Rue Montorgueil-Les Halles

l'escargot

You might not remember the days before the internet, but when we used to travel somewhere, we’d ask a friend to scribble down a list of suggestions. And we’d often be asked to do the same in return. Then when computers became widely used, other ‘favorites’ lists started circulating, including suggestions posted in online forums and in blogs.

So think of this list as my modern-day scribblings of places to go on the rue Montorgueil. Aside from it being perfectly located in the center of Paris, it’s a great place to take a stroll, and is pedestrian-friendly and wheelchair accessible, as it’s flat and closed off to cars. It’s a lovely walk, and everything is in a three block radius, making it easy to sample some of the best food shops, bakeries, chocolate shops, and kitchenware stores in Paris in one fell swoop.

roast chicken list meringues

The area was, for centuries, the home of the famous Les Halles covered market, which stood in the center of the city. As part of the modernization of Paris it was dismantled in the 1970s, replaced by an unattractive shopping mall (which is widely reviled), and the merchants were dispatched to Rungis, a large industrial complex on the outskirts of Paris. Still, reminders of Les Halles remain, including restaurant supply shops, late night dining spots, and the rue Montorgueil, which has become a vibrant street lined with restaurants, food stores, chocolate shops, and lively cafés.

The street is the perfect place go if have just a short time in Paris, as there’s a lot to see—and eat, in a very concentrated space. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can take the métro and get off at Etienne Marcel, Les Halles, or Sentier.

You’ll probably want to visit the restaurant supply shops, which you might want to schedule at the end of your stroll, so you don’t have to lug purchases around with you.


Although prices have risen in recent years, and most of this stuff is now available online or around the world, lots of people flock to Les Halles to check out these shops. For those coming in search of better deals on things like Le Creuset and Staub cookware, oddly, it’s often priced higher than it is in the United States. So check prices before going. And shipping is very expensive, so whatever you plan to pick up, I recommend only buying what you can carry back if you’re price sensitive.

oyster stand

The most famous of the restaurant supply houses is E. Dehillerin, known for its amazing, heavy-duty copper cookware in the basement. Nothing is priced, so you either need to ask one of the salesmen, who fall at both ends of the spectrum; either pushy and aggressive, or completely disinterested—or do as I do and match the item number myself with that in one of the thick books located around the shop, to get prices. If you don’t want buy something they’re insisting you need, be firm, but polite when declining. Their plastic pastry scrapers are really cheap and are embossed with their name. They make excellent gifts for those back home.

Other shops are Bovida, A. Simon, and MORA. The best part of Bovida is the stuff on the top floor, which features French food decorations and things like éclair papers and such. A. Simon has two shops just next door to each other: one has lots of French porcelain and the other has pastry supplies. Needless to say, I prefer the pastry one.

But my favorite is MORA, which is dedicated exclusively to pastry supplies and the place is usually teeming with enthusiasts from all over the world. I love this place. As in most of these shops, you pick out what you want, then a salesperson will help you and write up your order. You go to a cashier and pay, then present the salesperson with the receipt. If you live abroad, these places will detaxe your purchase if it reaches €175.

poulet roti

To avoid sticker shock, note that in these places, there are often two prices noted: one is HT (without tax) and one is after tax (TTC, toutes taxes compris, which is currently 19.6%). Unless you have a French resellers card, the tax will be added when they write up your order. (Note: In these places, a salesperson will take and wrap your order, then you must pay at the cashier, then you go back and take your purchase.)

Au Pied du Cochon is right nearby which has traditional French onion soup. It gets mixed reviews. And of course, there’s the famous pig’s foot (or the other parts, aka La Tentation de Saint-Antoine), which I haven’t tried, but have smelled from a neighboring table. This historic place, one of the last remnants of the old Les Halles marketplace neighborhood, is filled with tourists and French customers, and the food is serviceable and pleasant. But they are open 24/7, just in case you’re jet-lagged and feel peckish for pork at 3:45 am.

rue montorgeuil montorgeuil sign

En route to rue Montorgeuil, do not miss G. Detou (58, rue Tinquetonne), which is a fabulous baking supply shop, with lots of other French food specialties, all sold at fair prices. The best deals are the many kinds of French chocolate, especially the Valhrona cocoa powder and kilo bags of cocoa nibs which cost around 12 euros (the largest box of cocoa powder includes 3 individual sacks so you can split it with friends), coarse baking sugar crystals for chouquettes, honey, and baking items.

