Bon appetit!
You might like Le Fournil on Eastlake a bit better. Terrible location, but they do make an effort.
When I was in France I was told that the baguettes were subsidized by the government. That could account for the fact that they're more expensive here. Yes, try Le Fournil.
The coffee drinks. Try dunking one of those croissants their cappuccinos.
Please, please go try the croissants at Cafe Besalu in Ballard.
I <3 the French Intern. At the same time though, why on earth are you going to a Le Panier. They are a chain. Most chains are terrible. I echo the Le Fournil recommendation, but also just try any of the local places. Three Sisters in pike place comes to mind. Also the bread makers at the farmer's markets are killer (though insane expensive). Go to the Ballard Farmer's market this Sunday and look at the goods on offer there.
I love this guy.
Julien, you forget that your government mandates the price of a baguette - market price would be higher. I actually think that the bread at le Panier sucks, but their pastries are solid. Never did find a good (or even passable) baguette in Seattle.
Try Bakery Nouveau In west Seattle. Best bread in the city. Also because our bread, from small bakeries, is not subsidized it is very expensive by comparison.
Baguettes in France are a staple. Here, they're a "luxury" or "specialty" food.
There are few things more interesting than a Frenchman prattling on about French superiority. Truly gripping stuff.
Learning to hate the French intern.
try Bakery Nouveau in the west seattle junction.
If by baking powder you mean yeast, ok. Otherwise you have no idea of how to make a baguette, and should stick to eating them in silence.
There are reasons a place might not smell good that they have no control over-the neighbor's plumbing problems for example.
But I don't even live in Seattle so I don't have to worry about the poor quality of the baguette available there.
Kinda weird a French guy has to hear from foreigners how his country subsidizes bread. Julien, you didn't know that? Really?

And yah, you're a snob. (Not that that is a bad thing around food.)
If the bread is too expensive you could always eat cake...
You don't boil pizza!

OK, we get it, your 'meme' is to do the French thing, like Charles’ 'meme' is to do the black thing. Only the white guys at The Stranger get to avoid living the stereotype.

I think Frenchie's role here is to gin up all the queers into dreaming of living in the Marais with this frog.
who told you to go to the pike market anydangways ?
@17 Brilliant.
You're obviously being directed to the absolute crappiest places - maybe after you've been here a while, the hazing will stop, and you'll be allowed to go to the decent joints.
Whatever. I LOVE the french intern. I'm having a hard time believing that he's really from France, but I don't CARE! But do not stop! Keep it up.
I want daily updates from the frenchman on how not-like-france seattle is, it's starting to make my morning.

That said, my mouth was bored through most of france. Hitting the Italian border was ridiculously exciting.

Though if you find a good Brie En Brioche, please let me know
His shtick is getting old fast.
Julien, s'il vous plait, go directly to Le Fournil ( in Eastlake and sample true patisserie in Seattle. Bon appetit.
A Frenchman could say he found the Duwamish polluted and dozens of Americans would find fault with his conclusion.
I <3 the French intern.
The only thing that intrigues me about this post is wondering what exactly the off-putting smell was, since you never describe it.

Is Le Panier that bakery place at Pike Market? I'm not sure if I've ever been inside it. I'd be amused to read your review of the little crêperie downstairs in the Market* and also of Rover's in Madison Park...

