Dec.31 - After 200 years of business, Paris' oldest boulangerie is being forced to close because the shop's landlord doubled the rent in line with rising property prices. Sonia Legg reports
Parisians have been buying their daily baguettes here for more than 200 years. It's the city's oldest boulangerie and the current baker has been in charge for the past 43 years. But an impressive history doesn't guarantee success and Claude Esnault has been forced to shut up shop after his landlord doubled the rent. (SOUNDBITE) (French) BAKER CLAUDE ESNAULT SAYING: "I would like to have seen someone take over the bakery. But I know it will close, it will die. It's an end - a sad end." The bakery is close to the Louvre museum - in an area where property prices have soared. Sushi bars and sandwich shops are thriving but at the expense of old traditions. (SOUNDBITE) (French) CUSTOMER, JACQUES, SAYING: "Everything becomes impersonal, when you can get your baguette anywhere and you don't chat to the shop keeper anymore. I suppose that's tomorrow's world, with the human aspect disappearing. It's too bad." (SOUNDBITE) (French) BAKER CLAUDE ESNAULT SAYING: "I feel sorry for the people who live in the neighbourhood. The absence of local facilities will make the area dead. It's like in a village, when there is no bakery and no school - it seems dead. " New tenants willing to pay the 18,000 euros annual rent have been found. But they'll sell sweets instead of daily bread and they won't be made by Claude. Protecting old traditions in tough economic times is clearly too big a challenge for this 67 year old - this batch of bread will be his last.