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.
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.
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?
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’.
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.