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Five things they don’t tell you about baguettes in France

The correct term for the ends and etiquette on eating it in the street, we guide you through some French bread essentials

Baguettes come in different sizes for different occasions Pic: sirtravelalot / Shutterstock

1. La boulangerie

In France’s 30,000 bakeries, the bread has to be baked on the premises by a qualified baker – otherwise it is not a boulangerie, it’s a dépôt de pain

They all sell croissants and many still sell fresh yeast but if you want fancy cakes, you’ll need a pâtisserie or a boulangerie-pâtisserie


Read more: French baguette-making practices added to Unesco intangible heritage

2. La baguette

There are different sizes. 

A standard baguette weighs around 250g, but if you are entertaining, you can ask for un pain, which is around 400g. 

If you just want to slice a baguette for toast without buying 400g, un demi pain, or if you are on a petit régime, une ficelle is 125g. 

Et voilà! 

Read more: Learn from the French: how to order the perfect baguette

3. Le bout

The end of a baguette is called a croûton in the north, and a cul in the north-east. 

In the south, it is a quignon, except when it is a croustet (near the Pyrenees), a crougnon (in the centre) or a crotchon (parts of the Alps). Got that? 

C’est simple, non? 

Read more: Baguette, petits pains: Seven French expressions to do with bread

4. La farine

Banettes appeared in 1981, when independent boulangeries adopted the name to distinguish their bread from cheaper, mass-baked baguettes sold by supermarkets. 

Banettes are handmade from higher quality flour and have pointy ends. 

Photo: A banette is often thought of as more authentic French bread; Credit: Bernardo Emanuelle / Shutterstock

The name comes from the Occitan word baneta meaning ‘little horn’. 


Read more: French ‘cannot tell a good baguette anymore’ says bread historian

5. Les gourmandises

Eating in the street has traditionally been frowned upon in France, with the honourable exception of munching the quignon, croûton, cul, croustet, crougnon or crotchon on the way home from the boulangerie, which is regarded not just as an accepted pleasure of life, but a positive declaration of Frenchness. 

Some things cannot be resisted. 

Bon app!  

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