Edmond Fallot mustard, olive oil and vinegars, foie gras (buy ones marked “entier”, as they’re not bits & cast-offs, but an entire chunk), green lentils from Puy, fleur de sel de Guérande, and haricots Tarbais are also good to get here.

salad bar menu salad bar salad

Places to eat abound. Aux Tonneaux des Halles (28, rue Montorgueil) is the most traditional restaurant on the street. The food is standard French bistro fare; Tête de veau, steak frites, and andouilettes, but the interior is worthy of a visit and all dishes are less than €20. Curiously, you can find many natural wines on the list, depending on what’s available. Just a few doors down is Foody’s (26, rue Montorgueil), a help-yourself salad bar restaurant if you’re craving vegetables or a lighter lunch.

foody's salad

Nowhere else in the world is the difference between the way Americans and French eat more evident than at Foody’s. When I pick up one of the small, rectangular plates which you’re welcome to fill up with as much as you want, during the single pass at the salad bar one is entitled to, I fill that plate up, making a solid pyramid of food, jamming everything together and leaving no space unfilled. My French counterparts are a less copious lot, and will design a plate with a few vegetables here and there, some quinoa salad, and perhaps some cucumber slices, then head to their table, a few pounds lighter than me.

(UPDATE: As of January 2011, Foody’s is closed and a hamburger restaurant has opened in its place.)

If you need your caffeine fix, head up to Caldo Freddo (36, rue Montorgueil), and pull up to the teensy counter for an authentic Italian espresso. They also have great panini, which have gotten a touch pricey, but the owner is really sweet and the grilled sandwiches are some of the best in Paris.

pharmacie moderne

Across the street is Naturalia, a French natural foods chain, which has some interesting stuff and is worth a visit to see how les verts eat. And for dessert, there’s Charles Chocolate (15, rue Montorgueil). They only carry dark chocolate and the staff can seem a bit reserved, but they have good chocolates. During the winter, the thick hot chocolate is served from a big copper urn, and during warmer months, the ice cream they scoop is the best in the area.

(Unfortunately the two gelato places on the street are best skipped. An Italian reader once wrote to me about one; “It’s an insult to Italians everywhere.” If you want good, authentic gelato, head over to Pozzetto after your visit.)

fruit stand

Then cross the rue Etienne Marcel, avoiding the pesky hipsters on scooters, whose sport it is to see how close they can brush up alongside you the nanosecond the traffic light turns to green. And no, being on the sidewalk isn’t going to protect you. If you’re up for more chocolate, jump into L’Atelier du Chocolat, for chocolate with a Basque accent.

Chocolate came to France via the Basque region, so expect the chocolate at this small chain to be slightly more rugged than the more sophisticated chocolates elsewhere. Chokaria, a wooden box layered with chocolate and caramel, then covered with roasted cocoa nibs, comes with its own wooden knife, so you can take it on the plane (!), but the chocolate spices with pimente d’Espelette (red pepper powder) will get your mouth hopping, and the chocolate Chokilas (truffles) made with Gascon prunes might have you hopping as well.

streetscene Fish Market

For a more gentile experience, take refuge in Stohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris and you don’t need to get down on your knees and give thanks you’ve arrived, but do check out the ceiling, which is magnificent. Founder Nicolas Stohrer invented the Baba au Rhum, and the version here is still one of the best.

A friend bought a gorgeously wrapped pound cake here, which she reported back to me was SOA (stale on arrival) when she got back to her apartment. But I’m hooked on their zippy Zimtsterne, sold only around Christmas.

Just next door is le Boulanger de Monge, a bakery primarily known for its loaves of levain (sourdough) bread made with organic flour.

Almost across the street is one of the few remaining fishmongers who stand there and yell, urging passers-by to get what’s fresh, which is traditionally what French fishmongers are known for. The place features big, icy mounds of fish and other creatures of the deep, of all sorts. In spite of the shouting, the guys are really nice and although it’s not where I buy fish, I do always stop in and take a look at all the creatures of the deep. Even the squid.

oyster sculpture artisan cider

As you pass Au Rocher de Cancale (78, rue Montorgueil), take notice of the sculpture of oysters in their native habitat on the corner, for another reminder of another era. Oysters used to be run by horses as fast as possible from Brittany, until the horses would tire, and new horses would be called into action to get the fresh oysters to Paris quickly, so they’d be as fresh as possible upon arrival.

