1889: A small bakery opens on rue de la Mackellerie in the town of Croix, near Lille in Northern France. It is run by Charlemagne Mayot and his wife.
1908: Their son Edmond Mayot and his wife (pictured) take over the business.
1935: Charlemagne Mayot’s granddaughter Suzanne marries Julien Holder. They open a bakery on rue des Sarrazins in Lille.
1953: Francis Holder, their son, goes to work with his parents. They take over a well-known bakery on Place de Strasbourg in Lille belonging to the PAUL family. They keep the PAUL name.
1958: After Julien’s death, Francis and his mother take over the business and expand the family bakery.
1963, The first new branch of PAUL opens in the Lille region.
1972: Opening of the first PAUL bakery to feature an open view of the kitchens and the ovens, so that customers can see the bread being baked.
1985: The first PAUL opens outside France, in Barcelona.
1987: Some of the PAUL bakeries add a tea-room and start to serve light meals.
1989: Francis’ eldest son David joins the family firm and starts to learn the business of baking and pastry-making.
1990: PAUL opens its first bakery in Nagoya, Japan.
1993: The trademark black storefronts make their first appearance, introducing a completely new style and concept.
1994: The first of three PAUL shops opens in Turkey.
1998: PAUL opens 26 new stores in France, and expands into Morocco.
1999: 35 new PAUL shops open in France, bringing the total to 220 units in France and worldwide. PAUL expands into Holland. Francis’ younger son Maxime joins the firm as Manager and Operations Director of 11 shops in France, and starts to work on the expansion into the UK.
2000: 41 further PAUL shops open in France. PAUL arrives in the UK, opening its flagship Covent Garden shop and restaurant.
2001: 24 further PAUL shops open in France and elsewhere. PAUL opens a second shop in Tokyo and plans to open ten more in Japan over three years. PAUL opens a 600 square metre store on Rue de Rivoli in Paris at the former Café de L’Hôtel de Ville, immortalised in Robert Doisneau’s photograph ‘Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville”.
2002: In February, PAUL opens its first shop in Lebanon in the heart of Beirut. In April agreement is reached to open 15 PAUL shops over four years in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. London gets its second PAUL shop and restaurant in Marylebone High Street. More than 20 openings are planned for France and other countries.
2006: PAUL in the UK expands to include shops in South Kensington, Richmond, Bluewater, Old Compton Street, Regent Street, Bow Lane, Canary Wharf, St Paul’s, Kingston and Holland Park. Francis Holder is still Chairman working along with his sons: David and Maxime.