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Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:52 PM

202-Year-Old Paris Bakery, City's Oldest, Forced to Close

Source: Delish.com

After more than two centuries in business, Paris's oldest bakery has baked its final baguette. Au Grand Richelieu Boulangerie will close its doors following a landlord's decision to double the location's rent price. Claude Esnault, the proprietor, told Reuters, "I would like to see someone take over the bakery, but I know it will close. It will die." The rent is increasing to €18,000 to stay in line with the prices in the neighborhood.

Locals fear the entire neighborhood will soon change, leaving residents without shopkeepers who have served the area for years. Esnault likened it to a village where there are no essentials — no bakery, nor school. In place of this 202-year-old institution (history lesson: the bakery was around when Napoleon was Emperor of France) will be a bakery, but one that makes sweets, not what the French call "le pain quotidien," the daily bread.

Le Richelieu is located in the 1st arrondissement, one of the most expensive areas in Paris. Esnault has been the owner since 1969. According to Europeforvisitors.com, the tiny shop produces more than 400 baguettes, 200 croissants, 150 pain au chocolate, and dozens of other pastries per day. Unfortunately, it's time to bid the shop adeiu.

Read more: http://www.delish.com/food/recalls-reviews/oldest-bakery-in-paris-closes-after-202-years



Another problem with inequality: finite space leads to infinite rents.

31 replies, 4354 views

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Reply 202-Year-Old Paris Bakery, City's Oldest, Forced to Close (Original post)
Recursion Jan 2013 OP
Schema Thing Jan 2013 #1
closeupready Jan 2013 #2
MynameisBlarney Jan 2013 #3
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #23
Great Caesars Ghost Jan 2013 #4
SoapBox Jan 2013 #5
hedgehog Jan 2013 #6
Cleita Jan 2013 #7
Recursion Jan 2013 #8
Cleita Jan 2013 #12
Recursion Jan 2013 #13
alfredo Jan 2013 #9
Recursion Jan 2013 #10
alfredo Jan 2013 #16
aint_no_life_nowhere Jan 2013 #11
Joe Bacon Jan 2013 #18
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #14
rtassi Jan 2013 #15
riderinthestorm Jan 2013 #22
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #24
riderinthestorm Jan 2013 #25
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #28
riderinthestorm Jan 2013 #29
KansDem Jan 2013 #17
slackmaster Jan 2013 #19
smirkymonkey Jan 2013 #20
graham4anything Jan 2013 #26
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #21
graham4anything Jan 2013 #27
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #30
aint_no_life_nowhere Jan 2013 #31

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:54 PM

1. This makes me sad. And seems very un-French-like to allow to happen.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:55 PM

2. Sad, but just another data point in a long-term trend.

Just like in the US, neighborhood institutions and mere-et-pere stores have been closing in the wake of encroachment from larger enterprises like Carrefour and Monoprix/Uniprix, over the course of the last 40 years, if not longer.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:56 PM

3. This makes me sad

I think it's important for some things to endure.

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Response to MynameisBlarney (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:18 PM

23. Been thinking the same thing from my own job today

I'm working on a project that involves researching the history of a lot of the big cargo and passenger shipping lines. It's weird seeing how many of the worldstriding giants of the turn of the 20th century are either no longer around, or are swallowed up by some impersonal compound of acronyms. A few of the old ones are still very much around, but as shadows of what they once were.

I know intellectually that that's always how it's been - the business that lasts fifty years is rare, one that lasts a century very much so, and ones going past that are very much few and far between. That's always been the case. It's still sad to see it happen though.

It's a smaller level in town, but a well-respected longish-running used bookstore got kicked out of the downtown core last year because the landlord doubled the rent. He didn't go out of business entirely - in fact, the bastard went and set up shop down the street from where I live, meaning my commute is a daily struggle not to just sign my paychecks over to him for convenience's sake - but it still makes me sad that that old downtown fixture, every bit the cliche of an eccentric used bookstore, is empty now.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:57 PM

4. Thats a pisser

 

Me and my husband went to Paris on our honeymoon and got the best baguettes I ever had there!

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:59 PM

5. "Landlords"...Lords is right...

We had two different business locations, where the BASTARD landlords literally drove us to close those locations.

The never ending rent increase paired with doing/fixing absolutely nothing.

One location then sat empty for just over a year and the other, after 2 years, is still empty.

Bastards.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:05 PM

6. You would think that at least one land lord would more or less

subsidize the rent on the bakery to make the area more attractive. I think what we have here is a variation on the tragedy of the commons - no one wants to make the investment that helps everyone.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:31 PM

7. Too bad they don't have some kind of historical society that protects

institutions like that.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:32 PM

8. Oh, they protect the building. The new place still has to *look like* a 19th-century mom and pop

It just doesn't have to, you know, actually be one.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:20 PM

12. I wasn't talking about the building. I avoided that word, but used institution instead.

We have such a thing in my town. It can be a pain in the neck sometimes. Like we have a market that has gone empty because not only is the building a historical building but it can only be used as a market so any other kind of business would be rejected.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:23 PM

13. I remember that working in downtown Annapolis

The "historical" types irritated the hell out of us. We even brought in a contemporary painting from the 1780s showing that shopkeepers back then used the exact kind of big bright banner we wanted to, and they basically said "we don't care what was actually historic, we care what looks historic to us".

