corner of the vibrant boulevard Saint-Germain in the 5th arrondissement, La Parisienne boulangerie can almost be found simply by following the smell of warm baked bread and sweet macarons.
The area is known for its lively café scene, and La Parisienne sits at the heart of it; across the road is a brasserie where Parisians nonchalantly sip black coffee, the smoke from their cigarettes forming a cloud above their heads.
La Parisienne’s store design is sleek and minimalistic, highlighting the abundance of culinary delights on show.
When you arrive at La Parisienne, you’re greeted by the colourful, mouth-watering patisseries displayed in the shop windows. The pains aux raisins glisten with sugar and fondant éclairs are topped with swirls of pink and green icing.
Outside, customers sit at tables, enjoying their freshly made sandwiches. Inside, the manager of La Parisienne, Élodie, serves tarte au citron and smoked salmon baguettes, all baked by her husband, while locals queue to buy traditional French bread.
Offering different price menus to tickle everyone’s taste buds (starting with a sandwich, drink and dessert for only 6.90); it’s no surprise that this bakery and patisserie has so many happy customers.
Élodie, a soft spoken but enthusiastic woman, was more than happy to share with us the tricks of the trade. She even sent us away with a delicious fondant au chocolat.
To choose this profession, you need to be courageous and have a sense of teamwork. Of course, you also need to like people! It’s an individual business, not a chain. There are three others, but it’s in no way a chain. This one has existed for 7 months, and everything is going really well! There’s a senior partner.
At La Parisienne we work hard – my husband is the baker, and he arrives between midnight at 2am to cook. At 6am, we start setting everything up, and then we open at 7am. We close at 8pm and we clean until around 9pm. You see, you need to be devoted to this type of work, and accept, even love, the fact that you are going to be working all the time.
What is your favourite moment of your workday at La Parisienne?
I like to advise people on bread. People often think that bread is easy to prepare, but in fact, it’s more difficult than that—preparing bread depends on a lot of factors. For example, warmth or humidity. It’s not always easy, and I would even say that it’s a rather inflexible product to make.
What is the major factor that has contributed to your success?
The fact that we work really hard, as well as our enthusiasm.
Do you have a story to share on the social aspect of your work? (An endearing client, a particular event…)
In this neighbourhood, the people are nice and often have a lot of money, and as such, they refuse mediocre products. There are some people who come every day to La Parisienne, even twice a day, to buy good bread. Bread is important, and a staple of every era that France has been through. It was always a product that people could eat, even without having a lot of money, and was heavily relied on during times of war. And I think that it’s for this reason that the people continue to come every day, even twice a day, to buy good bread.
Which creation are you the most proud of?
The pain de Meule, which is a huge bread that we sell by weight, and it’s one that brings people back for more – it’s our specialty.
Do the French always buy special cakes on Sundays for their family meals?
Yes, of course. Both the tradition and the purchase of these artisanal products remain very important. However, I do not believe that it’s a tradition original to France. It comes more from living in a huge city, which makes people want to connect with nature, to have wholesome products, and carry on tradition.
Do you have some favourite neighbourhood places to share with our readers?
Le Café Madam – a little café on 150 Rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris
Do you like to follow traditions? Do you have a Sunday family tradition? Share your thoughts and traditions with us in the comments box below!
Introduction // Le Furet Tanrade // Thalie // La Petite Chocolatière // FJ Fleuriste // Boulangerie Bruno Solques // Rêve // Fromagerie Goncourt // Au-delà des Prés // Boulangerie des Artistes // Les Fleurs d’Aline // Gontran Cherrier
All images © Stephanie Williamson.