Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Boulangerie

bakery old quebec city october 2008
Photo copyright K.S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2018.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Boulangerie”

  1. Boulangerie

    “What a delicious word boulangerie is! More tasty and appealing than bakery or pâtisserie. The smell alone drives you insane. Scrumptious cakes, heavenly pastries, mouthwatering breads. Oh, let’s go in! The eclairs are pleading for us, the cheesecake is calling, the pain au chocolat cries our names and…” I stared unabashed at the pretty lines of colourful cakes and elegant breads. So flawless! I nearly pressed against the window.

    I stood alone; my fiancé had walked off and was turning the corner. I ran to catch up, arriving out of breath, dishevelled, sweaty and a basic mess.

    Graham looked down at me from an aloof height, curled his lip and grated between clenched teeth, “Laurel, first, a boulangerie primarily bakes bread. Second, look at you! Overweight, out of shape! Could you afford so many calories? What would my academic friends say at the wedding?”

    I hurled back, “Your academic friends would call you a pompous pratt! A real plonker!”

    I experienced great joy at his astounded look. Then I danced with abandon making Graham turn sickly. To think that chocolate eclairs liberated me!

    Two years later, the sun sings to me, birds sing and my heart sings. My feet bounce along the pavement, and I have music in my rounded hips. Pregnant again, I push a pram carrying my chubby first born while my husband hugs me. We pass Graham and a rather mousy looking plain girl.

  2. Where are you, Remi? You said you’d be here by now. It’s not like you to be late. We always meet at the boulangerie on Wednesdays at 3. Besides, this is the day you promised to tell Margeaux about us, that you no longer loved her, wanted a divorce, and were moving out.

    It’s been four years! Four long years of sneaking behind her back. I hate it! I hate seeing her at parties, on the street, knowing what we are doing.

    I don’t hate her. God knows, she’s a wonderful woman and a loving mother to your two daughters. And if I had to do it all over again, I never would have spent the night with you in London when we were there on that business trip. What was it? The wine? The spring air? I never regretted it, but—

    [Waiter approaches.] “Puis-je vous servir, mademoiselle?”

    “Puis-je avoir un expresso et un mille-feuille?”

    “Oui, mademoiselle.”

    [She stubs out her cigarette, lights another, and slowly inhales before letting the smoke out and drawing it up into her nostrils.] Come on, Remi . . . where are you?! How long does it take to tell her? I understand it’s not easy, but you’ve been promising me for over a year you would do this.

    [Waiter returns.] “Y aura-t-il autre chose, mademoiselle?”

    “Merci, non.”

    Come on, Remi . . . where are you?

  3. Death’s Pastries

    It started early. Nose on the glass. The smells, I guess. They attracted me first. She would take me shopping from my first breath. That I don’t remember, but somewhere from that mist, I was four perhaps, images sparkle in my memory. Faint, they are, but if you add the smell of pastry, the aroma, the scent of them all lined up in rows, the vibrant colors, the dark of the chocolates, the deep strawberry reds, the sun-bursting lemon yellows, I am inundated with their beauty.

    And so it was that once I reached the age when I had to attend school, I was only able to accompany my mother on her Saturday morning shopping rounds. Hand in hand, we would stroll amongst the myriad shoppers, going into this shop and that shop, buying vegetables, the ones we did not grow, cuts of meat, cheeses and always, at the end, the Bakery.

    As I aged, my mother allowed me more choice in the selection of treats. I called them treats then but they became much more than small, sweet pleasures. I could not resist their allure. Each came with a separate personality. Some were stronger than others.
    The Ganache always spoke forcefully.
    I always heeded her voice.
    In time, my parents noticed my affliction, my affection, my addiction but saw it as a phase I would grow out of.
    I did grow out.
    I became immense.
    Confined to my bed.
    I live and will die above the bakery.

  4. Cake Town Massacre

    The “National Dessert” reporter tried her best to get the straight story from pastries who witnessed the prior night’s battle.

    She reviewed her notes: There were rumors that the pies were not happy with cake in the “Cake Town” store name, along with customer attention to the elaborate cake displays.

    Rhubarb Pie said that cakes should have been warned by rumors of Cherry Pie’s nightly rallies.

    The fight actually started when Stargazy Pie reported diminished Birthday Cake ranks.

    Lady Baltimore did her best to organize the fruit and nut pies, but Pecan was the hardest as he was truly a nut case.

    Key Lime unlocked both display cases.

    Mississippi Mud and Natchitochis Meat, lead the charge.

    It was observed that Lemon Meringue was more focused on Manchester Tart.

    Last out of the case was “Chicken and Mushroom Pie.

    Boston Cream didn’t participate, not knowing which camp he belonged to.

    Her notes from the actual battle:
    Killer Pie was the first to make contact, and laid a mighty blow on Pound Cake, who knocked over Upside-Down Cake.

    Marble Cake saw that action, slipping trying to get away.

    Pound Cake tried his best to move, but couldn’t.

    Rum Cake only grinned at the action.

