Germany and France Exchange Bread With Help from a Fishing Line


To put it rather mildly, life during a pandemic is, shall we say, inconvenient. The process of acquiring our favorite foods is harder (or at least more stressful). International borders are much harder to cross, frustrating travelers and slowing down trade.

But don’t tell that to German  fans of fresh French baked goods. Thanks to an order-ahead system and a bit of occasional help from a fishing pole, a cross-border community has found a way to keep the baguettes and pastries flowing despite a physical border barrier standing in their way.

The genius idea to fish for bread comes from Lauterbach resident Hartmut Frey,  who says that he’s bought bread and croissants from his favorite bakery across the border in Carling, France “for decades.” But without the ability to casually stroll from Germany into France, he’s been forced to get creative.

In a video Fey shared with news outlet Agence France-Presse (which has nothing to do with making coffee), he explains how he now does his bakery visits by shopping “online”—a process that actually involves calling ahead to Myriam’s bakery and arranging a handoff to be completed with help from his trusty fishing lure. All he has to do is attach a bag filled with some Euros to his line and cast it over into Carling, which Myriam then fills with bread that Hartmut reels back in. It’s not exactly the smoothest process, but it’s a good way to get food while social distancing. You’d have to think it would be even harder if Germany and France didn’t both use the Euro.

At a time when the border bakery is cut off from some of its usual customers, Hartmut’s fishing rod (and support from other German customers who use their hands) have served as a lifeline.

“Before, there were a lot of Germans who came to buy bread,” baker Myriam Jansem-Boualit told AFP. “[Now] I leave my telephone number and [customers] call me when they arrive and I bring the bread across the fence.”

At a time when the world needs more international cooperation than ever, this little tale of a French bakery and a German fisherman should serve as an example to us all. Let’s just hope Myriam doesn’t run out of yeast any time soon.



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