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Metrô bus Jardim Botânico
This particular corner of Jardim Botânico is always a bustling hive of activity thanks to the nearby Rede Globo TV studio, and since former teacher Henri opened up La Bicyclette, the weekend rush is just as hectic as the weekdays. A (healthy) obsession with bread tore Henri away from the Rio Lycée Français, took him on baking courses, and ended with one of the best bakeries in the city selling around 500 croissants every Sunday.
Its a long way from the days of selling baguettes out of his garage to fellow teachers, but that early French opinion and taste-testing undoubtedly helped towards perfecting the recipes. As word spread to students and their parents the garage was clearly not big enough for demand and so the European-flavoured café opened, complete with tables and chairs on the pavement, breads laid out invitingly in the window and espressos served by the trayful. A Petite Matin breakfast (R$18) consists of croissant, half baguette with butter and jam, cheese and coffee, or the individual cholesterol-tripling mid-morning or afternoon treats like the Croque Monsieur (R$23) or Parisiene (R$20) will do more than keep the wolf from the door.
The famous Bicyclette croissant (R$3.50) has become something of an institution, the pain au chocolat (R$4) is made with real Belgian chocolate, and the madalaine (R$1.50) is as authentic as you would expect and sadly a bit of a rarity these days. The forthcoming second branch within the gorunds of Jardim Botânico is testament to how far this bread-loving Frenchamn has come from his garage baking past.