The expression “I was lead to believe…” most commonly translates into French as “j’ai cru comprendre que…” It’s curious because in English we say that ‘you’re lead to believe’ whereas in French ‘you believe to understand.’ It would appear that the English mindset is already offsetting the blame onto someone else, whereas the French are using the emotional to justify the rational… gosh, I clearly have too much time on my hands!
However, if you were to follow what everyone says, you certainly wouldn’t expect to see a master boulanger working out of this far-flung spot in the 18th arrondissement.
Between Porte de la Chapelle and Marx Dormoy, there’s little of note besides the Piscine Hebert, the Marché de l’Olive, a very sizeable Chinese community and the man to whom I pay my taxes on the rue de Boucry. However, there’s also Anis Bouabsa, an accomplished baker who, in 2004, turned heads by becoming the youngest MOF for boulangerie.
Then, after coming third in 2007, he sent shockwaves through the baking community by winning the prize for the Best Baguette de Tradition in Paris in 2008. With this competition comes the much-coveted contract of supplying the French President with his bread for a year. As you can imagine, his baguettes really are very good – the perfect balance of crust to soft dough for my taste – but his croissants also deserve a special mention.
It is not worth crossing all of Paris to come here – for there is hardly a dearth of really excellent bread in the city centre – but it is a rare pearl and, without a doubt, the best boulangerie in this neighbourhood.
Essential InformationAddress: 32 rue Tristan Tzara, 75018 Telephone: 01 40 38 18 98 Website: Au Duc de La Chapelle Opening Hours: Monday – Friday from 5.30am til 8pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.