Bienvenue Les Pascals Patisserie et Boulangerie.
Glen Ellen’s new patisserie in the yellow building opposite the Glen Ellen Market sold out on its first day. There were lines out the door, café tables on the sidewalk, happy locals and visitors alike enjoying colorful macaroons, delicate petit-fours, flakey croissants, fresh baguettes, and all gone by closing time.
The vitality was high for this new business in town reflecting a new vigor after the fires. Les Pascals Patisserie et Boulangerie is on land originally owned by Joshua Chauvet.
Chauvet and his father François had brought their mill stone around the horn from France around 1850 thinking they’d strike it rich baking bread for miners during the California Gold Rush.
When the Gold Rush venture didn’t work out, they relocated to Glen Ellen where Chauvet milled flour at the wooden sawmill on Asbury Creek.
However, a lack of grain in the Valley and other factors caused “the old grist mill” to go under, too. He went on to distill brandy, and make wine successfully. Chauvet’s original French mill stone now leans up against the wall outside the Old Mill by the waterwheel, in Jack London Village.
In his time, Chauvet managed to build the yellow brick Chauvet Hotel next door to the Patisserie, the Jack London Saloon building kitty-corner from the Patisserie, and several other buildings in town.
And now, Mr and Mrs. Merle, all the way from Lyon, France are running their very clean, very warm, and very French patisserie and boulangerie there. Pascal and his wife Pascale (hence the name Les Pascals) get up at 1:30 a.m. after four hours of sleep to start their baking chores.
When you go in for your morning espresso and croissant, you will notice on the far wall a long copper cylinder mounted for display. This copper rail is the original foot rail from George’s Three Nations Bar.
The Three Nations Bar, one of Glen Ellen’s many old saloons, was on the ground floor in the building next door, then called the Chauvet Hotel. In years past, the kitchen was run by a man named Spaghetti Pete, and there was a dance hall and apartments on the floors above. The Three Nations, known for 42 varieties of beer on tap, was popular with motorcycle groups from the Bay Area in the mid-’60s and faded out around 1987.
Christine Hansson, the building’s owner, discovered the old copper footrail at the bottom of a pile of junk in the back when they were renovating. Living history.