A newby on the street is A la Mère de Famille, which is the oldest confectionary shop in Paris. Actually, the original one is on the rue du Faubourg Montmarte (founded in 1761), but this one is right here is, well, right here, and almost as well-stocked with French candies and specialties. There’s Bergamots de Nancy, pâtes de fruit, candied fruits from Provence, and calissons d’Aix. And yes, there’s plenty of chocolates as well.

comte

Hoo-boy, if La Fermette (86, rue Montorgueil) doesn’t become your favorite cheese shop in the whole wide world, there’s something wrong with you. I had lunch with a friend who lives nearby the other day, and when I told her I was heading over there afterward to buy cheese, she started bouncing in her seat; “Ooooh—I love that place, too! And that guy who looks like Tom Cruise works there!”

cheeses

If the nice-looking fellows behind the counters don’t do it for you, what’s on their shelves, certainly will. There’s the usual suspect here, but what’s especially interesting, especially if you’re a traveler and want to try a few cheeses, is that they sell plates of freshly sliced cheeses, which feature an assortment, so you can give a few a try. However my top gun in the shop is the 30 month-old Comté that is perhaps the best cheese on the planet. Be sure to pick up a big hunk. And get some Comté, too.

st marcellin sign on rue montorgeuil

There’s always a line at Maison Collet (100, rue Montorgueil) for baguettes and pastries. And if you buy one of their Baguette tradition and rip off le quignon at the end and taste it on your way out, you’ll want to get back in line for another one. I did try their Fromage blanc cheesecake, which looked better than it tasted. So stick with the bread, or maybe try another pastry and you’ll have better luck.

french-style cheesecake

A little past the midway mark, the street changes names, and marking the change, you’ll find Le Pain Quotidien (2 rue des Petits Carreaux), the Belgian chain. A popular breakfast and lunch spot, fresh and copious salads and sandwiches are featured, served with their hearty pain au levain. I prefer Le Pain Quotidien in the morning, because of the jars of various chocolate and hazelnut spreads you can use a volonté, as you wish. I am certain the white chocolate one has nothing in there that’s good for you, but at 9am, I don’t really gives a fesse de rat.

duck confit and potatoes asparagus

They once told me that people come from all over France for their fried potatoes at Bistrot des Petits Carreaux (17, rue des Petits Carreaux). They also, inexplicably, kicked a friend of mine out of there for no reason. But I’ve never had anything but very friendly service in this decidedly neighborhood bistro.

The thing to order here in the duck confit, which comes with a small pile of fresh greens, which you can push away to the side of the plate, for better access to the pile of fried potato ovals. I don’t know if I’d take a TGV train to get these potatoes, but they are worth crossing town for. This café is also a favorite for a late afternoon glass of wine, especially when the weather is nice and you can sip it outside.

pain aux cereales

You’ve just about reached the end of the street, but it’s worth mustering up any last bit of energy to head into Kayser (16, rue des Petits Carreaux), a justifiably popular bakery, one of the best in Paris. Their pain aux cereals is outstanding; a crisp crust covered with crunchy millet and fax seeds, and an airy interior, embedded with plenty of seeds to drive the point home.

But since you probably don’t have much room left, at this point, pick up a small sack of financiers—moist, little almond cakes. Get a mix of all three. And grab a dense, chewy chocolate chip cookie, which are so good, they’d put any American baker to shame. Well, except for one
; )

Other Notable Addresses in the Area

Librairie Gourmande: A few blocks to the west is the new Librairie Gourmande, at 92-96 rue Montmarte. They feature an excellent collection of new and some used cookbooks, including hard-to-find European chef’s books.

Epicerie Bruno: Exotic spices and other unusual edibles from all over the world.

Déclinaison Chocolate: The Paris outpost of a chocolatier from Alsace.

Frenchie: One of the hottest restaurants in town. It’s small size makes it hard to get a reservation, but worth a try.

Paris Travel Links

Accessible Travel in Paris

10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris

My Favorite Paris Dining Guides (Amazon)

Gluten-Free Eating and Dining in Paris

Tips for Vegetarian Dining in Paris

Paris Favorites

French Menu Translation Guide

My Paris

92 comments

  • This is why I live in Paris! Thanks for documenting this so well!

  • I love Rue Montorgueil too. That plate of confit de canard and potatoes looks so delicious, but after reading Gideon’s post, I’d be afraid of accidentally saying bonsoir when I should say bonjour, or something, and getting kicked out of the restaurant!

  • Well this is torture. I just spent two weeks in Paris (first time ever!) and don’t think I got to any of these places. Not even G.Detou (the day I meant to go there I ended up having to sit all day with my injured foot at a level with my head, but that’s a story for another day). The cheese photos make me hurt inside…

    Next time, Hannah. Next time.

  • Jennifer K: I don’t know why that happened to him. The only thing I could think of was that perhaps they mixed him up with someone else. I’ve gone to that restaurant a lot and they were always really quite nice and friendly. I did find his story interesting, and would love to know why they did that.

