Following the death of his father in 1958, Francis Holder took over the family bakery in Lille. With his mother's assistance he expanded the business and when the Nouvelles Galeries opened in 1965, he immediately offered to supply their bread. Under the “Moulin Bleu” Francis Holder provided bread to Auchan and Monoprix from his bakery in Lambersart, and by 1970 he was able to purchase an abandoned industrial site at La Madeleine, in the suburbs of Lille, transforming it into an enormous bakery.
The installation in 1972 of a wood stove at the original Lille bakery proved so popular that, as the Paul chain expanded into French malls in Paris and other major French cities, it was incorporated into the general layout. Apart from a change of livery in 1993 (to the now-signature black), the layout and visual aesthetic of Paul stores has not changed.
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