“Tu As Pris le Pain?”


Agnes Dherbeys for The NY Times

Jamal sent me this article last week, and my jaw dropped. Apparently, the French are increasingly shunning bread, from a combination of diets and busy schedules, and it’s become a problem for the Observatoire du Pain (yes. France has a bread makers’ coalition). According to the article, the “average Frenchman these days eats only half a baguette a day compared with almost a whole baguette in 1970 and more than three in 1900. Women, still the main shoppers in most families, eat about a third less than men, and young people almost 30 percent less than a decade ago.” Look, I’m doing my part; just last week I bought a baguette after work and shamelessly ripped into it on the walk home. But apparently I’m on the wrong continent.

So an ad campaign was launched in 130 cities around France with the slogan “Coucou, tu as pris le pain?” (“Hi there, have you picked up the bread?”), attempting to remind people to stop at their local boulangerie. “Buying fresh bread on the way home is a simple way of showing loved ones that you have thought about them and of giving them pleasure during the day.” As if I needed encouragement.

23 thoughts on ““Tu As Pris le Pain?”

  1. Just from my observation alone (and granted, this was a month ago), the French are exaggerating this problem. People were traipsing home with baguettes everywhere we looked and lined up at boulangeries for their purchases. Although, now that I think of it, perhaps they were publicity plants.

    1. This was my experience, too! We went to the boulangerie probably 3 or 4 times over our stay, and the lines were always out the door. All times of the day. I was surprised to read this, honestly! Though it explains the “Coucou” ads we saw. xo

  2. Weirdly, I had just read this article before my daily visit to your blog. I was more shocked by how much they used to eat! A whole baguette a day seems insane.

  3. ha ha, a whole baguette a day does seem a lot for everyday, but three?! the average per-person was three baguettes a day and they want to get people to eat this way again? they must not have eaten anything else but baguettes. if wheat didn’t make me feel like i was 70 i could definitely eat a baguette a day, with olive oil and red wine vinegar and cheeses. yep, that is the one thing i miss actually.

    1. It’s not a bad life plan, eating nothing but baguettes all day. That’s actually a diet I could get on board with, but I would be a blimp at the end of a month, without question! Jamal prefers olive oil with his bread, I’m a butter girl, but there is no arguing about cheese. Cheese is mandatory. I’m sorry you can’t eat too much bread! xo

    1. Yes, send them my way, please!! I could hire an out of work baker to bake me baguettes all day, for sure. xo

  4. what is wrong with the french people!? if i had access to delicious fresh baguettes tradi every day i would never forget to pick some up!

    1. I know!! It’s downright blasphemous to shun something so fantastic and readily available. At least it’s not macarons!! Can you imagine?! xo

  5. and i mean “what is wrong with the french people” in the most endearing way because it is obvious i have major greed over them and their country.

  6. On my very first morning in Paris, I couldn’t believe my eyes when every second cyclist had a baguette strapped to the back! I also loved seeing people ripping into one on the back of a Vespa! We easily fell into the habit of buying one every morning (and I am not even a big fan of bread), so this is quite distressing news! Although I think the baguette is far from disappearing – when I was in France a few months ago, I sat in the car of a Carrefour parking lot for at least an hour (I sent Jordan in to get a snack…don’t ask) and every single person leaving the supermarket had a baguette or three. (Just read Lauren’s comment and she agrees!)

    1. Hahaha I love that Jordan was gone for an hour. What was he looking for? Which aisle distracted him the most?? Oh, so many questions! I’m with you, I think the French are making this a bigger deal than it likely really is. My own studies of the French have proved that they still really, really love their baguettes (and other bread products, like croissants!). I don’t think this is a crisis the way they say it is. xo

  7. If the French don’t want their bread they can send it to me, I will happily eat it with every meal. I love bread. Nothing is better than fresh bread with some butter. Yum!

    1. Hahah, I know! If there is some mailing list we need to get on to make sure all that unwanted bread doesn’t go to waste, let me know. I’d be the first name! xo

  8. According to Banoo, being chubby or fat is unacceptable in Paris. It’s like, their worst nightmare. (For fun French practice, you should read the cute graphic novel “Mon Gras et Moi”- about a “grosse” in the city.) We were there a few weeks ago, and what I saw was a lot of French people getting a little…chubby. Even Banoo noticed that the waistlines on average on the Parisiens were getting a little bigger. Obviously, there were the usual stick-thin, chain-smoking, willowy Audes and Elodies on EVERY corner, but the average Joe’s seemed to us to both be bigger than we remembered. Maybe Dr. Atkins’ nonsense about not eating carbs is filtering through to France now. What’s next, no more moelleux au chocolat!?


    1. I tend to take your word as gospel on all things Parisian, given that you lived there for so long! I didn’t notice any excess weight on the locals, but it was March, and people were mostly bundled under coats. Plus I was too busy staring at buildings and crying into my Ladurée box to notice. xo

Comments are closed.