  • Thanks for this wonderful and comprehensive post. Now I have the itinerary for my next trip to Paris planned :-)

  • Excellent post, and just in time for my trip to Paris in a few weeks. My husband will be so pleased to lug home more cookware to add to ever expanding collection, but I’m sure he won’t mind eating lots of chocolates, bread, and pastries. Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Were these meringues on the first shoot??! Oh my goodness, I am closing an appointment with that plastic surgeon to make my mouth big enough to fit one of those in and then I am off to Paris!

  • I love rue Montorgeuil! My sister used to live on a perpendicular street and I would stop by for some brioche at Maison Collet for Sunday breakfast–definitely recommended! Also, for those looking for some small, intimate restaurants, make your way over to rues Saint Sauveur, Tiquetonne, and Greneta right by Montorgeuil: many good international options!

  • I’m both amazed and sorry : amazed because of all the wonderfull promises such a street makes, it seems really concentrated with everything I dreamt of, culinary speaking. feelin’ sorry, because I find myself dumb : I go to this neighborhood at least once a year, and I never tried ANY of those fantastic places !

    I bet next time I’ll go there I will have a lot to discover and enjoy, thanks to you :)

    (the 30 months comté ♥ ! Je crois que je ne vais pas en dormir la nuit !!! )

    as for “les vertes”, didn’t you want to say “les verts” ? the green ones, politically speaking ? Par contre, les fesses de rat, je ne vois pas du tout l’expression, ni en anglais ni en français (?)

  • David, you could charge money for this post. What a fantastic comprehensive tour of one of our favorite places in Paris. We will be there for a week in May. Must prepare our senses for the onslaught! Thank you so much.

  • I have never been to Paris and am in the early stages of planning a visit. Which months would you most highly recommend for a first trip to Paris? Rue Montorgueil and all it has to offer will be on my list of “must see” places while in Paris. I can’t wait!

  • A great post. I have been to the cookware shops you mention but none of the other wonderful places you wrote about. We will be at our home in the Vaucluse for a few weeks in May and I was thinking about taking the TGV up to Paris for a day to go shopping for some cookware.Your post sealed my decision. I will take your post along so I can go to a few of the other places you mention.

  • Ooh, thanks for this post David! My daughter (9) and I will be visiting Paris this summer and now I have one more street to add to my list.

    I know you don’t have children but do you have any recommendations from friends of yours besides the usual (Eiffel Tower, Luxemburg Gardens, etc.) for a 9 year old?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Isabel: Check out this post; Ten Great Things to Do with Kids in Paris for suggestions.

  • This is why I want to live in Paris – must learn French soon!

  • Wow Dave… Here I am in my small Manhattan apartment reading your blog and am anxious to get my passport renewed so I can jet off to Paris. Your posts are genius; generous and consistently literary treasures.. Seriously. I note you mentioned that baguette traditional………..and am still wondering “traditional” vs. “normal” as far as baguettes go… What’s the difference??? Can you help..

    r
    nyc

  • These are some of my favorite places and then some new ones through your eyes. Thanks for the walk :-)

    I’m hoping to get to your book signing next month….can’t wait!

    Diane

  • I stayed in Montorgueil for a week in February – it was amazing, my favourite week in Paris. This is an amazing resource for a great neighbourhood. Although I found most of these places myself (it is a small area, and all I did was shop and eat), I will save this post for my next trip! Thank you, David!

  • I bookmarked this post before I even finished reading it. Heading to Paris this summer and I will definitely be using these tips.

    I’m reading Sweet Life right now and laughed out loud at your chapter on French coffee (I was sitting in the quiet car on the train, too, and laughing out loud is looked down upon in there). But the line about “cafe express” was just too funny not to react. Thanks for a great read.

  • David – I love rue Montorgueil too! I lived in that area for nearly 6 years and when we go back once a year or so, we always rent an apartment in the quartier. I wrote a post (not nearly as comprehensive as yours though!) about our recent visit here:

    http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/2010/01/walk-down-memory-lane-and-winner/

    Thanks for a little piece of my old life on this grey Friday here in Toronto!

  • Thank you so much David! I’ll be in Paris next week, staying in an apartment a short walk away from rue Montorgueil. I can’t wait to stroll down the street.

  • so now i know where else i should go on my next visit to paris – fantastic!

  • Love it, love it, love it. Rue Montorgueil is definitely one of my favorite areas of Paris, and for darned good reason. As soon as I saw the picture of the golden snail, my heart wept a bit because I am not there. It’s a gorgeous sunny day here in LA where I live, so I’m sure there’s got to be some sun-starved Parisian who wants do to a Freaky Friday sort of swap with me for the day…please?

