I've had it with my boulangerie! I swear I'm never going back. I don't know why, but all of the bakeries in my neighborhood suck balls. There are 4 in a 2-block radius, and a few more that are further away. Let me explain the shortcomings of these immediate 4:
The corner bakery
This lady is the fattest person I've ever seen in France, but that's not the reason I don't like going here. They are rude, it is really dirty inside, and their products aren't that great. I only go here when nothing else is open.
The red bakery
This family is probably the nicest, and it's kinda cute when the mom lets the little kid run the cash register. Their baguettes are OK and their galettes de roi were great, but unfortch for me, the pain au chocolat is a daily necessity, and their pain au chocolats are like bricks. I went almost everyday in January (the season of Epiphany), and I'll go when I need a baguette, but I have given up on their pastries.
This might be where I start going. Their baguettes aren't great and their pastries are lacking, but at least they are very nice and friendly. A bonus is that their baguette sandwiches start at 2.85€ and are fresh made to order, so that they aren't soggy from lying around in the display case all day.
This is the one I used to go to most of the time. Their pastries are divine, their cakes are gorgeous, and their breads sufficient. Last year it was a man and a woman, the man being very nice and the woman being normal; this year the man only works in the back and they have hired an old beeotch who I cannot stand. I'm not demanding or slow, and it's not just me; she is mean to everyone. She'll mess up an order and blame the customer; she'll mess up the change and blame the customer; she'll complain about the order that you say things (ie you must start with the cakes and end with the bread, otherwise she'll be even more rude, if possible): in a word, OBNOXIOUS. I know that the French have a reputation for being rude, but even the snottiest waiter will have southern hospitality compared to this wench. I got really annoyed last week because she screwed up what I wanted, but I didn't realize it until I got home, and so I had to go all the way back to get the missing items that I had already paid for. I got even more annoyed with her reaction, one of defiance and distrust. I politely explained the situation and asked for the missing items, showing deference and not being accusatory or demanding in the least. She immediately started defending herself and saying it wasn't her fault, suspiciously eyeing me and begrudgingly wrapping up the items in question. Why would I want to nickel and dime a place where I've been a regular customer for the past two years? I went back a few days later and this time double checked everything on my way out. As I was doing so she grabbed the bag out of my hands and retwisted it shut. O-kay. I get it. Don't worry, I'm OUT.
The other ones
The Middle Eastern one
The thing is, it's not a Middle Eastern bakery being a Middle Eastern bakery, like the Jewish one nearby; it's a Middle Eastern bakery trying to be a French bakery and it just doesn't work. The only advantage is that they are open til 9 pm.
The Expensive one
I love this bakery, even if it is more expensive (baguettes @ 1€; pain au chocolates @ 1.10€). It has a beautiful façade, awesome creations of the week, delicious melt-in-your-mouth brioche, and crunchy sourdough baguettes. And the people who work there are friendly! I wouldn't mind the prices but it is a 5-minute walk, with my dog a 10-minute+ walk (one-way - you know, smelling the roses and such), and just not doable on a daily basis.
The good baguette one
This place has the best baguette traditions, their pain au chocolats are good, and the girls who work there have always been chatty. The perfect solution, you say? But it is even farther than the expensive one, and totally out of the way - I don't pass it on the way to work or to the metro. Boo hoo.
The bakery near work
As you may infer from the title, this bakery is near where I work, and thus I only pop in now and again. They are beyond friendly and I wish it was in my neighborhood.
Why are the only nice bakeries far away? Why is my quartier haunted by grumpy bakers? Woe is me! (Don't worry, I've already called the Waaaa-mbulance. I know I shouldn't be complaining, Paris is great and I would kill for even the meanest baker where I'll be next year.)
tags: Ah, France, grub, shopping