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, a family of agricultural workers in the Artois region of Northern France, led by Charlemagne Mayot and his wife ran a small bakery located in rue de la Mackellerie 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


PAUL opens its first bakery outside France, in Barcelona. It is the begining of our international development. Two years late, some bakeries incorporate a cafe area and 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.

marina mall


In 2003, PAUL Bakery & Restaurant journeyed across the continents to make its way to Kuwait, opening their 1st branch in Marina Mall. Azadea was proud to be the one to introduce the French concept of “Art de vivre” to the region. The success of PAUL in Kuwait led Azadea to expand into UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Oman and KSA. They now have over 60 stores & restaurants in 8 countries and continue to expand.


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 its 120 year anniversary renewing the companies commitment to providing fresh bread, baked daily using traditional, time-honored methods by introducing the « Charlemagne » baguette to honor our founder Charlemagne Mayot.


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‚ …


"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."