Last month I introduced a new series on the blog with Carrie Anne from French is Beautiful. The first post took you to a boulangerie and the 5 different pastries you can order. This month we are going back to the boulangerie to teach you about ordering a baguette. Did you know you can order baguette based on how much you want it cooked? I prefer mine "pas trop cuite" not too cooked honestly the softer the better. If you get a warm baguette fresh out of the oven in the morning add salted butter and well it's pretty much heaven. For your next trip to Paris here is how to order a baguette and all the vocab you need to navigate a boulangerie.
Ordering at la boulangerie can be a stressful experience, especially in Paris, because of its buzzing energy during specific hours.
If you go after work (the best time to go as the bread has probably just come out of the oven) or during lunch, there will likely be a (long) line of (hurried) Parisians waiting to pay a (very impatient) waitperson.
No need to stress, however! Simply follow the below dialogue to purchase la baguette of your dreams in French, the French way.
If there is a line, wait patiently and attentively. Know what you wish to purchase and stay alert as the line moves quickly thanks to the impressive efficiency of the madam or monsieur at the caisse (cash register).
And if you are not sure what you want and need time to keep looking before hopping in line, simply say 'Allez-y' to the monsieur or madam who enters the boulangerie after you.
When it's your turn, follow the below script...et voilà !
Bonjour, madame ! (Bonjour, monsieur !) | Hello, madam! (Hello, sir!)
Next, 2 examples of what you might ask for and their variants:
1) La baguette
Une baguette tradition, s'il vous plaît. | One traditional baguette, please.
[This type is my preferred. According to a law passed in 1993, it can only contain flour, water, leaven and salt. It is around 1/3 more expensive than a classique. Its full name is la baguette de tradition française and is sometimes called une baguette traditionnelle, or simply une tradition / une traditionnelle.]
Deux baguettes classiques, s'il vous plaît. | Two regular baguettes, please.
Deux baguettes tradition et une baguette classique, s'il vous plaît. | Two traditional baguettes and one regular baguette, please.
Sa cuisson - How much it is cooked
Oui, that's right - it is perfectly fine for you to ask for the exact kind of baguette that you prefer - just do it politely...and quickly ;)
Une baguette, pas trop cuite, s'il vous plaît. | One baguette, not too cooked, please.
Une baguette, bien cuite, s'il vous plaît. | One baguette, well-cooked, please.
2) La boule de campagne - featured in this photo.
Une boule de campagne, s'il vous plaît. | One round loaf, please.
[Boules do not dry out as quickly as baguettes thanks to their shape.]
En tranche ? Sliced?
If you order one of these, you can also ask for it to be coupée, tranchée or en tranche - sliced. An experienced salesperson will offer to cut it for you before you even have the chance to ask - just listen for those key words and reply oui or non.
Then, after they ask 'Et avec ceci ?' (And with that?) or 'Ça sera tout ?' (Will that be everything?):
Non, je prends aussi une baguette / une boule / trois croissants, s'il vous plaît. | No, I'll also have a baguette / a round loaf / three croissants, please.
[When ordering at la boulangerie, we ask for what we would like one item at a time, allowing the person helping us to grab each item and place it at la caisse with ease - one item at a time.]
After paying, always close the experience with:
Merci madame/monsieur. Bonne journée ! / Bonne soirée ! | Thank you, madam/sir. Have a great day! / Have a great evening!
Helpful Vocabulary for A Boulangerie
Baguette = Baguette
Boule = ball
Classique = classic
Tradition/traditionnelle = tradition
Cuite = cooked
Tranche = slice
En tranche/tranchée/coupée = sliced
Avec = with
Tout = all/everything
ça = it/that
Un, deux, trois = one, two, three
Bonjour = hello/good day
Bonsoir = good evening
Bonne soirée = have a nice evening
Bonne journée = have a nice day
Allez-y = go ahead
S’il vous plaît = please
Merci = thank you
Non, merci = no, thank you
Oui, s’il vous plaît = yes, please
Now that you know how to navigate a boulangerie like a local we would love to know what do you like with your baguette? Salted butter? Brie?
About Carrie Anne & French is Beautiful
Carrie Anne first came to Paris to study piano during college. And, it's safe to say she fell (deeply) in love. She became fluent in French, worked at a French-owned gallery in NYC, played French roles onstage and in film and taught French in L.A. before creating French is Beautiful and moving to Paris. She is a real-life example of Paris dreams come true.
While teaching French, she was inspired to create modern, engaging Paris-dreaming content for French-loving Francophiles. Determined to demystify the French language for inspired French-lovers, she created a collection of online group courses for devoted Francophiles and digital audio programs for inspiring travelers to guide anglophones to a level of fluency beyond their French dreams. Since her move to Paris in 2015, the French is Beautiful offering now includes group classes and cultural activities in France.
Her online students are a famille of elegant Francophile femmes located around the world, gathered to live out their dreams of watching French films without subtitles, ordering a café crème in a Parisian café or simply connecting more authentically with the Frenchies in their lives. French is Beautiful makes French dreams come true, directly from our beloved City of Lights.
You can find Carrie Anne having a café allongé en terrasse at Café Charlot, strolling the jardin at Musée Rodin or writing away at the Bibliothèque Mazarine.