*my kids like the Nutela crêpes at that place - last time we were there a HUGE woman rode in on a Rascal scooter, needing to move tables aside to even fit inside the crêperie as her scooter made beep beep backing up noises. Bon appetit!
I <3 the French Intern.
Congratulations on winning The Stranger's annual "Who can write more obnoxious posts than Charles?" contest. You have a bright future as The Stranger's new foreign exchange hipster.
Le Fournil is the place to go. The baker's French and an certified artisan baker. My roommate's French and prefers them over anyone else in this city for bread
I went to Slog Happy yesterday and he wasn't there. Stranger staff claimed that he left right before I got there. Just sayin'.
Julien - if you really want to meet the baker go find him at 3-4 a.m in the morning on Tuesday mixing ingredients and kneading dough. I've been past there at that hour on my way home and have seen him there.
Either this intern is crazy, or there was something off the day he went to Le Panier. It's never smelled like anything besides a bakery when I lived in Seattle.
If this were one of your *own* hipsters doing this, I think you'd find it funny. Because someone from a foreign country dares to make fun of food in the US, all the hackles go up. (And bakery chain French bread IS crap, it's like white cotton candy.) Just take a step back and think: The US (Canada too) leads the world in production and consumption of junk food, imagine what our groceries look like to someone from elsewhere. If I could be so bold (and trollish) this reaction is what sets Americans apart from everyone else (even Canadians), the idea that you can criticize each other, but God help the poor fool from another country who suggests you aren't #1 in every department.
Amazing. Two posts and I've already decided that this asswipe has nothing to say that's worth reading. I think that's a new record.
@29 - If I was the owner of that shop and a woman with a rascal scooter needed to go through my place disturbing people who were sitting down and enjoying their coffee and pastry, I wouldn't let her go through. I'd serve her by the door and let her sit near the entrance. We Americans are too damn nice sometimes and make everyone feel entitled to ruin everyone else's day.
I'm digging his perspective. Thanks French Intern!
@27 No, we would fault if he compared the Duamish to the Dordogne and came to the concusion that US rivers are nasty.
@ 36, I believe someone provided a link very early in the comments on Julien's post about grocery stores, showing how much junk the French consume. They really can't get on any high horse about that anymore, especially with an obesity rate that's steadily climbing too.

People are always going to "get their hackles up" when someone is so critical in such a snobbish fashion, regardless of where the snob comes from. Just look at the comments Dan has gotten on this morning's "No Big Loss" post.
This reads like what I would expect if Mudede made a baby with Publicola, and that baby also decided to write stuff. Not sure how I feel about that.
Go to Columbia City Bakery. It's way far south but definitely worth the trip. Their croissants are killer.
@17 lol
To be fair, Le Panier (which started in Portland but isn't a "chain") does hold itself out to be "French." Grand Central was the first Seattle bakery to use artisan methods. In addition to Le Fournil and Cafe Besalu and the one in West Seattle and St. Honoré in Ballard and so on, don't forget the French-owned, French-staffed, 100% organic Boulangerie Nantaise on 4th Ave in Belltown.

Juilien, I'm reminded of the Hasidic rabbi who takes the train from Noo Yawk to the Deep South, where he's the object of stares and derision. "Vot's da matter?" he asks, "Haven't you ever seen a Yankee before?"

Ne vous-en foutez pas de tous ces cornichons.
These posts are mildly amusing but I guess I don't see the point of going 5000 miles to an entirely different part of the world and then whining that the French baked goods aren't as good as in France. No shit, Sherlock. Try something new. Jesus.
46 for the ultimate bitchslap win.

Truth is, he's getting tons of comments, I'm sure the management is just licking their lips.
Maybe it smelled like fat diabetic tourist ketones.

People. It's a gag. He's winding us up. Enjoy.
Julien is real and he was indeed at Slog Happy last night. He did take off a little early, but I have a photograph of him, Cienna and Grant at 9MiUB.

He definitely speaks French, he's friendly and charming, and reading this post after having met him and heard some of his observations delivered with a smile is less hackle-raising than having read yesterday's post before having met him. Not that yesterday's post bothered me much, but this one I thought was quite even-handed. Maybe it's because I'm imagining it delivered with a smile, the way he talked about university prices in France and in the U.S.
@5 what do you expect?

@4 - DUNKING croissants????

TheStranger, please keep this guy. I like him.
@5 what do you expect?

@4 - DUNKING croissants????

TheStranger, please keep this guy. I like him.

Newsflash: the French are snobs.
Be happy that a good baguette only costs $2.25 in Seattle. In Ann Arbor/Detroit, the only decent baguette to be found runs $3.50 . . .
Based on French Intern's recommendation, I am going to make shopping for pain et beurre ce soir ci.
I"m not reading 54 comments but Le Fournil is terrible. Cafe Besalu in Ballard is the only place making pastries worth bragging about in Seattle. Some people say there's a place in West Seattle that's good but i'm not going over there for anything other than Husky Deli and Easy St. Records.
what's the french intern's job? i mean, the snobbishly charming bewilderment at american life is mildly amusing, but i feel like he should be doing other things...
yeah yeah... revenir à la France or whatever.

