The streets are on fire, but that won't stop the intrepid Luis Sal from travelling across Paris to find the city's best pastry shops.
Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of hungry men?
When an Italian videographer went to Paris to find the top five croissants, his search for that most delicious of French pastries put him toe-to-toe with one of the biggest protests in years.
Luis Sal is a 25-year-old food blogger went to Paris in the midst of the 6 April protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s new legislation to raise retirement ages.
As Sal introduces the video, he is swamped by protestors. As he is pushed to and fro by riot police, the atmosphere is unsteady. Still, among the amorphous shouting, he takes the time to ask a protestor how to pronounce his first destination. A kindly disgruntled Frenchman helps out, and off he goes to Tout Autour du Pain Boulangerie.
The six-minute video, which was published three days ago and already amassed over a million views carries on, with Sal never breaking his calm disposition. He travels across Paris, taking in some of the best recommended boulangeries and testing their classic croissants.
Inside each of the boulangeries he visits, the atmosphere is quiet, but as he steps outside to eat, he is routinely swept up in the furore of protesting Parisians. It’s a charming time-capsule of a moment in France. Even when the streets are inflamed, you can still get your hands on some damn-good pastry.
“The croissants tasted better without the tear gas,” Sal joked to French outlet Le Parisien. “The idea of the video was to be as real and transparent as possible with the public so that they could 'taste' the true experience of the croissant.”
Despite the constant interruptions, his reviews are still a dedicated attempt to guide tourists to some of the best croissant spots. In his review of Carton, near the Gare du Nord station in the 10th arrondissement, he even takes the time to explain that despite the touristic nature of the area, it’s your best shout for a quality croissant.
He doesn’t manage to make it to one of his destinations, but that’s not on account of the protests.
At Cédric Grolet Opéra, the line snakes outside the shop despite the tense outdoor atmosphere. Even if he waited in line though, Sal is informed the boulangerie has run out of croissants. It’s not worth coming back tomorrow.
“Too much work for a croissant,” he says.
As Sal is about to give his rankings, a bang goes off in the background. Sal flinches, but then edits the sound back in multiple times to give his final rankings. You'll be pleased to know that his top croissant in Paris is at Du Pain et des Idées, followed by Carton, Tout Autour du Pain, Stohrer, and finally Cédric Grolet Opéra in an unplaced category.
After all, despite unrest, croissants clearly prove that love is all you knead.