In France, a freshly baked baguette sells for less than a Euro. There are exceptions, as a 2nd arrondissement bakery with a gilt  logo could command two euros for a stick, but the typical price ranges between 60 and 90 cents. Although the price of baked goods hasn’t been government determined since 1978, it is still heavily controlled and monitored by consumer associations in France.
If the low-cost-low-quality rule applied, writing an article about the French baguette would be pointless. But baguettes in France are not their dry, soggy  (it’s a mystery how they manage to make them dry and soggy at the same time), tasteless counterparts you may encounter elsewhere, including the US—ersatz “baguettes” and “croissants” that are sold in other parts of the world might not even be legally allowed to be called these names under the 1993 Bread Decree (Le Décret du Pain) that regulates the quality of bread in France. In Article 2, the Decree states that traditional French bread is not allowed to have additives  in it, and must only consist of these four main ingredients: water, salt, a leavening agent, and wheat flour that meets certain purity requirements; in other words, anything with additives or fillers in it can’t be called pain de tradition, like baguette tradition, by law. Article 2 also prohibits bread from being frozen at any point during its making, and works with other Articles in the Decree to protect the integrity  of the French baking tradition.
Once spoiled to the perfect flavor and texture profile of French baked goods (the right combination of chewiness, aroma, nuttiness, crispness, softness, moistness, snappiness… and the list is endless), it could be challenging to remain generous to baked goods that aren’t as aspiring.
In fact, French bread, like cheese and wine, is intimately tied with the national identity. In Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People, Linda Civitello writes, “Bread was considered a public service necessary to keep the people from rioting … Bakers, therefore, were public servants, so the police controlled all aspects of bread production.” Although the craze for bread hasn’t gone far enough to enshrine  a right to bread in the Constitution of France, embedded in the French ethos is the idea that good bread is a necessity to which everyone should have access. Some experts claim that the French Revolution was partially caused by shortage of bread (or at least that this shortage played a role in it), which is reflected in the unverified claim that Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat brioche.” (Brioche is a beautiful golden bread with a puffy texture and buttery flavor.)
Younger generations in France are consuming less bread than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. However, with more bakeries than there are convenience stores, the demand for real bread remains strong.