What is ‘Le Grand Prix de la Baguette’?

Le Grand Prix de la Baguette is an annual competition that celebrates the traditional French bread staple, the baguette. Held in Paris, the event invites bakers from all over the city to submit their best baguette for judgment. Competitors are judged on criteria including taste, texture, aroma, and appearance. The event is a highlight for bakers who specialise in this iconic French bread, and it attracts considerable attention both nationally and internationally.

Winning the competition is a prestigious honour, affording the victor not only city-wide recognition but also an exclusive contract to supply the Elysée Palace with baguettes for a year. Past winners of Le Grand Prix de la Baguette have seen their bakeries gain increased popularity and business, demonstrating the significance of this accolade within the baking community. Notably, the champion is barred from competing in the next four contests, ensuring that new talent has the opportunity to emerge.

The competition is a display of the high standards held by French bakers and an affirmation of the baguette’s cultural importance in France. Bakers are required to adhere to strict manufacturing processes to maintain the integrity of the traditional French baguette. In this way, Le Grand Prix de la Baguette upholds the tradition of bread-making that has become synonymous with French culture and culinary excellence.

What is ‘Le Grand Prix de la Baguette

What is ‘Le Grand Prix de la Baguette

Baguette Characteristics

The traditional French baguette, appreciated for its basic yet precise composition, is crafted from four fundamental ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast. In France, strict standards govern the production of these long, slender loaves, with the use of chemicals or preservatives banned to preserve the integrity and flavour of the bread.

A distinctive feature of the traditional French baguette is its exterior, which ideally presents as hard and bears an almost black colour, suggesting a thorough baking process. Yet, inside, the bread is defined by a soft and chewy texture, revealing a well-aerated crumb with proper fermentation signs.

Within competitions like Le Grand Prix de la Baguette, judges evaluate baguettes for their baking quality, appearance (including the even scoring and golden hue), aroma, taste, and internal texture or crumb. These baguettes must not only adhere to a specific size and weight but also must reflect artisanal baking techniques that bring about the best expression of a simple but revered culinary icon.

Key Characteristics:

  • Composition: Flour, water, salt, yeast (no additives)
  • Crust: Hard, dark (almost black) external crust
  • Crumb: Soft, chewy, well-aerated interior
  • Baking: Quality of baking reflected in colour and texture
  • Evaluation: Judged on appearance, smell, and taste

Each evaluated baguette bears the signature craft of its baker, making the competition not simply a display of uniform loaves, but a celebration of individual mastery over fundamental baking principles.

Whole Grain Bread Baguette On Cutting Board

Whole Grain Bread Baguette On Cutting Board

History and Cultural Significance

Le Grand Prix de la Baguette is an annual competition that holds significant cultural value in France. This prestigious event is an homage to the baguette, emblematic of French culinary tradition. The contest shines a light on the skill of local bakers, with the best baguette of Paris receiving recognition.

UNESCO Heritage Status

The baguette, revered for its role in French daily life and culture, was inscribed on UNESCO’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ list in November 2022. This acknowledgement serves to highlight the cultural impact of the baguette, which is more than a simple loaf of bread—it’s a symbol of French heritage. The daily production of approximately 16 million baguettes and an annual sale of six billion reinforces its ubiquitous presence in France. Most French citizens include this staple in their daily diet, solidifying the baguette’s position as a culinary icon deeply rooted in the nation’s identity.

Le Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française

Each year, Paris hosts the esteemed contest Le Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la ville de Paris, a celebrated opportunity for boulangeries to prove the superiority of their baguettes. This section unpacks the competition’s framework and the judgement criteria used to assess each entry.


Competition Outline

The competition unfolds annually, inviting a panel comprising confectionery specialists, prior champions, media representatives, and a selection of Parisians to participate in blind evaluations. The contest is not merely a local event but has a significant cultural impact, spotlighting Paris’s artisanal prowess and commitment to culinary traditions. For a baguette to be eligible, it must adhere to strict specifications: a length ranging from 50 to 55 centimetres, a mass between 250 and 270 grams, and a maximum of 18 grams of salt per kilogram of flour is prescribed.

Judging Criteria

The judges score each baguette based on five critical attributes: visual appeal, bake, consistency, aroma, and flavour. Bakers are aware that every aspect of their product is scrutinised, rewarding excellence in bread-making skills and adherence to the traditional French culinary craft. Winning the competition bestows the baker and their establishment with significant accolades and the honour of supplying baguettes to the Élysée Palace for the coming year.

Winner’s Recognition

The recognition of victors in ‘Le Grand Prix de la Baguette’ is a significant event in the Parisian baking community. It bestows prestigious awards and opportunities upon those who excel in their craft.

Prizes and Honour

The winner of ‘Le Grand Prix de la Baguette’ is not only endowed with the esteemed title of crafting ‘the best baguette in Paris’ but is also revered through substantial rewards. They receive 4,000 Euros and the highly coveted contract to provide baguettes for the Élysée Palace, the residence of the president of France, for an entire year. This honour positions the victor at the forefront of their field and symbolises their superior craftsmanship in bread-making.

In the year 2023, a mere fraction of Parisian bakers, about 10 per cent, challenged themselves by entering this competition. Such selective participation further underscores the achievement of the winner, distinguishing them among their peers. Additionally, the contest extends beyond the confines of Paris; the victor and the first runner-up may progress to regional and potentially national competitions. These contests often culminate at the characteristic Fête du Pain, which is set against the backdrop of the venerable Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

Baguette And Wheat Setup On The Table

Baguette And Wheat Setup On The Table

Competition Results and Impact

The sought-after ‘Le Grand Prix de la Baguette’ determines the finest baguettes in Paris. Acknowledgement of the winners has a significant influence on their bakeries’ reputation and business, contributing to the cultural fabric of France.

Recent Winners

2023 Paris Winner: Tharshan Selvarajah from Au Levain des Pyrénées bakery emerged as the victor of the Paris competition. His achievement has enhanced the status of his bakery among the city’s finest.

2023 National Winner: Ludovic Desoeuvres of La Fournée des Fables bakery in Château-Thierry was honoured as the national winner. His success demonstrates the high-quality baking standards upheld across France.

Charitable Giving

Post-Competition Contributions: The remaining baguettes from the contest are contributed to La Chorba, a non-profit organisation. This act of generosity assists in providing meals to those facing food insecurity.


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