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Half of Paris’ Boulangeries Remain Open in August

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Closed Boulangerie
The Paris boulangerie with shuttered doors—an all-too-common sight in August. Photo: John Kroll.

Those who dare to visit the city of Paris in August, that infamous month when Parisians do their holy best to get out of town, have likely been confronted by a shuttered restaurant or shop with an unapologetic note on the door saying that they will be back in September and expect to see you then.

But keep in mind that just as French vacationers commonly divide themselves into camps of those who like to vacation in July (“juilletistes”) and those who favor the month of August (“aoutiens”), the city government takes the obligation to provide bread for its citizens and visitors so seriously that Parisian bakeries are assigned vacations, split into two groups and allowed by law to alternatively take off either July or August, switching it up every year. The law dates from 1790, created in order to prevent famine when bread was a major source of nutrition during the French Revolution.

Baguette

The French bread lobby wants you to just say “oui” to this baguette. Photo: smcgee.

(A caveat, however: just because your favorite boulangerie happens to be open doesn’t mean that it’s the A team running the place. The only time I have ever seen a boulangerie run out of croissants? August in Paris.)

Earlier this summer, the national Observatoire du Pain launched a billboard campaign to encourage the French to buy more bread (although 97,6 % of French people eat it, bread consumption in France has dropped to half a baguette per person per day, down from three baguettes per day in the early 1900s, and one baguette in the 1970s).

The campaign is also fighting against public perception that bread is fattening and gluten is the enemy by promoting bread as a healthy diet aid.

Finding your baguette in August

To help summertime Parisians procure their daily bread, the Chambre professionnelle des artisans boulangers-pâtissiers has compiled a list of boulangeries that remain open in August.

Or if you want to geo-localize your next croissant, go here.

About the author

Kristin Hohenadel

Kristin Hohenadel is a writer and editor who lives in Paris.

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