It’s Official: This is the Best Baguette in Paris

April 25, 2024
2024-04-24 19.10.06-1

Every year, the best baguette in Paris is chosen in an official competition. The baguettes submitted must meet certain criteria. They must be between 50 and 55 centimeters long, weigh between 250 and 270 grams, and have a maximum salt content of 1.4 grams per 100 grams.

Parisians get to vote as well

They are then judged in a blind tasting on the Ile Saint Louis by six randomly selected Parisians – anyone living in Paris can apply to be on the jury – as well as the Deputy Mayor, Nicolas Bonnet-Oulaldj, and representatives of professional associations, on the following aspects:

  • appearance
  • taste (obviously)
  • smell
  • degree of baking (not over- or under-baked)
  • crumb

The old-fashioned façade of Boulangerie Bo in the 12th arrondissement in Paris.

Monsieur Macron’s daily bread

The winner receives 4,000 euros and the honor of supplying the presidential Elysée Palace for a year. Of course, the title also brings a lot of publicity and new customers to the winning bakery, even well after a successor has been crowned. You’ll still see plaques for the best baguette – or the runner-up, or the third-best eclair au café, or the eighth-best bread made with hand-picked organic whole grain spelt (there’s a competition for just about everything bakery related) – proudly displayed in many shop windows years later.

Notable winners from past years

Perhaps the most famous victors include René Saint-Ouen, Antonio Teixeira and Djibril Bodian, who each have been awarded first place twice, and, less gloriously so, Makram Akrout, who was denied the right to supply the Elysée Palace after Islamist messages were discovered on his social media. Last year’s champ, Tharshan Selvarajah, was also a winner of hearts. A native of Sri Lanka, he was praised as a model of successful integration. 

A Parisian woman carries a tray of freshly baked bread from Boulangerie du Sentier to a restaurant.

In the 20 years of its existence, the competition has never been won by a woman. This is not surprising considering that only 15% of professional bakers are women (compared to 91% of bakery sales positions). At least the profession is not in danger of dying out: more than 50% of those working in the sector are under 30.

And the winner in 2024 is…

This afternoon, April 25, after five hours of blind baguette sampling, the jury has spoken: Xavier Nety of the Boulangerie Utopie in the 11th arrondissement took the title. Having had the pleasure of tasting their products many times, we agree that Utopie’s baguettes are delicious, although our personal number 1 remains the so-called Renaissance of Maison Arnaud Delmontel in the 18th arrondissement (which actually won the title in 2007).

No matter where you get your baguette, always remember to ask for a tradition, not just a baguette. French law defines what a baguette tradition can contain (nothing but water, flour, salt and levain) and what it can’t (nasty additives), whereas a simple baguette is an open field for a game you don’t want to play.

From the best baguette to the best vacation

If you want to make sure you don’t just eat the best pastries on your trip, but have the best overall experience, get your own personal travel guide to the city’s best kept secrets, tailored to your needs and desires.