I've gotten into the habit of going to the bakery every Sunday. It all started when Madame Blot insisted I go get a loaf of bread to round out my weekly grocery run, but not just anywhere. She showed me la boulangerie du coin, thus making my initiation to the neighborhood complete. I was only going to get the bread but then I couldn't resist trying one of their pastries. Called a succès, it's layers of dark chocolate ganache and an almond crust. Life. Changing. I ate half the thing before I remember to snap a photo (oops).
Back to the bread thing. The French take this bread business very seriously. I remember reading an article this past summer about how the French government actually recently passed legislation that would eliminate old rules requiring Parisian bakers to stagger their vacations so that no neighborhood would ever be without bread. It's hard to imagine this would ever be an issue because boulangeries are about as ubiquitous as pharmacies here. That is to say you can find one on just about every corner. But careful! Not all bakeries are created equal. Watch out for the ones with no oven or back room in sight. Chances are they don't bake their own bread. What you want to look for is an establishment selling bread fait maison, or made in-house. The second issue is that most of the time a bakery specializes in bread, viennoisserie or pâtisserie, but usually not all three.
After a month's worth of bakery investigation, these are my go-to boulangeries in Lyon:
1. Boulangerie-Pâtisserie des Canuts, 18 Rue Claude Joseph Bonnet, 69004
Remember what I said about not being able to find good bread and good pastries in the same place? Well this bakery is the exception to that rule. Their loaves of bread are that magical combination of crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. A baguette will run you about 1 euro while the larger loaves cost a bit more. Definitely worth it! As for the pâtisserie, I've only tried one (photo above), but everything in the case looks divine. The macarons are next on my to-try list!
2. Boulangerie Saint Vincent, 49 Quai Saint-Vincent, 69001
Since I arrived in Lyon about a month ago I've been on the hunt for a chocolate-almond croissant, similar to one I had in Paris this past June. The search is over. Don't walk, RUN to get an almond-crusted pain au chocolat from this place. A cross between an almond croissant and a pain au chocolat, it's the best of both worlds! All the flaky, buttery goodness of a croissant, plus chocolate and almonds, all toasted to perfection.