Places to visit


Bread was for centuries been the staple diet of the region's peasants. Nord Pas-de-Calais has some of the most fertile farmland in Europe, with the highest yields for cereal-growing. Using local varieties of wheat, its millers made flour that has different qualities to that made just across the Channel.

Soft freshly-baked baguettes are tasty when fresh, but go stale in hours. French people are used to buying their bread twice a day - "English" sliced bread is a curiosity. But Baguettes only became popular in the 1950's - there is much more to bread-baking in France than this one product.

Revival of traditional French country breads
In recent years, crafts bakers have revived the traditional varieties of bread, often baked in wood-fired ovens for an authentic texture and flavour.

The best of them - like the "PAUL" chain of bakery-patisserie-cafes - use flour milled from locally-sourced organic grain, and make dough without chemical additives.

This page will give details of different sort of bread traditionally made in Nord Pas-de-Calais, and where you can see craft bakers at work - taste and buy their products.

Bakers in Calais bake extra baguettes for British day-trippers - delicious for a picnic lunch with
cheese, but they can be stale by the time they've crossed the channel!

Display of traditional breads - you can see them being prepared and baked in a wood-fired oven in the back of the shop ... the joys of hand-crafted patisserie, made with the best of fresh ingredients
Look out for this chain of "fast-food" shops with a French difference - they've made their name using craft methods of baking French country breads, croissants and cakes, now branching out into sandwiches, snacks from breakfast, luch and tea ...and now some restaurants.

One baker regularly takes a mobile wood oven to bake bread at local markets


Places to visit:
A traditional village bakery - near Hardelot
PAUL bakeries and cafes - see their website,

Related background information
Farming - Nord / Pas-de-Calais ha s the most fertile cereal farming land in Europe
Windmills and Watermills - more bakers are re-discovering the forgotten benefits of using traditional ingredients and food-production methods.




Eating out in northern France © Copyright 1999-2001 Invicta Media Last updated 29th September 2001