First opening in central Paris with a single location in November 2017, Bo & Mie is a forward-thinking concept launched by two bakers-in-training, Magali Szekula and Jean-François Bandet. In just a few years, the pair have opened two additional locations and won accolades for their creative, stunningly presented pastries, viennoiseries, cakes, breads, and other items.
After hearing for years about the bakery and seeing Instagram feeds with posts showing off Bo & Mie’s picture-perfect creations, I had to go see for myself what all the fuss was about.
The key to their popularity, from what I can glean? Putting creative new spins on classic French patisserie and boulangerie staples, without deviating so much from the recipes that they eschew tradition. Then there’s the vibe: Bo & Mie feels more like a trendy café than a traditional corner bakery. In place of ceramic tiles painted with bushels of wheat, there’s a stripped-back, industrial feel, with mostly-unadorned walls and large, bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling.
The long counter lined with eye-catching pastries and breads is manned-and-womaned by a team of mostly-young staff, many of whom look like they might DJ on weekends, or show their artworks in tiny galleries. And when I visited, a song from Led Zeppelin was blasting in the store (at 9 am in the morning).
But beyond its “branché” (hip) credentials, the outfit has also staked out a place in the competitive bakery landscape by focusing on both bread and pastries– striving to offer something interesting and high-quality in both categories. Many, if not most, places in France specialize in either one or the other. At Bo & Mie, the bread is made with homemade leavening, and use mostly organic ingredients. Meanwhile, the “Montaigu” butter used exclusively in the viennoiseries (croissants, pain au chocolat etc) is sourced from the renowned Charentes-Poitou region.
Surveying the long display cases, you’ll find everything from handsomely baked, crusty baguettes and hearty country-style loaves (pain de campagne) to neat rows of croissants in several flavors, chocolate eclairs topped with crunchy cocoa nibs, cakes and tarts in various sizes, and a full menu of sandwiches and other savory items. As such, this is also a decent place for an inexpensive lunch.
It only took me a few seconds to check out the offering (at the Rue Saint-Martin shop) and understand the sheer appeal of the mini-chain– at least from a visual and “vibe” standpoint. But I’d have to taste a couple of their creations to form a solid opinion as to whether the hype was justified.
Tasting 1: The Chocolate-Hazelnut (Praline) Pain au Chocolat
I first sampled the bakery’s already-iconic, beautifully striped pain au chocolat praliné, with crunchy chocolate-hazelnut cream piped inside. The signature bake features a beautiful sheen and symmetry, and the clever interspersing of cocoa-infused pastry with the plain creates the striking striped effect. It’s a branding coup, if you ask me.
But, you ask, was it delicious? The answer, happily, is yes. The bake was perfect: neither too crunchy nor doughy and soft. Tearing into the pastry revealed beautifully differentiated, buttery layers.
And to my delight, there was a good amount of the chocolate-hazelnut cream piped inside– not an excessive amount, but a generous lacing that gave the whole creation a melt-in-your-mouth effect. In short, it’s earned its accolades, from what I could taste. I liken it to fusing a tradituional pain au chocolat with a rocher— those crunchy hazelnut and chocolate candies made famous by Ferrero-Rocher. Really, what could be better? This was divine with a strong espresso.
Tasting 2: The Cinnamon Babka
I’ve had a thing for babkas in the past few years, and I love a good cinnamon roll– so the cinnamon babka was one of the items I had to taste in order to form an impression of the bakery, one way or the other.
It had all the qualities of an excellent babka– tender yet slightly chewy, with well-formed layers that can easily be broken off and devoured, and a golden, pleasing exterior. It was laced with cinnamon throughout, but unlike the typical American-style cinnamon roll it was neither too sweet nor cloying, with balanced amounts of sugar and cinnamon.
I didn’t end up tasting the breads or cakes from Bo & Mie on my first visit, but I’m sure I’ll be back– at which point I’ll add my impressions to this short review. But I can confidently say that the place largely seems to merit all the attention it gets. Sure, it places a lot of emphasis on style, but at least from my initial tastings, there’s plenty of substance to feast on here, too.
Getting There & Practical Info
Bo & Mie has three locations in central Paris, with the largest and most central located in the Louvre-Tuileries district. It’s got dozens of seats available, making it an ideal place to grab a sandwich, pastry, hot drink and enjoy a little lunch between visiting the sights.
- Address (Main location): 91, Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (1st arrondissement)
- Metro: Louvre Rivoli (Line 1)
- Tel: +33 (0)1 42 33 49 84
- Open daily from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm
Meanwhile, the original location is located at 18 Rue de Turbigo, 75002 (2nd arrondissement); Metro Etienne Marcel (Line 4), while the third shop can be found at 359 Rue Saint Martin, 75003 (3rd arrondissement); Metro Strasbourg Saint-Denis.