    Fruit Cake was last seen ogling over Cherry Pie’s assets.

    Wedding Cake scurried off with Angel Cake, while Devil’s Food gave chase.

    The Chocolate Cakes negotiated a truce, only having to part with their cherries, and a store name change to Pie Empire.


    His rich, dark tones seduced her, promising her heaven. “If you ever need a reason to sin,” he murmured, “most patisseries can offer you a hundred. If you’ve an affinity for tempered dark chocolate, fragile crisp pastries or the gaudiest of macarons, Lafayette’s can supply you with everything you need. Imagine the thrill of buying a whole boxful for yourself. We all need to feel a little bit of guilt each day, or what’s the point of us being alive?”

    The man was everything his voice suggested. He had an angular face with deeply dimpled cheeks and eyes that blazed with fire. He was wearing a suit that made the finest Italian fashions look like rags.

    And he had a tiny pair of horns on his head.

    “I don’t know how you do it,” Imogen gushed. “I’m on a diet, and I’ve been good for months, but if you put a cake in front of me now, I’d eat it. I’d smash my face in it, and I’d smear it across my cheeks, not caring if I got it in my hair. You’re the best voice-over artist that we’ve ever had. We’ve quadrupled our sales since you took over from the last guy. Are you sure you won’t accept a lifetime’s supply of our products?”

    The man shook his head, giving her the tiniest of smiles. His upper canine teeth stuck out, looking a little like tusks. “I’m sorry,” he said. “Health reasons. Would you believe it; I’m lactose intolerant?!”

  6. The Unmasked Spy

    Finley secretly left the institution. He believed he was a spy, and as a spy, it was his duty to escape and to report on his findings.

    Once outside, he noticed everyone was wearing a mask. Since he was a spy, he naturally assumed everyone was working undercover. They had to be. Otherwise, why would they be wearing a mask?

    Since he was hungry and needed to blend in, he slipped into a Boulangerie to purchase food and a face covering.

    “Have you been checked?” asked the cashier, scrutinizing the stranger.

    Checked? Was that a code word? What should he say? “I… I…” Don’t stumble. Try again. “I’ve. Been. Checked.” Smooth.

    “May I see your papers?” she asked, suspiciously.


    “You can’t purchase anything in this store without your papers.”

    He rummaged through his coat pockets and handed her a coupon booklet.

    “Your PAPERS.”

    “They must be at home,” he replied, innocently.

    “No papers, no sale.”

    The growing line of undercover agents behind Finley was getting hostile.

    “He’s unmasked,” shouted someone in line. “He’s one of… them.”

    One of them? He wasn’t an enemy agent. Were they brainwashed? He sensed an evil plot was afoot.

    Just then, the police entered the store.

    “What’s going on?” demanded one of the officers.

    “Sir,” Finley announced proudly. “I’m on the trail of an international mastermind, whose nefarious goal is to mask the world.”

    The cop looked at him. “You’ve been very naughty, Mr. Finley. We’re taking you back to the asylum.”

  7. At seventy, he was divorced and retired. Short on funds and with uncertain prospects, he arrived on Hilton Head Island ready to start a new life in a land of used-to-bees and not-from-heres, he found work as a waiter in a French bakery.

    A woman of a certain age sat in his section every weekday for her ‘un café allongé’ and toasted baguette. A smart-looking woman, svelte in her business attire and unabashedly proud of her Facebook status as “working only for the fun of it”. A retired banker with a fat pension she busied herself by poking around the retirement accounts of the elderly on the Island.

    He was easily smitten and for weeks planned his approach

    One morning, he brought the check and asked, “Can we talk?”

    “Sure. Sit! I’m Regina. Tell me about yourself,” she said, lifting a porcelain cup to her lips.

    “Not much to tell,” he began.

    “There better be or this conversation will end quickly,” she smiled wryly. “Most guys your age are looking for a nurse or a purse, which is it?”

    “I’m new here,” he managed. “Looking for friends.”

    “I have plenty of friends already,” she said, leaning back in her chair. “ What you need are introductions.”

    He boldly blurted, “Then tomorrow we will share a pain au chocolat and you may show me the way.”

    She smiled, amused by his directness, and sipped the last of her coffee. He agonized. She finally finished and said,

    “There’s always tomorrow.”

  8. “My wife and I met at a little café in downtown Pittsburgh,” Tom reminisces.

    Elizabeth was waiting on Tom. “How long ago was that,” she asked?

    “Oh. That was 60 years ago. March 14th, 1961. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was studying for my mid-terms, and she was paying her bill. We both looked at each other, and she smiled at me. I turned quickly to see who was behind me, but no one was there,” he laughs as he thinks about how awkward he must have been. “That smile changed my life.”

    “Aw. That is so beautiful. She must have been really special,” Elizabeth coaxes.

    Tom continues, “Six months later we were married. Within a year, we had our first child. It all happened so fast. No one tells you when you are young not to worry about the struggles. It all works out, and the only thing you think about when they are gone is the good times. We had some really tough times, but I can remember that same smile all throughout our life together. I would tell her I was going to take her to Paris to a real café – not like the one we met at. You know – just teasing. She would turn and give me that same smile.”

