Tease Your Tastebuds

IMG_9930I have a real treat for you this week of the very sweetest kind. So sit back, relax and let your tastebuds go totally wild. Today I am taking you inside the boulangerie pâtisserie.

Let’s start at the very beginning because to totally enjoy the experience you need to know the difference between the two. I am sure that for most of you this is common knowledge, but just in case you are new to the French way of things let me briefly explain.  A boulangerie is a bakery that mostly focuses on baking bread whilst a pâtisserie will have a pastry chef and specialises in those incredibly tempting tarts and all manner of sweet treats. There is also the little word ‘artisanal’ which you might see creeping in to confuse you. This basically means that the bread is baked fresh on the premises, always a good sign to look out for.


Personally I like to see a sign inside the boulangerie telling me where the flour is milled.

So now the lesson is over let’s have some fun. This is very much a pictorial post. But I do have to make an excuse, all the photos were shot quickly with my iPhone, so they are perhaps not the very best quality. I didn’t want to go into various places with a camera and make a big deal out of this. I wanted it to be totally natural, on the spur of the moment, exactly what you would see if you were with me and we were shopping together.

Perhaps we should start the day by buying croissants and pain au chocolat, or a chocolatine  as they are known in this part of France or pain au raisin.


IMG_9911The boulangerie is changing with the times. There are now a large variety of baguette along with all sorts of other breads too, complet meaning wholewheat and spelt. Breads made with maize flour and my favourite a viking which is made with rye flour, and this is just a few of the many varieties one can find. The boulangerie has come a long way from the days when it sold just a baguette and nothing else.


But don’t dally, bread sells out quickly!


So now we have our croissants and our bread lets head out together, in the virtual sense of course. It is a Sunday morning in the middle of March. Technically still winter, but spring is making itself known. We are on the coast, in Pontaillac, a residential area of Royan which sits to the west of the main town. Having parked the car we are taking a stroll along the seafront. Watching the surfers making the most of the stiff breeze. There are plenty of people around, all enjoying a morning walk.



Our conversation turns to lunch and dinner and we realise we must buy something for dessert.

IMG_9951We are utterly spoilt for choice!



It’s not just a feast for the eyes, for anyone new to France, this is an entirely different experience and one you should take your time to enjoy.


Everyone buys bread and pâtisserie, young, old, men and women and no-one hurries. There is no use being in a rush, because the locals take the time to exchange kisses and hold a brief, and sometimes not so brief, conversation.


And another thing, this is France, even the dog is allowed inside!


The bigger establishments in the more populated areas are expanding rapidly. Now you can often buy a coffee, cappuccino, tea or  chocolat chaud to take away with you and what’s more the French do.


Plus, and perhaps more importantly you can also select a bottle of wine to go with your meal. I find even the tiniest of places tend to have a few bottles for sale. Nearly always they are locally made, very often organic and well worth trying.


Many places now make sandwiches either to order or already waiting in the chilled counter. Sandwich Jambon beurre  (ham and butter), jambon beurre emmental (ham butter and Emmental cheese), and jambon or poulet crudité (ham or chicken with salad and egg usually) are very popular and readily available.


So now we have spent quite a long time inside and finally we have our box of goodies, it was a very hard choice! Did we go for a large strawberry tart for the entire family, or a selection of eclairs?



Or did we make life simple and buy a tray of miniatures to let everyone make their own choice.


Armed with our delicacies we head back out into the street, ready to head home.


We are lucky, we live just twenty five minutes or so from Pontaillac, it is one of my favourite coastal haunts. It is super busy in the height of the summer but still it manages to remain agreeable. At this time of year it is reserved mostly for the year round residents. There aren’t many tourists which actually is a pity, for they are truly missing out. Of course not every day in winter is like this with clear blue skies and a real warmth to the sun. But for every day when the rain is lashing down, the wind is howling and the sea is spewing angry foam over the pavement there will equally be a clear still day with beautiful blue skies, when wrapped in warm clothing one has to enjoy the peace and solitude of the coast at this time of year.


57 thoughts on “Tease Your Tastebuds

  1. Wow… Just amazing!!! Thank you for sharing all that deliciousness…. and may I say… That last picture is Gorgeous !!!!!!!!! So beautiful and peaceful looking ……………..

  2. Delicious! Living in the states, your posts whet my appetite for our yearly trek to Juillé Deux Sevres!

  3. ahhh…I can’t wait to get back to Europe and those bakeries!! Nothing compares, really, nothing. Thank you for taking us with you on this tour, now I need to find something sweet to go with my morning cafe au lait!

