The winner of the Best Baguette 2010 was Djibril Bodian (Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses). Margot’s favorite spot in Paris is the view from Sacre-Coeur, which conveniently is very close to Abbesses. I used my very subtle wit to convince her that we needed to make a very specific stop for our late lunch. I said, “Margot, what do you think ‘best’ tastes like?” She didn’t find the concept as intriguing as I though she would, however, she is used to my food hunts and review reading addictions.
Margot is gently skeptical of my love for guidebook/blog research. She refers to my Rough Guide to France like it’s another human traveling with us, “Frank.” Indeed, there is some truth to her joke that, had she not come soon enough to keep me company, I might have begun speaking to “Frank,” and my camera, “Cameron,” as though they were my travel friends. I take the comfort and involvement of my inanimate travel companions very seriously.
Twenty minutes after my suggestion of the lunch plan Margot was looking distinctly less tolerant of my food tourism. A I turned the map upside down and squinted at Rue names she stared longingly across the street at perfectly edible looking baguettes.
How ironic that, when we finally found the holy grail of baguettes (it was, actually, very good!), we enjoyed that oh so specific lunch in a park dedicated to the value of chaos. Take a look at the photo above; that is an entire wall of lovers who have signed their support to the idea that love is chaos and… yet/so/because of that/despite that … we all love” That’s Margot’s translation. Google loosely agrees.
So what does “best” taste like? Well… really good… I’m no expert baguette-eater and I can’t use a criteria in this category like the highly scientific beauty contest for patisseries. This baguette was better than others I’ve eaten but I cannot definitively say I will never, ever, try a better one. I don’t just mean the 2011 winner. The wall-ode to chaotic love and love of chaos sat grinning down on our lunch-ode to rationality and plans. We were eating the elite, expert approved baguette, at a monument to all things unexpectedly lovely. Traveling has taught us to believe in the unexpectedly lovely. It has also taught us to read up and plan.
Unable to handle the irony and my confusing allegories any more, we went and bought a 4-euro bottle of wine to drink–and like good tourists, had it on the slopes of Sacre-Couer. Uncomplicated. Predictable. Lovely. Best? For that moment.
Find the Best Baguette: 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018.