With bread & wine, you can walk your road ~ Spanish proverb

La Grange à Pains

There is no lack of either bread or wine in France.  We can happily attest to that.  As a matter of fact, the choices were overwhelming when we first arrived here.  Steve and I both love bread (and wine!) so finding a boulangerie that suited our tastes was daunting at first.  We began early in our arrival trying a different boulangerie each day.  A scorecard would have come in handy to keep track of where we had been and what we thought of our trials.

It is often said that “word of mouth” is the only way to find the best.  We had been diligently trying “taste of mouth”, so whenever we were in conversation with someone who had lived in Grenoble for a while, we always asked them for referrals for a bonne  boulangerie.  It was not onerous to track down whomever they recommended. On the contrary, we saw it as an adventure, and we needed the bread anyway.

Our propriétaire, Madame Pellissier, had recommended  a nearby baker that she favored.  She gave us his card; he is Denis, owner of  La Grange à Pains on rue Nicolas Chorrier.  One day we were returning from a jog (we are among the few people who do seem to jog in Grenoble), and we realized that we were running past Denis’s boulangerie.  We had about un euro on us so we decided to stop and try ses baguettes.  We were still a little winded, and so lui et ses clients looked at us a little strangely.  At our turn at the counter, Steve made his now famous declaration, “Je suis une baguette”, and our relationship was established.

Denis, La Grange à Pains

Since then we frequent Denis quelques matinées par semaine.  There is another boulangerie (surprise, surprise!) closer to our apartment where we  have stopped, but the bread doesn’t compare to M. Denis’s.  We think Denis is pleased to see us, especially when there are other clients in the shop.  He closes his eyes and nods his head and proudly informs them with a shrug that “Ils sont américains. Ils aiment mes pains”  Then they all smile and nod their heads in return. Then they listen to our attempts speaking French to Denis and smile some more.

I stopped by Denis’s shop after this  morning’s rush to pick up some bread and take pictures. He is very interested in the idea of the blog and wants me to print pictures for him.  His boulangerie is small, but full of character.  There is a birdcage hanging from the ceiling with a bird escaping. He decorates with flowers and antique pieces related to boulangeries of long ago.  I asked him if  he or sa femme was responsible for the look of the place.  He was almost indignant as he answered, “Pas une femme. Moi!” A true artisan!

As for us, we are walking notre rue.Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain quotidien!


Des Bons Pains

  • boulangerie: bakery
  • propriétaire: landlady
  • ses baguettes: his baguettes
  • lui et ses clients: he and his customers
  • Je suis une baguette: I am a baguette.
  • quelques matinées par semaine: a few mornings a week
  • Ils sont américains. Ils aiment mes pains: They are Americans.  They love my breads.
  • sa femme: his wife
  • Pas une femme. Moi!: Not a woman.  Me!
  • notre rue: our road
  • Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain quotidien.: Give us this day our daily bread!

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenny
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 00:28:19

    Ah, another entry that makes me wish I had the ability to taste all the wonderful things you are experiencing….and I’m thinking of the pathetic half a loaf of “French”bread from Kroger sitting in my kitchen. Your posts are really good, Maureen!!! This shop looks and sounds adorable!!



    • steveandmo
      Sep 24, 2010 @ 08:24:21

      I don’t want to make you feel any worse, but that baguette costs me 90 cents in €. That’s the equivalent of about $1.20, and he’s an Artisan baker. The prices are the same wherever you go…somewhat regulated. I wish I could send you a pain au chocolat to have with your café this morning. Google it and see what I mean. We know it will be good when the bag starts to get those buttery spots.


  2. Barb Melchiskey
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 00:28:41

    You are making us drool! Add a bit of fromage to your wine and baguette and you have a hike piece d’ resistance. Now you know how bad my French is, but when we went to our first fromage store and I [pointing to a cheese in the case] asked for 200 kiloograms, you know the rest of that story!

    I have been told that the French baguette formula/recipe is regulated by the Government. I have never not liked any I have had there. Good thing you are jogging and hiking! Love Barb


    • steveandmo
      Sep 24, 2010 @ 08:13:47

      That’s a LOT of cheese. and if you were paying in francs, ooh-la-la! For some reason they include on receipts the euro amount and the equivalent in French Francs. For example, at the marché the other day, I spent 31,62€, they printed “pour information” that would be 207.41 FRF. Oh, that made me feel so-o-o much better considering on that day the dollar equivalent was $42.16. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a € sign not a $ sign otherwise I think I’m getting a bargain.


  3. Catherine
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 01:05:28

    Your description of everything is wonderful! I’m truly enjoying seeing France through your eyes.


  4. Jenny
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 22:54:47

    Awwww, you’re killing me Walsh!! I’m so hungry right now I just can’t stand it!!!!


    • steveandmo
      Sep 25, 2010 @ 14:31:57

      I’m making some pizza dough now… my biggest disappointment is that straight mozzarella is almost impossible to find. Even the pizzeria uses emmental cheese which doesn’t taste as good to me on pizza; it’s stronger. Next challenge is to find the equivalent of cream cheese for Steve’s cheesecake recipe. I think I’m on to a substitute, though. Just have to see if I can find it in the store.


  5. Char
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 19:43:33

    Mo, this blog made me laugh out loud, especially Steve’s quote…Je suis une bagette! I do remember some of my highschool French and got that one right away. Are you going to put all these blogs together in a book when you are done? It would be awesome!

    Love to you and Steve.



    • steveandmo
      Oct 06, 2010 @ 20:10:28

      Char, Glad you enjoyed it. Steve, that old baguette, is getting better with his french. I’ve thought about a book… have to figure out how that would work. Can I put you down for 50 copies?
      Thanks for your note. I really enjoy the feedback! Hint, hint.


  6. Trackback: GEM: The Grenoble Ecole de Management « A Year In Grenoble

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