Our Story

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


The very year of the inauguration of the Eiffel Tower, Charlemagne Mayot wrote the first lines of the family saga by creating a bakery on rue de la Mackelerie in Croix, near Lille.


His son Edmond-Charlemagne Mayot, born in 1889, took over the family business in 1908 with his wife Victorine. They had a daughter, 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 karery-pâtisserie belonging to the PAUL family. The PAUL name was retained. In 1958, Julien Holder passes away took over the family bakery. A second bakery is 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 quite innovative at the time, seeing bread made in this purely traditional fashion: kneading, proving, shaping, finishing, long fermentation, baking, etc


To allow its customers to savor products on site, PAUL opens its first tea rooms and restaurants. This catering activity is even PAUL's main activity in many countries in Asia and the Middle East.


The first international franchise opens in Japan. Our Japanese customers are discovering French-style bread and becoming fans of our croissants, palms and canelés. The stores are strictly identical to those in Paris; amazing and delightful. PAUL’s international adventure begins! From Washington to Moscow, from Dubai to Johannesburg, from Prague to Singapore, PAUL opens in more than forty countries to date. Even today, the teams of the first store in each new country are trained in France. Because beyond the recipes, we want them to immerse themselves in the French Art de Vivre!


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.


Maxime Holder, one of Francis's children, creates the very first PAUL in London. He immediately saw the potential of take-away coffee, which was rare in France at the time. 20 years later, there are around thirty PAUL branches in London and our coffee is one of our first sales!


Francis Holder appoints his children to continue the family story, appointing Maxime as CEO of PAUL International. The 5th generation of bread enthusiasts increasing the international development along with our social commitments.


PAUL celebrates 130 years of complicity with its customers. Maxime Holder, who for 10 years had devoted himself to international development, takes over as Chairman of Groupe PAUL.

And now

Creation of around a hundred new products per year, launch of the PAUL Le Café and PAUL express concepts, development of click & collect and online sales, creation of a French and responsible PAUL wheat sector with farmers and millers, strengthening of our nutritional and environmental commitments, new countries. The story continues. Always with the same ambition: to create moments of sharing around pleasurable, healthy and quality products.
PAUL Arabia
At  PAUL we have never stopped inventing, innovating and opening new chapters of our story.