H&H Bagels in Paris

Poppyseed Bagel

I love a good bagel: what’s not to like? Big, chewy, yeasty, and so generously sprinkled with interesting stuff for textural contrast. I like the top as much as the bottom, but the hole in the middle has to be the best part.

I first discovered bagels when we moved to the US, in the form of pre-sliced blueberry bagels from the grocery store — I know, I know. We were addicted to them for a while, until one day we couldn’t stand the artificial blueberry flavoring anymore — such a betrayal of the dainty savors of the pretty berry — and we switched to more orthodox and fresher versions. California is probably not the best part of the US for a bagel fan to live in (New York City, anyone?) but it beats Paris any day.

I had already experimented with several Parisian resources to fuel my bagel needs — from the Jewish delis on the rue des Rosiers to Belleville, Lafayette Gourmet or even Picard — and although they were acceptable substitutes, the bagels were never quite what I was looking for: too bready or too briochy or altogether bland.

And then someone tipped me off on the Bagel Store in the Marais, a small and bustling restaurant that serves NYC-inspired lunch fare, called Little Italy, Park Avenue or Delancey Street: sandwiches, salads, wraps and yes! bagels. Not just any old bagels either, H&H bagels, frozen and shipped from New York.

I was just returning from lunch myself so I didn’t sit down to eat, but I bought a package of four poppyseed bagels (4.60€), the other varieties being onion, sesame, “everything” or cinnamon raisin. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they had fared through the freezing process and the whole let’s-fly-over-the-Atlantic-in-an-insulated-crate thing. Droplets of moisture in the bag and the bagels’ slightly smooshed silhouette were the only giveaways.

Thankfully, a quick toasting easily erased all traces of travel fatigue, and the four of them have now disapperared in various breakfast or quick-a-licious dinner concoctions.

Bagel Store
31 rue de Turenne
75003 Paris
01 44 78 06 05

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  • clotilde, are you able to procure cream cheese as well? new york bagels are indeed amazing (must be something in the water)… i’ve discovered a mini bagels at my downstairs cafe – a smaller version of the original – makes for a fantastic breakfast!

  • charlotte

    Hey, Clo ! good news !
    I used to live in NY and, just like you, quickly became a bagel-addict! Back in Paris, imagine my pleasure when a bagel store opened 2 streets away from my office! So, another great bagel place in Paris, serving delicious bagel sandwiches at lunchtime (or you can try the warm poppyseeds-nutella bagel for the “goûter”!), at Métro Saint-Placide, rue Notre-Dame des Champs, in the 6th: a very small shop (forgot the name!): they have real cream cheese, smoked turkey, pastrami, etc… different sauces (blue cheese, sweet mustard, moutarde au miel, à l’ancienne, mayonnaise), and all the several sorts of bread you already mentioned, toasted. Plus, the very sweet lady who runs this delectable and adictive place makes her own cheesecake , and told me it was the best (I am not a cheesecake fan, so i never had it) !!! (je suis un peu bête de donner le tuyau, y a déjà trop de monde à midi, et la queue s’allonge)…
    Re-Plus: We parisians, can find the true Philadelphia cream cheese at Lafayette Gourmet, or at the Grande épicerie de Paris… En cas de panne, le Kiri fait presque la blague… mais bon, rien ne vaut l’original!!!
    à bientôt

  • kim

    Mmmm bagels. I do go for the Picard variety occasionally… there are (naturally) no bagel joints in Le Havre, so it’s the best I can do, but I must admit they are v. good (despite that they only come in plain, but paired with some smoked salmon they are absolutely divine).

  • i used to eat great bagels when i lived in santa monica and long beach, ca. Sadly, they suck here in ontario. I’m going to try baking my own. I just need to set aside 2 days. Check out the Bread bakers apprentice cookbook. I heard they have the best recipe there.

  • Ben

    Randi, I strongly object to your comment about Ontario. We have some of the best bagels in the world in Toronto and Ottawa. They are based on the Montreal version, but I say that with time they evolved to be better than Montreal bagels. And I’m not the only one (bonus recipe):


  • Ben,

    I agree with you. Randi, it’s sad that you didn’t find good bagels in Ontario. As the editor of The French Side of Toronto (www.franco-toronto.ca), I can assure you there are many bagel shops that are as good at the Montreal St Viateur Street bagels. As an ex-Montrealer, I know a good bagel when I taste one and you can find them in Toronto!!!

