Baguette prices rise in France after poor wheat harvest

A worldwide increase in wheat prices after bad harvests in Russia is forcing French bakers to raise the price of that staple of life in France - the baguette.

Baguette prices are rising in France
Baguette prices are rising in France. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Boulangeries around France have begun putting up signs warning their customers of an increase in the price of their favourite bread due to rising costs.

A terrible harvest in Russia and Ukraine, which produce a large portion of the world’s wheat, has pushed up prices while French boulangeries are also affected by the rise in gas prices.

As a result, many bakers have told French media they have been forced to increase the price of a baguette, usually by around 10 cents, while others have kept baguette prices low but increased the costs of their other breads to cover their own costs.

READ ALSO Baguettiquete: Weird things the French do with bread

According to Dominique Anract, president of the Confédération nationale de la boulangerie-pâtisserie française, the average price of a baguette today is 89c, a price that has risen just 23c in the last 20 years.

The majority of boulangeries still offer baguettes for €1 or less, while many also offer a ‘tradition’ – a baguette baked to the traditional recipe of just four ingredients – for around 10c more than the price of a standard baguette.

Anract said: “The world price of wheat has risen. Almost all millers have passed on this increase in the price of flour since the end of the summer. And for the last bakers who still benefit from set rates, the contracts will be reviewed at the end of the year.”

To say baguettes are popular in France is a wild understatement – the French eat 10 billion of them per year, or one every 320 seconds.

Pretty much every meal in a French restaurant or café comes with an accompanying basket of sliced baguette (even pizza) and munching the top off a still-warm baguette is pretty much the only socially acceptable street snack in France.

The French culture ministry has even submitted an application to UNESCO to give the baguette world heritage status, a decision is expected next year.

READ ALSO What you need to know about the French baguette

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Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.