    “Did you ever make it?”

    “We did,” Tom answered – getting choked up. “It was the last time I saw that smile.”

  9. Boulangerie Thenardier was the place where the fat man and the thin man liked to meet. Before entering, each man tipped his hat to the other. A challenge. Every time, one would propose a delicacy and the other would eat it. The fat man suggested choux a la creme – cream buns – or a slice of gateau. He himself preferred strawberry tarts and delicate confections made from chocolate and almond. The thin man offered savoury snacks such as quiche or pissaladiere, which is French pizza.
    One day the baker, Monsieur Thenardier, could not stand it any longer. Although they did not live in the village, he knew both men by sight, and their rigmarole had been going on for six months. He prided himself on the quality of his patisseries. He might be a village baker but he thought himself the equal of the big names in Paris.
    “Gentlemen,” he said, as the ill-matched pair came into the store, the thin man going first as was his habit. “Forgive my curiosity. Why do you make this choice every week, and eat your treats in the village square as if you were a couple of school boys?”
    The men looked at each other. They shared a smile before the fat one leaned forward.
    “This is the only way we can meet without our families suspecting. And we know you are one of us because you sell the madeleine beloved of Monsieur Proust with a touch of lavender icing.”

  10. Patton rubbed the folded notebook paper in her hand. She shuffled through the crowded sidewalk stopping in front of the Boulangerie. Patton tucked the note in her pocket and reached for the door. Smells of butter and melting chocolate soothed her racing heart as she stepped to the glass case. Her eyes scanned the tempting treats, searching for the right one to deliver her message.
    “Can I help you?”
    Patton took a deep breath, pulled the paper out of her pocket, and slid it across the counter.
    “Can you put this on one of these cakes?”
    The woman unfolded the paper, and her eyes grew wide as she read the text.
    “Sweetheart, I can write anything you want but are you sure?”
    Patton closed her eyes, trapping the tears as she nodded her head.
    The woman pulled out a round cake covered in chocolate and presented it to Patton.
    “Ok, how about this Ganache with red buttercream?”
    Patton’s lips quivered into a weak smile picking up the box wrapped in twine.
    She stood at the callbox, waiting for Michel to buzz her into his apartment. The sweet dangled from her fingers.
    She handed him the parcel with a sly smile.
    Michel untied the string and lifted the cardboard flap. Blood drained from his face, and sorrow filled his eyes.
    “It’s not what you think, I can explain.”
    Patton dipped her finger into the chocolate, placing it in her mouth. The sweet taste of revenge lingered on her tongue.
    “Bye, Michel.”

  11. Josef sat at the round table in the back of the Parisian boulangerie. The smell of freshly baked goods usually drew a large order from him. Not today. He sipped his espresso, let the single croissant sit, and scanned the newspaper as he surreptitiously observed the couple at the table by the front door.

    Good thinking. The door would provide a quick escape.

    Still, Josef was nervous. It had been a while since he’d been a minder of new recruits and he wasn’t happy with the demotion. At least it was a job.

    He’d worked the two recruits hard, so hard that neither of them realized they were on the same team. This was the ultimate test: could they tease out each other’s allegiance correctly. The Firm didn’t much care for this test, one Josef had devised. No matter. It was his job to find top recruits, which this test should accomplish.

    The young man was too obvious with the fedora and the drab trench coat. The girl was also worrisome. Plain Jane, she looked infatuated with the guy, as if she felt lucky to attract such a handsome dude.

    They had spent the night together, which was okay. Maybe.

    Then, before he could react, they each pulled a gun and fired at the other, neither of them missing. They looked surprised as they toppled over.

    Josef wiped his mouth, grabbed his croissant, and skittered out the back door.

    He would have to file for unemployment.

  12. Walking through the main concourse of Grissom City made Jan Redmond realize just how starved for sensory pleasure she had become in the past year and a half. A decade after its founding, Shepardsport remained very much a frontier town, bare-bones and focused on necessities. Just putting together the resources for palatable meals had proven an uphill battle, thanks to the unpredictable effects of lunar gravity on the culinary arts. She’d eaten a lot of unsuccessful experiments herself, unwilling to inflict them upon her subordinates.

    The wealth of breads and cakes in this little shop brought back memories of a trip to Paris, a tour of the boulangeries and patisseries of a city synonymous with the gastronomic arts. Mouth watering, she started looking for prices, only to realize these delights were for the tourist trade only. A NASA employee like herself could not buy them at any price, not even by the slice.

    Better to learn the identities of the chefs whose work had filled this case. Establish her bona fides and they’d be talking shop in a matter of minutes. And while it wouldn’t be professional to ask directly about their secrets, being open to advice would likely net her some useful pointers, and clues to the trickier aspects that the leaders of her art tended to hold close to the vest. By the time she returned home to her own kitchens, she’d be ready to recreate her old masterpieces.

Comments are closed.