400 Quirks No.11 ~ "Single or Double Bread, Sir?"


"Single or Double Bread, Sir?"


It's a bit of a trend these days, to renovate interiors and leave the outside pretty much as it was, even if the original purpose advertised on the exterior is history. Which is where all the charm lies, of course.

The trick is actually in spotting these reassigned establisments as they are often quite difficult to identify with a quick glance.

In this picture from the 3rd arrondissement, in the north of the Marais district, for example, we are quite clearly looking at an old baker's shop, aren't we. I mean look, they're even advertising all the different types of bread they sell and the guy's salivating at the thought of what he's going to pig out on and everything, right?


This is a wonderful example of one of those buildings I was talking about in the first paragraph and is, in fact... a hotel!

Not that you'd realise and it had to be pointed out to me or I'd have passed it by completely thinking, oh look, there's another cute little traditional Paris boulangerie.

"When is a boulangerie not a boulangerie?"

I actually had to go back to my original photos and find one which actually proves it. Eventually I saw some rather subtle text on the door saying what it actually is, and there's also a small notice in the window giving the room rates, but that's it.

The effort and detail that went into what was, in the end, a simple food distribution outlet is quite breathtaking.

Of course the fancy gold writing on black is dramatic and eye-catching, but as if that wasn't enough, they have intricate paintings of rural scenes, seascapes and country maidens sowing the seed which grows the wheat which no doubt ends up in these very same, err, pillowcases?

But the charm is undeniable and it's worth comparing them with today's version, some of which have made some sort of effort, but many of which are anonymous food distribution outlets. We've lost something folks, and can only admire it these days by looking into hotel windows dreaming of times gone by and trying to conjure up the aroma of the freshly baked bread of yesteryear.

Oh yes, and open sewers running down the middle of the road, rogues on every corner and urchins underfoot. But apart from that, authentic aromatic heaven. 



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© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, requests and comments always welcome! J