The PAUL story

PAUL is a family company built upon a foundation of time-honored production methods passed down for five generations.

Francis HOLDER


The Mayot family were agricultural workers in the Artois region of Northern France. Charlemagne Mayot and his wife ran a small bakery located in Rue de la Mackellerie in Croix, near Lille.


Charlemagne's son Edmond-Charlemagne May, born in 1889, took over the family business with his wife Victorine. Together, they had a daughter named Suzanne.


Suzanne Mayot married Julien Holder. They set up their own bakery located in Rue des Sarrazins in Lille. Their son, Francis, was born a few years later.


Francis Holder began working with his parents who, by then, had taken over a famous bakery-pâtisserie belonging to the Paul family. The PAUL name was retained. In 1958, Julien Holder passed away, and Francis Holder took over the family bakery. A second bakery opened in 1963.


Francis renovated the family bakery in Lille, and without realizing the effect this would have, installed a wood-fired oven that operated in full view of customers. A simple idea qualified by Francis as 'common sense'; yet, seeing bread made in a purely traditional fashion (kneading, proving, shaping, finishing, long fermentation, baking etc.) was quite innovative at the time. 


PAUL opened a bakery in Barcelona, its first location outside France. This marked the beginning of PAUL's international development. Two years later, some bakeries began to incorporate a cafe area or a restaurant.


Francis Holder decided to re-energise PAUL and added two new components to the business: the now famous black shop fronts and the development of a rustic line of specialty breads using sustainably produced winter wheat.


Francis Holder appointed his children to carry on the family story. With Maxime Holder serving as CEO of PAUL International, this 5th generation of bread enthusiasts continue to expand international development and social commitments.


PAUL celebrated its 120 year anniversary by introducing the Charlemagne baguette which not only honored founder Charlemagne Mayot but also sparked renewed commitment to providing fresh bread, baked daily, using traditional, time-honored methods.


PAUL continues to be be a family-owned company built on the foundations of time-honored production methods passed down through five generations. A commitment shared in more than 20 countries today with PAUL bakeries in London, Washington, Dubai, Tokyo‚ and more.


"125 years old, PAUL is the Ambassador of the French art de vivre. Present in over 33 countries, the brand’s teams share the love of work well done, the joy of offering to our customers each day the very best quality products in a setting that is enchanting and unique."