Vive la France: French bakeries in Santa Fe

This post on French bakeries in Santa Fe was first published in 2013. It was updated on 4/15/2016

Santa Fe has a French connection. It seems that a lot of French people have settled in The City Different. Perhaps it’s the similarities to the South of France, the soil is good for both grapes and lavender here. Whatever the reason, they are here and we are better for it. Bakery/cafes with French or European flair seem to thrive here. Whether you want a croissant, a Croque Monsieur, a piping hot bowl of onion soup or a decadent dessert, one of these places will have it.

French bakeries in Santa Fe

Chez Mamou

Santa Fe food

Chez Mamou on a  Saturday afternoon in winter photo/Steve Collins

Chez Mamou, 217 E Palace Avenue shares a space with Noëlla, a high-end bead and jewelry boutique, is the latest French bakery/café to sprout up in town. The bright interior brings a feel  of contemporary Paris to Santa Fe. Paul Perrier, a popular fixture in town from the now defunct Café Paris, is the baker here.  He learned his craft as an apprentice to a boulangerie in Paris and he’s been perfecting his skills for years. The shop is separated from the kitchen by a glass wall so you can watch Perrier at work. In addition to a mouth-watering assortment of pastries and more, they serve breakfast and lunch, dinner and a patio may be on the horizon for summer.

Clafoutis

Santa Fe food

Clafoutis brings a taste of France to Santa Fe, photo/Steve Collins

Clafoutis, 402 North Guadalupe (505) 988-1809, is owned, Anne-Laure and Philippe Ligier, a Parisienne couple who owned an Albuquerque bakery for years. After a brief return to their native France they returned to New Mexico, this time to Santa Fe. They opened Clafoutis in 2007 and caught on almost from day one. It was the first of the new wave of European bakeries that sprung up in town. Anne- Laure works the counter and greets customers with a cheerful, “Bonjour.”  It makes you want to speak French. Philippe, a classically trained baker, is tucked away in the kitchen plying his craft and he’s a master at it. This little slice of the French countryside offers breakfast, lunch and an array of fresh baked goods from Madeline’s, to baguettes to decadent French dessert. Walk if you can. Parking at peak times can be challenging.

The French Pastry Shop

Santa Fe food

The French Bakery’s been at La Fonda for over 35 years, photo/ Steve Collins

The French Pastry Shop If you’re in the Plaza area and you get a craving for a French patisserie, pop into the granddaddy of Santa Fe’s French bakeries. They’ve been in the venerable La Fonda on the Plaza for over 35 years. In addition to baked goods, they serve breakfast and lunch including a selection of savory and sweet crepes.

Whether you want a French-inspired casual meal, a cup of café au lait or some bread or pastries to take home, stop by one of the French bakeries in Santa Fe for a taste of the Old World in the new.

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12 Responses to “Vive la France: French bakeries in Santa Fe”

  1. Pola (@jettingaround)
    February 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    Oh, this makes me want to go back to Santa Fe! When I was there, I wasn’t on the lookout for French places… Good to know they’re there. 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: St. Peter’s Square, Vatican CityMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      February 5, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      We have some unusual places her that you wouldn’t think to look for- an African restaurant, a Japanese noodle house, a Persian restaurant come to mind and there are more surprises, too. We’ll write about them eventually,

  2. Sue Mally
    February 5, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Georges and I love Clafoutis! They have the best baguettes and croissants in Santa Fe. We’ll have to try Chez Mamou and the French Pastry Shop one of these days. Yes, Santa Fe has a great mix of restaurants and cultures … we love living here!

    • Billie Frank
      February 5, 2013 at 10:27 am #

      Agreed! And from Georges, who grew up in Paris, that’s a high compliment. Have you tried the Swiss Bakery?

  3. Mr. Bill
    February 5, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    The authors of this article may have missed the recent opening of Vivre on Johnson Street (formerly Nostrani). Our meal there was as good, if not better, than any we ever enjoyed in our travels in France.

    • Billie Frank
      February 5, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Actually, this post was all bakeries, We have a mention of Vivre in this week’s Tidbits which will be posted some time today. We’re also getting another French bistro this month. Chef Charles Dale is opening Bouche.

  4. DCJ
    February 7, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Chez Mamou is a wonderful find. the pastries are not to be believed..so far my favorite is the “success”, either hazelnut or chocolate.

    • Billie Frank
      February 7, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Thanks for sharing your favorite Cafe Mamou pastry. We’ll have to try them- I’m a fan of both chocolate and hazelnut. It will be a difficult choice- may have to go for both.

  5. Boo Frith
    May 30, 2016 at 6:48 am #

    Chez Mamou benefits from so many things. Noella, the savy owner, knows the first rule of a successful business: Location, location, location! Palace Avenue! (Growing up in Santa Fe, Palace was, and still is, the gateway to what I consider the “authentic Santa Fe”. It’s a beautiful walk to the Plaza if you start at E. Alameda and stay on Palace, you’ll experience one of SF’s most stunning residential ares. Cross Paseo and you walk past multiple historic buildings and landmarks, as well as unique, locally owned businesses offering character, warm customer service and QUALITY goods & services.) Yes, Chez Mamou’s Chef Paul prepares classic French cuisine and pastries, yet manages to offer a diverse choices with imaginative “twists” to some classics. The seasonal, local ingredients reflect the dedication, devotion and discipline that Noella insists upon. I’m one of many locals who are thrilled to finally have a quaint, downtown cafe offering delicious food and one of the largest, most interesting “boutique producer” “By The Glass” wine list in the city. it’s a fierce place to get your “French” on.

    • Billie Frank
      May 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

      Thanks for the comprehensive comment on Chez Mamou and the Eastside. We have some Santa Fe walking tour posts, but haven’t done the Eastside. It’s a great idea for a future post- thanks for seeding it.

  6. Frederic
    December 25, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    Interesting, “Chez mamou” has that very Parisian bakery interior. Love how you can watch the Chef crafting his masterpieces through a glass wall. I would love to try what they have in shop, definitely an address to keep in mind!

    • Billie Frank
      December 26, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

      It is very Parisian. Fun place to visit.

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