I am in the planning stage of putting together a trip to France. From a bread bakers perspective what should I do, see, and eat?
Where in France, are you going?
After leading tours through a number of Paris bakeries, I will say that there is not much in them that you won't see in the US (except their tiny sizes, steep stairways, and the preponderance of oblique mixers) and you might not be able to see much even if you go. Getting a tour might be impossible and you will need to speak French.
I can send you addresses in a PM, if you want, of bakeries I have toured or that the BBGA has toured.
Check out MC Farine's blog from around March 2012 (link to one: http://www.farine-mc.com/2010/03/parisian-bakery-le-quartier-du-pain.html , and another http://www.farine-mc.com/2012/03/award-winning-baguettes-in-montmartre.html )to get her account of the bakeries that she toured (she got the fancier ones).
I have a tip sheet that I share with folks visiting Paris - which is quite popular, but too long to communicate here (as I have spent a great deal of time there). If you want it, you can communicate through PM.
If you are headed elswhere - perhaps I have been there, too. Let me know.
Thank you for your generous offer. As you suggested, I would very much like to get your input so I plan to forward you my travel locations. You mentioned corresponding through PM and that will work well with me.
Best wishes, Frank
I would try searching the net for any open air farmer's markets in the cities in which you're staying. When I was in Caen last summer there was a market in the city square every Sunday. Some of the best cheese and charcuterie I've ever had I got there--as well as the best strawberries I've ever tasted, hands down.
Find this app and buy it. >www.paris-pastry.com<It is put together by David Lebovitz, the famous chef and pastry book writer. The app lists hundreds of bakeries and pastry shops and lists them by arrondissements, which is the different neighborhoods of Paris. You will not believe what you will see in little corner pastry shops in the city. While in Paris just walk your neighborhood and go into each bakery and look at what they can do.
Thanks to all for your great suggestions and I am sure they will be very helpful in improving our vacation.