If this guy is serious, poor dude. If not, he's got a bad sense of humor.
I love the French intern.
Not exactly de Tocqueville here, but he's not as bad as Mudede either. Cut him some slack, he's an intern.
A Frenchman coming to Seattle for a baggette is like a Seattlite going to a Starbucks in Paris.

Go to Macrina's. Or any other real Seattle bakery, meaning an amalgum of bread styles from around the world, slowly changing a bit to fit our local tastes and ingredients. Or at least go to a sourdough bakery - though the only one I know of is a tourist trap on the waterfront at least it has some local history.
Best troll ever.
Okay dumbass, it's hard to know where to start. But no shit a french bakery in the USA is going to be different than one in France, And Le Panier is the fucking shit. The USA doesn't have the same culture surrounding food we get it you guys are tres superbe, go turn your baguete into a fleshlight and fuck it
Oh and clearly you are a un-cultured french man, because baguettes are not only different over the world, even just in france from north and south there are huge differences in food and baked goods. So suck ma cock homie, suck that shiiit!
the smell...

...did it smell like back home? i mean did it smell like dog piss and shit?
Besalu. Besalu. Besalu. Expect to stand in line 10 - 40 minutes on the weekends though. Get a croissant, a cardamon pretzel, some coffee then die happy. Then go back and try everything else.

The best pastries I've had in the United States, hands down.
Besalu. Le Fournil.

Of course, the best food is one that borrows from certain influences and makes it their own, not food that duplicates another culture to the letter.

And the best tourists recognize this and embrace it, rather than comparing everything to where they're from.
Tous ces americains donner trop d'argent pour le pain.

I remember every time I'd visit France, I'd get way better bread (baguettes) for way cheaper in almost any village, town, or city than I've ever found here.

I like the French intern, and snobby maybe, but I've had the same reaction: after living in Europe for a few years one of the most frustrating things to try to find here is a good baguette. I have tried lots of places (not in Seattle, don't live there anymore) and even the places that hold themselves out to be the Frenchiest are disappointing. They are missing either the flavor, or the freshness, or the texture. (Usually the texture) I'm not convinced it's low quality ingredients or chains, because I've been to artisanal local yadda yadda places (they may make good bread, but they tend to insist on using whole grain flours and cramming bread with olives, tomatoes, and other flair)...and the best baguette I ever had was from a convenience store in a Belgian train station.

I also had the same double take the first time I bought two baguettes at a US French bakery and it came to more than $9. Granted, what we consider cheap US staples will run you more there, so it evens out. It's stupid and disappointing to expect your home country's specialties to be done well abroad, but nearly inevitable that if you'll crave a taste of home sooner or later. For me this was Mexican: I probably ate my weight in catsuplike salsas and slowly sauteed fajita innards at European "Mexican" restaurants before figuring out how to import authentic ingredients and making my own.
The entire market stinks like a whorehouse at low tide. Learn to embrace it!
poo poo,
poo poo
@69 I just gave up finding a decent cheap but wonderful baguette, croissant, or other French pastry in America. It just never happens.
It's been quite a while since I set foot in Le Panier, but I do remember it smelling rather chemical-ly, more reminiscent of a supermarket than a bakery.

French Intern: are you married? Would you like to be?
Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, Julien, do not eat a macaron here. Every macaron in the city of Seattle is sickly sweet and has the texture of styrofoam. The only decent (still not good enough, but decent) macaron I've had in the U.S. can be found in San Francisco.
Welcome to French culture people. When the French make a comment about your dish and you think it's a complaint, it's not. It's constructive criticism but their delivery of it makes it sound like a complaint. Also, they can easily talk about for food for hours. I'm a Southerner, we can easily talk about food for hours. So mix the two together and people outside of the South bitch and whine until they taste the food then rave about how great it tastes. I've cooked for French people many times and they love the food and weren't just being nice.

I recommend the following book to read: Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience by Raymonde Carroll and Carol Volk
@76 - Le Fournil makes decent macaroons that aren't too sweet. I also love their Madeleines.
36: yes.

It's really nice getting an opinion of the two-block radius from someone far outside it, no?

& I am also in French Intern fan club.
Maybe a customer in the bakery had body odor?