    1. Enjoy! There is nothing quite like a French Boulangerie/Patisserie, I love them even though I choose not to eat sugar for no other reason than a lifestyle choice, but I still love to look and be amazed by all the pastries! xx

    2. A lovely post. Even after all these years my eyes still pop out at the displays in boulangeries and patisseries. Sadly a diagnosis of diabetes in the family have put a stop to our weekly visit to our local patisserie😊

  4. My first trip to France, I recall complaining bitterly to my husband that I was only hungry enough to eat three meals a day. This was as we walked along a street of small delicious food shops. My eyes wanted everything, but my stomach objected.

    1. Ha ha, probably much better off without snacking on all the sweet treats, I find them just as perfect simply to look at, I don’t eat them as I choose not to eat sugar as part of a lifestyle choice, but I still love to look at them and I still buy them for the family xx

  5. A splendid display of patisserie! It all looks delicious.

    BTW, technically the dog *isn’t* allowed in the boulangerie, but it’s the sort of thing that is regularly tolerated. Dogs are allowed in restaurants, but not in food shops, if we are sticking with the letter of the law.

  6. Ah, you’re taking me back to France…or helping me anticipate my upcoming visit this summer. I love both the pastries and the bread, so I’m simply happy in a bakery of either sort (or both.) I’ll take a strawberry tart today, please. I’m also amazed at the low (compared to the States) prices!! I work part time in a patisserie and our prices are much, much higher. Of course we’re also in a high rent area, but still. Spring is on the way. Hurrah!

    Merci, Susan!


    1. Isn’t it fabulous that spring is here, although our winter was very short it’s always nice to look forward to spring and welcome her with open arms. Your annual trip will I am sure be amazing as always xx

  7. Wonderful photos, both indoors where we can almost smell the aromas, and outdoors with those beautiful views. Thank you, Susan!

  8. Temptation is never far away, is it? Personally I have a B-I-G problem passing up a fresh choocolate religieuse, of which our local patisserie really seems to excel. Miammmm! Lovely post 🙂

  9. Am told by my doctor that I can eat the cheese and the bread in France even though I am gluten sensitive and lactose intolerant. Thank you God! Would start walking today to get there but I can’t swim. Pity.

  10. Oh my, how well I remember the wonderful little shops when in France. My husband & I certainly ate our way through many of these places. In fact, I am salivating while looking at the photos. Thank you Susan for dredging up some fantastic memories of fabulous French bake shops. They are as much a feast for the eye as for the table. Blessings, Pam

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Thanks Pam, it sounds as if you had a wonderful time, I can never resist just marvelling at everything on offer inside the patisserie. They are always such a wonderful sight. xx

  11. Arrr Thank you for sharing this, I enjoyed it very much. I feel very relaxed and very “full”, without the calories!

    1. Wait, wait, an apricot croissant…what a fantastic idea! I had to go back and find it (second photo, apricot fans). How did I miss that? Now I have a craving – must find one or find a way to make one soon. So many lovely treats, Susan, thanks for the photos and for the visit to this nice little town.

  12. Oh Susan – love your photos! Temping treats of the food and location varieties! Well, I’ll be not too far away in July… 🙂 Cheers.

  13. Oh Susan – so enjoyed the visit to your boulangeries and loved the photos but you did not tease my tastebuds as I do not bake nor eat cakes or anything with sugar, butter of white flour 🙂 ! Yep: one of those peculiar ‘health’ nuts with only savoury taste buds to boot ! Now the spelt bread etc was a different story . . . .if that was your baker’s shop, when I come to visit you at least there is something I can buy there 🙂 !!!

    1. Nothing peculiar and I can quite understand. I don’t eat sugar at all in any form. For no other reason, than like you a ‘health nut’ and a purely lifestyle choice. So I look and marvel and enjoy and buy for the family but I am not tempted!! xx

  14. Thank you for your beautiful photos which re-kindled my taste buds! I have great memories of a “sandwich jambon beurre” and a “tarte aux fraises” which are the best I have ever tasted, and sitting outside a cafe sipping my “cafe allonge” and dunking my croissant or “pain au chocolat”. The French are experts at bread making and patisserie, and I haven’t found anyone to beat them. Enjoy the start of spring while we are slowly drawing towards autumn/winter here in the southern hemisphere.

  15. Just started keto diet, so will feast appreciatively with my eyes!
    I must say the French dogs always appear to be better behaved than our aussie canines…

  16. Oh my! I’m sure I have now gained 5 lbs! All so delicious! Beautiful and wonderful, thanks for the Sunday stroll!

  17. Merci Beaucoup! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you……
    Now, I need an airplane ticket to France. If I had that 20 minutes from home, i would be happy all the time.
    Pain au raison and apricot anything…….delicious.
    Also Jambon Beurre Emmental once a week at least.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.