    We’ve got it all in Toronto even loads of amazing French food, hence the reason for writing the book!

  • Clotilde, je suis une lurkeuse… mais je dois vous remercie millieurs fois pour cela.

    BAGELS, comme j’ai envie! Et maintenant j’ai mon “brunch” du dimanche pret. S’il y a “salmon flavored cream cheese” je vais aller directement au paradis grace à vous.

    Pour le rest qui cherche un “cream cheese” sans le haut prix. Je suggère d’essayer St. Moret. Il est le MEME chose. Je suis sûr que si vous faites l’essaie “blindfolded,” vous pouvez pas gouter le difference entre St. Moret et Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

  • Patsy

    How lucky can you be, to live in Paris and have H&H bagels, as well? Here in Marin County we have a passable local version (Marin Bagel Company) but nothing like the authentic Manhattan variety. I still miss them, decades later.

    I used to give my son hard, yesterday’s bagels when he was teething and once my photographer husband unpacked his bag in a Moscow hotel and found one well-used half stowed there by our toddler.

    Bagels should be small — not gargantuan;
    firm — not fluffy, and as fresh as possible. Warm is the ultimate!

  • emi

    I was tickled to read this latest post b/c here I am excited about my new jam from paris not even thinking for a second that there are things that parsiens want from America! Who knew? : )

  • Joan

    a certain brunch ~ golly how many years back! the home of a dear friend’s mum…can still picture the table….many of us..a platter of bagels, gorgeous bowl of cream cheese, and the most luscious smoked salmon imaginable…what an introduction to Bagelworld!

  • NYC (and outerlying areas) definitely has the market on the best bagel, but the one you have pictures looks pretty good!

  • Deste

    A few years ago, some friends rented an apartment in Paris for the summer and I decided to return to the city for the first time in more than 20 years. At first I was shocked and saddened to discover how much had changed in the same way that London had decades before: the US was everywhere!!! Well, it took about a day to adjust and the rest of my time was magical. This paen to bagels provides an antidote to the evil wrought by companies such as McDonald’s. It would be hypocritical of North Americans to covet the cosmopolitan food stuffs that fill our pantries and our stomaches yet worry that the rest of the world is being corrupted by outside influences. (By the way, I once rented a room from a very old widow in Florence who did not realize her beloved Philadelphia brand cream cheese was American!)

  • Ant

    Mmm… bagels… delicious. My favourite (at the moment, at least) is onion, but there are just so many to choose from.

    On a similar note (round? Yes. With a hole? Yes. Bread-based? Almost.) I just tasted my first ever Krispy Kreme doughnut today. The verdict? Oh my, they really are worth the hype. I went right out after work and bought four to share with my wife this evening. (She’s been wanting to try them for ages.)

  • Ana Cardia

    Clotilde, I love your blog! It is the prettiest one!
    I got so inspired by you and another blog I like that after visiting you everyday I decided to create a blog myself. Just for fun and to share some of my cooking experience with friends and family!
    I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful blog, I really enjoy visiting you!
    Also, the other day a friend of mine made your pistachio surprise cake and it came out so awesome!

  • Joe

    H & H bagels are phenomenal. I often go to their shop near 79th St. on Sunday mornings when the bagels are nice and fresh. They have a website and ship their stuff pretty much anywhere.

  • I made the mecca-like trip to H & H a couple years ago. I think they’re worth the hype. Glad you have access to them abroad!

  • My heart just skipped a beat! H/H are my favorite bagels. Ask any American what they miss from home, chances are it will be peanut butter and bagels.

    Although just for your information and that of your readers, you can order H&H Bagels by the dozen from their website for delivery worldwide. At least now buying them from this store, you don’t have to take up your freezer space with dozens of bagels!

  • Oh Clotilde, you lucky, lucky woman. J’adore H&H.

    When I lived in New York, for years, I lived off of H & H bagels. I never tired of biting into their dense chewiness, the solid airiness of taste. My best friend and I had a ritual: every Sunday we’d buy cinnamon raisin bagels, lox cream cheese, and the New York Times. We’d sit at my kitchen table and drink milky coffee with gorgeous bagels and read all morning long. I do believe we each had two!

    It’s a good thing I don’t live in New York anymore. Bagels really stink anywhere outside of New York. (That could promote a firestorm of comments, but never mind.) I can’t eat bagels anymore. (One of my supreme goals as a cook now is to invent a good gluten-free bagel.) If I had to walk by H & H on 79th, and smell that bagel flour wafting from the vents, every day, I think I’d go mad.