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:40 PM

9. A McDonalds or KFC to take its place?

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Response to alfredo (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 02:52 PM

10. Georgetown Cupcakes: Champs d'Elysee Annex (nt)

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Response to Recursion (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:12 PM

16. I'm thinking Papa John's or a Hooter's.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:06 PM

11. Just thinking about the great bread I had in France is making me hungry

but I prefer the "pain restaurant" or "flute" size which is wider than the baguette. There are lots of types of breads in France other than what we normally see in French bakeries in the U.S. The best bread I had in France was fresh-from-the-oven "pain de campagne" or country bread you can buy in small villages that is large and is made with whole wheat or rye. The crust was amazing. When I went to high school for a year in France in the 1960s, one of my school friends invited me to a tiny village in the Ardeche region that his father was helping to restore and that dated from the early middle ages and had about 200 inhabitants. The inner streets were too narrow to admit cars and the walkways were often covered with habitations overhead (like tunnels). I bought some country bread to take home on the train but the baker wouldn't sell more than one of the giant loaves to an outsider because he didn't want to run out of bread for the regular customers. That bread with wine, a little local cheese and sausages or cured ham (or local preserves and strong coffee) makes a feast.

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Response to aint_no_life_nowhere (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 06:08 PM

18. WOW!

Oh that loaf looks so scrumptious!

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:28 PM

14. After 200 years the bakery does not own the location?

That seems a little strange.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 03:35 PM

15. Well, that was my first thought ...

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:13 PM

22. I know. We rented our farm for 3 years with the agreement we'd either buy it at the end

of we'd leave. It was a LOT of money to buy at the time but 3 years of a solid growing business, and a plan for continuation was more than enough to persuade the bank (several banks actually) to loan to us.

Its hard to believe the owner of the bakery business never bought the building. Maybe they did and its not part of the story but I would imagine that would be part of any reporting on something this controversial.

Also, the bakery BUSINESS can continue in a different location. That particular biz can move and continue on elsewhere. I suppose its the romance of it being the same biz in the same location?





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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:18 PM

24. If the rent's that high I don't want to think of what buying it would cost. (nt)

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #24)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:26 PM

25. The current owner of that bakery business has owned it since 1969. The rents only doubled this year

So he could have bought the building much cheaper anytime in the preceding years...

Furthermore, the bakery BUSINESS (that's closing) is different than the building (which is remaining intact and will house ANOTHER bakery business, just not this one that's been operating under this name for 200+ years).

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #25)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:50 PM

28. Assuming the owner was willing to sell

Chances are someone owns the whole building complex that thing's in - you can't just buy chunks of properties like that. The region being what it is, the building staying in the same family or chain of companies over that period isn't unreasonable.

If you owned a property valuable enough that you could charge eighteen thousand euro a month - or nine thousand - for a slice of it, I doubt you'd be willing to part with it for the kind of price any one of your tenants could scrape together. Bakeries aren't exactly high-margin businesses.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #28)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 09:31 PM

29. Very true! All very valid points. nt

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 04:44 PM

17. Wow!!! Napoleon might have stopped in for a croissant...

...on his way to Waterloo!


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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 06:11 PM

19. Interesting story

 

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 07:47 PM

20. Very sad, I saw so many great mom & pop businesses go under in NYC.

They gave the city it's charachter. Now it's just a collection of big box stores and chains on every corner. It's so sterile and boring. It's a tragedy, really.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:36 PM

26. Manhattan has kept Walmart out for years now thanks to the current mayor

 

I see thousands of mom and pops in Manhattan

Ever go to Zabar's?
Simply the best cheese/bread/lox/coldcuts etc.
81st and Broadway

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:07 PM

21. This COULD have been the bakery

Jean Valjean stole that loaf of bread from.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 08:39 PM

27. Jean Valjean was a fictional character in an old book. But it could have been Belle

 

The amazing part of France is, they have the best health care, the best food, all of it fattening, yet all the people there are skinny and healthy.

They don't need to be told not to eat too much, they just know it.
Which is why they can all fit in smart cars and save money on gas

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 01:32 AM

30. I know Valjean was a fictional character.

My point was simply that this bakery existed at the time the fictional character existed.

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Response to graham4anything (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 05:15 AM

31. When I spent a year in France attending a French high school in Marseille

I took an excursion boat out of the harbor to visit the ancient island prison the Chateau D’If, which was the place where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned in the novel by Dumas. The tour guide took our party to a prison cell that had a tunnel in the floor, telling us that this was the hole dug by Edmond Dantes and the Abbé Faria for escape. A few tourists chuckled but no one said a word, assuming it was part of the fun and local color (Marseille people are well known to enjoy exaggeration and tall tales).



After living in France and experiencing my own weight loss while living there, I noted two things: people walk a lot, especially downtown and they don't eat between meals.

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