French figures: The most controversial pastry in France

One of the most controversial pastries in France is so delicious that some might say it is in itself a good enough reason to move here.

French figures: The most controversial pastry in France
Some (us) might say you haven't lived properly before you have tasted one of these. Photo: AFP

If you have ever sunk your teeth into a soft, warm pain au chocolat fresh from the oven, you will know what we're talking about. 

This exquisite pastry, found in any boulangerie in any French city, town or village (unless they have run out) is arguably one of the major perks of living in France.

But in some French cities, asking for a pain au chocolat could potentially cause a stir.

The reason is that some parts of France staunchly preach a no-pain au chocolat policy. It doesn't mean they don't eat it, they just call it chocolatine instead.


In the southwest, around Bordeaux, some boulangeries seem to take the rivalry so seriously that they charge more for a pain au chocolat than a chocolatine.


READ ALSO: French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine

The majority of the French would say pain au chocolat, at least according to one website entirely devoted to the topic. 

Although chocolatine-supporters would insist that a pain au chocolat – which directly translates as 'chocolate bread' – looks like this:


But recently some have pointed out that the “real impostor” was neither of the two French variants, but the American newcomer: the “chocolate croissant”.


This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particular significance to life in France. 


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French figures: The true spirit of France

This is the incredible story about the teenage girl who became a symbol of France for the ages.

French figures: The true spirit of France
Illustration photo: AFP

The story of Joan of Arc – Jeanne d'Arc in French – begun like many fairytales do: an unlikely hero is chosen to accomplish a dangerous task.

Born around 1412, Joan of Arc was an illiterate peasant girl convinced that divine powers had decided she would fight the English army in France. 

She then did exactly that. 

This was during the so-called Hundred Years’ War, when English troops battled for territory across the country that is now France.

Joan of Arc liberated Orléans city from English forces in a legendary and decisive battle that paved the way for the later French victory in 1453.

Joan of Arc paid for her heroism with her life. She was captured and sold her to the English army, who burned her at the stake in Rouen, northeast France, around 1431. She was approximately 19 years old at the time.

But her short life left a lasting mark on France and in 1920 she was made a Saint. Almost 600 years after her death she is still commemorated and celebrated in France and her spirit is invoked during difficult times for the country.

Known today as “the Maid of Orléans”, Joan of Arc's silhouette is all over the city, ingrained on medallions on the street, cast into sculptures and painted on the boxes of Cotignac, an Orléans culinary speciality.

READ ALSO: Ten reasons why you should visit the French city Orléans

This article is the final instalment of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – featuring every day a person or thing that has a special place in French culture. To see the whole calendar, click here.