    Enjoy one for me.

  • At the request of a volunteer for the Abita Spring Fire Derartment in Abita Aprings, LA, I’ve just posted a listing for disaster relief for someone who can cook: Volunteer Cook Needed.

    I seemed to me that one of your readers might be interested in volunteering.

  • Ha, speaking of bagels. I was so excited this morning when my boyfriend woke me up with a bag of bagels and delicious Philadelphia onion/chive cream cheese. What a treat. I try to stay away from the carbolicious bagels but I couldn’t resist this morning and I had 1 1/2 bagels, blending a little of sesame with everything. I remember when I lived in France ’91-’94 that was one of the things I missed the most (besides Kraft macaroni and oreos and peanut butter). Maybe things have changed since then and these things are more accessible now …I can’t remember the name of the place we used to go..general store or real mccoy?

  • Allô Clotilde–
    For more on bagels–their history, their lore, their science, etc.–you might want to check out Edward Behr’s fascinating little digression on the topic in his profile of Montreal (The Art of Eating, No. 69, Summer 2005). Montreal is a “serious” bagel town and it has been for about 100 years, so Behr gives the bagel scene and the “Kievan” variety that has become known as the “Montreal bagel” a serious look. Worth checking out.

    As for the best city for bagels… In this day and age, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city that has more than one quality bagel shop. New York has great bagels, but you still have to look for them, and they’re not as readily available as most people seem to think they are. Montreal has great bagels, but there’s only really one bakery that produces them (thankfully they produce them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year). Trust me, there are great bagels in places like Boston, Miami, Toronto, and New Jersey, but you have to be prepared to look for them.

  • Cat

    We have H&H in Dublin, Ireland, too. I’m excited to know we’ll still be able to get them in Paris – we’re just about to move over there. Excited as I was about the food opportunities, I hadn’t stopped to think that we might miss out on the wednesday night bagel feast.

  • Matt

    When I was in Spain, there was a store that imported mini bagels- for a euro a piece (about $1.20). I didn’t miss bagels that much to warrant a purchase. However, I have heard of people who are willing to pay big bucks for peanut butter when they are abroad as it really doesn’t exist in other countries, sadly.

  • Hi, Clotilde! I’m a lurkeuse too and just came over here from LaCoquette.

    I’m not a foodie but I love H & H bagels and live in Paris too. You can get them at the Real McCoy on rue de Grenelle/avenue Rapp in the 7th, too. I like the poppyseed ones best. We just use Kiri for the cream cheese– it tastes fine on a bagel and you don’t have to go all the way to Galeries Lafayette.

  • Jenny

    You are making me so sad! I used to live between 1st and 2nd ave in Manhattan. H&H was just around the corner! Now I am in Michigan, and while every so often I can find a good bagel, it’s never the sure thing I had when I lived there : (

  • anais***

    bonjour pourai-tu mm’envoyer la recette des bagels … a paris je n’en trouve pas.. merci

  • Hi, Vince from St-Viateur Bagel in Montreal. Yes the famous one that is open 24 hours. Our bagels are completely different from our NY cousins. We still hand roll every bagel and bake them only in wood-fired ovens. It will be 50 years soon. Our bagels are smaller, lighter and crispier than NY`s. We have just launched our web-site http://www.stviateurbagel.com and are now shipping bagels across Canada. we will start US shipping early 2006. Feel free to email me for any info. thanks

  • For the poster in Le Havre who can’t get bagels – if you have a bread machine, it’s not too hard to make them yourselves. You make the dough in the machine, then shape, boil, and bake them. The secret is to use molasses in the boiling water to get a nice rich glaze on them. But it’s not that easy to get molasses in France either, unless you have a health food shop nearby!

  • Patricia

    When I lived in NYC, I was a regular at H & H on West 79th St., often buying them still piping hot. On a recent trip up to Paris from Northern Provence, where I live now–a bagel-less land, though admittedly possessed of other excellent qualities!–I was pleased to discover H & H bagels are also sold (frozen in a 4-pack) at Thanksgiving, 20, rue Saint Paul 75004 /Tel: 01 42 77 68 28 or 29.

  • Michael

    We were very excited to find these when we were living in Brussels. A Euro a piece but well worth it.

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