Whatever the case may be, I wish Julien would go try foods and other local offerings specific to Seattle -- seafood, local produce and international cuisine -- instead of comparing stuff like bread and frozen food, found all over the world and a total waste of time to talk about.
Julien, you've inspired me. I walked down to the touristy Sourdough Bakery on Pier 57 and bought a sourdough baguette. It was more expensive ($3.21), shorter, and probably less warm than the one you purchased (though they had just pulled bread out of the oven, they weren't baguettes and I wanted a fair comparison). And the place didn't smell much of bread (I wonder if we have more stringent ventilation standards than France). But the texture and flavor was just right (ok, it could have been more sour, but they had samples of their "double sour" bread that was right on target).
If you aren't completely limited to Seattle, you can always try The French Bakery. There is one in Kirkland, and one in Bellevue. I don't know how they compare to actual French goods, but I think they're pretty damn tasty. I'll go out of my way to pick up one of their Napoleons...
Don't mind the negative comments; most Americans think "good eating" is to be had via a trough, and become very sensitive with the onset of cognitive dissonance. How does it go... something like "when one's pride is wounded, one's vanity is most difficult to wound."
I'm another French Intern fan. Keep on writing stuff like this, Julien! Your Public Editor article was amazing as well.
American food is for the most part better than French food. French music is for the most part better than American music.

There, that ought to keep you going for a while. Fifteen more comments and you're two-for-two in the hundred-comment club. Jen Graves is going to cut your throat.
People are surprised that if you're buying a product in a much smaller market, you end up paying more? Ok.

"Oh, if only I had access to a top-notch product produced in a limited, zero-competition market ... for cheap!" Yeah, that sounds bitchy. This isn't a matter of American public being stupid; it's American bakeries being savvy.
Michael Polnareff"s version of "Dans La Maison Vide" runs through my head whenever I think of wrestling. I wish I were making that up.…
This US vs France argument is new and exciting.

also, soccer.
This thread cracks me up. French kids are raised to view France as the center of world culture. Period. They don't mean to be obnoxious, but when they interact with another culture they operate purely from that bias. They are mystified when they offend us because they sincerely meant no offense. Keep in mind that the original meaning of chauvinism, a word of French origin, refers to excessive nationalistic fervor, provincialism writ large.

Mais, tout cela ne fait rien! Bienvenue Julien! Je vous conseil aussi les menus typique Seattle, surtout le saumon, le crabe.
@45 for a concise & comprehensive review. Thank you.

Julien - MOAR bakery reviews PLEASE. And be BRUTAL. YES a majority of the bakeries here SUCK and should this suckness be brooked??? NO! If there's no market, there's no business! So let's make a market for quality bakeries!!!

We should do NYC vs France to see WHO IS WORSE.
@76, sadly, is correct.

God they suck here. No melting in your mouth with a sweet light taste of cane sugar, here they just sit like overly-sugared heavy lumps.
@85 god you're a Heretic.
@92, how would you know? All you ever eat is shit, great steaming lumps of it.
@Mike is right. I write with a smile on my face. And I read all these comments with a laugh in my heart.
Merde. It's akin to going to a Cajun joint in Montréal. A Korean joint in Seattle. An Udupi Indian joint in Bellevue. Or Tex-Mex food in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It's all just plain wrong.

Oh, and speaking of food, ladies and gentlemen: I now have proof of photo existence that the chocolate-dipped honey cruller by Tim Hortons most certainly does exist and, evidently, as a standard item in the location where I found it ON THIS VERY DAY.

You wanna see it? Email me. telsagrills over at gmail full-stop com. I will happily deliver with proof of this cheap, crazy deliciousness. It was awesome.
Julien, il n’y a pas de comptabilité pour tous les goûts américains.

Aussi bienvenue à la cachot humide de Dan.
Ya'll should take French Intern to Darrington for an afternoon, or something similar. Show him the best that America has to offer.
Keep up the dispatches, M. Massillon. Some people need to be reminded that Julia Child learned to cook while in France.
Visit La Belle Epicurean on Fourth Avenue downtown and let us know what you think, please?
Also, do major French cities have as many beggars as does Seattle?
@95 huh. you seems like a genuinely nice guy. Now I really want to punch you.

I kid, I kid.
#95...Julien - love love love you.

    Please wait...

    Comments are closed.

    Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

    Add a comment

    By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.