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On this day in Brussels: An entrepreneurial journey begins

The first Le Pain Quotidien is located on Rue Dansaert 16 in Brussels. Credit: Wikimedia

The Rue Dansaert was just beginning to become trendy when Alain Coumont opened his first bakery here on 26 October 1990.

He started by baking big round loaves of sourdough bread, along with tasty croissants and pain au chocolat.

Then he created a striking interior decorated with old wooden shelves and a big round table he had picked up at a flea market. The place was meant to look like an old French village café. The coffee served in bowls with a little wrapped chocolate.

People were unsure about it at first. But it gradually took off as a meeting place. Europeans living in Brussels liked it because it was more relaxed than a typical Belgian café. Now you find branches of Pain Quotidien in cities across the world from London to New York. But it all started in this little shop at Rue Dansaert 16.

Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels” 

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