Last month I introduced a new series on the blog with Carrie Anne from French is Beautiful. The first post took you to a boulangerie and the five different pastries you can order. We are returning to the boulangerie to teach you about ordering a baguette this month. Did you know you can order baguettes based on how much you want it cooked? I prefer mine “pas trop cuite” not too cooked. The softer, the better. If you get a warm baguette fresh out of the oven in the morning, add salted butter, and well, it’s pretty much heaven. For your next trip to Paris, here is how to order a baguette and all the vocab you need to navigate a boulangerie.
Ordering at la boulangerie can be a stressful experience, especially in Paris, because of its buzzing energy during specific hours.
If you go after work (the best time to go as the bread has probably just come out of the oven) or during lunch, there will likely be a (long) line of (hurried) Parisians waiting to pay a (very impatient) waitperson.
No need to stress, however! Simply follow the below dialogue to purchase la baguette of your dreams in French, the French way.
If there is a line, wait patiently and attentively. Know what you wish to purchase and stay alert as the line moves quickly thanks to the impressive efficiency of the madam or monsieur at the caisse (cash register).
And if you are unsure what you want and need time to keep looking before hopping in line, say ‘Allez-y‘ to the monsieur or madam who enters the boulangerie after you.
When it’s your turn, follow the below script…et voilà !
Bonjour, madame ! (Bonjour, monsieur !) | Hello, madam! (Hello, sir!)
Next, 2 examples of what you might ask for and their variants:
1) La baguette
Une baguette tradition, s’il vous plaît. | One traditional baguette, please.
[This type is my preferred. According to a law passed in 1993, it can only contain flour, water, leaven and salt. It is around 1/3 more expensive than a classique. Its full name is la baguette de tradition française and is sometimes called une baguette traditionnelle, or simply une tradition / une traditionnelle.]
Deux baguettes classiques, s’il vous plaît. | Two regular baguettes, please.
Deux baguettes tradition et une baguette classique, s’il vous plaît. | Two traditional baguettes and one regular baguette, please.
Sa cuisson – How much it is cooked
Oui, that’s right – it is perfectly fine for you to ask for the exact kind of baguette that you prefer – do it politely…and quickly 😉
Une baguette, pas trop cuite, s’il vous plaît. | One baguette, not too cooked, please.
Une baguette, bien cuite, s’il vous plaît. | One baguette, well-cooked, please.
2) La boule de campagne – featured in this photo.
Une boule de campagne, s’il vous plaît. | One round loaf, please.
[Boules do not dry out as quickly as baguettes thanks to their shape.]
En tranche ? Sliced?
If you order one of these, you can also ask for it to be coupée, tranchée or en tranche – sliced. An experienced salesperson will offer to cut it for you before you even have the chance to ask – listen for those key words and reply oui or non.
Then, after they ask ‘Et avec ceci ?’ (And with that?) or ‘Ça sera tout ?’ (Will that be everything?):
Non, je prends aussi une baguette / une boule / trois croissants, s’il vous plaît. | No, I’ll also have a baguette / a round loaf / three croissants, please.
[When ordering at la boulangerie, we ask for what we would like one item at a time, allowing the person helping us to grab each item and place it at la caisse with ease – one item at a time.]
After paying, always close the experience with:
Merci madame/monsieur. Bonne journée ! / Bonne soirée ! | Thank you, madam/sir. Have a great day! / Have a great evening!
About Carrie Anne & French is Beautiful
While teaching French, she was inspired to create modern, engaging Paris-dreaming content for French-loving Francophiles. Determined to demystify the French language for inspired French-lovers, she created a collection of online group courses for devoted Francophiles and digital audio programs for inspiring travelers to guide anglophones to a level of fluency beyond their French dreams. Since her move to Paris in 2015, the French is Beautiful offering now includes group classes and cultural activities in France.