  • David, thanks so much for this post and the photos. i’ve walked down those streets hundreds of times, and was always too intimidated or suspicious to go in any of the restaurants or shops (except Naturalia and the bakeries). it’s such a touristy area that i’ve stuck with the residential areas or other arrondissements for eating and shopping. when i return to teaching French classes (on sabbatical this year), your blog will be required reading!
    xxxx

  • Wow. For about ten minutes I thought I was in Paris. Then I woke up and realized I was sitting at my computer, reading about Paris, not drinking mon café, but simply my coffee. But I still have those ten minutes…thanks David!

  • Here I sit like one of Pavlov’s dogs once again. Your pics and descriptions kill me. I’d spend all day sampling cheeses and breads. Having only been to Paris once, my desire to return increases exponentially every time I read a post like this- Thanks again David!

  • I didn’t link to this in the post, but a music group made a video on the rue Montorgueil, Baby, Baby, Baby of some women walking down the street.

    It’s PG-13 (meaning it’s ok for work, depending on where you work!) but was quite a sensation in France.

  • Just in time for my April 18 arrival en Paris. What a lovely post. What a lovely street. Thank you for pointing out the highlights.

  • Mora is my favorite, too!

  • What are the amazing fluffy looking swirly things in the second photo?? I want them whatever they are.

  • Dear god. I am drooling.
    It was all looking exquisite and then I got to La Fermette and the 30 month old Comté part. Thank heavens I’m going to Paris in 10 days. I know what my first outing will be.

  • Amanda: Those are meringues and you see them piled high (and huge) in many bakeries in France due to the fact that they have a lot of egg whites leftover from other baking projects.

    Loulou: Take me with you…I’ve almost reached the last nub of the current Comté slab I have on hand.

    Camille: How could it not be? ; )

    nancycadet: I don’t find it all that touristy, because it’s not the Left Bank and there’s so many locals milling about, I thinks of it as one giant mix. And a delicious one at that!

  • One of my favorite restaurants just off rue Montorgueil is Aux Trois Petits Cochons, 31 Rue Tiquetonne. The food is great and the service is always friendly.

    Also, Charles Chocolatier makes the best chocolate macarons in all of Paris. Don’t miss them.

  • I wish I could reach into cheesy picture number two and yank that wheel of fromage truffé out of my computer screen. That looks un… wait for it… believable.

    Pssst – by the way it’s pied de cochon not du cochon. Not to be the annoying guy who points out typos… but we all know how steamed up nos amis get over de and du! I learnt that the hard way… ;-)

  • I recently sampled the Onion Soup at Au Pied du Cochon and it was terrible! Such a dissapointment! And at 35, I was the youngest diner in there by at least 40 years. It was packed with old people sucking on pigs feet and a waiter who would not let me have an entree + dessert instead of an entree/plat or plat/dessert.

    I also love aged Comté and buy a big piece of it every week. It’s pricey but worth it.

    Hey David, I am sure you have nothing to do…..I would love a post about creme fraiche. I buy it often but I rarely use it because I am not sure if it is like sour cream, yogurt or what? For example, I made fajitas the other night and was tempted to put some in, but decided against it. Also, I wonder if I whip it if it will turn into whipped cream? Hmmmmmm…..

    See you at WH Smith in a couple weeks. Can’t wait to get my hands on your new book!

  • this has been my favourite street in the world for at least 2 decades now – thanks for th post! x

  • What a wonderful tour of some incredible parts of Paris. This is why us folks living elsewhere dream of visiting Paris again!

  • Oh, not fair!!
    I love living in Australia, but it is soooo very far from the rest of the world.
    I can’t wait to get back to Paris – with the husband this time, not the grumpy 18 year old daughter!!
    Then I’m just going to eat and drink and shop!!!!

  • David,
    Your suggestion for financiers reminded me about these wonderful financiers in madeleine form at Bellota-Bellota in the 7th: “Madeleines au Miel de Châtaigner des Cévennes.”
    They were some of the most special madeleines/financiers I have ever come across. I hope you have tried them, and if not, you must!

  • wonderful travel tip! I plan to go to Paris next year and printed out your post for future reference!

  • I have so many fond memories of my year in Paris and I would desperately love to spend a large chunk of time there again, but my husband HATES the city :( This doesn’t mean that I have given up on him. Thank you David for your wonderful photos and insights!

  • Bought my Dehillerin dough scraper almost 25 years ago and I use it weekly for the weekly dough load, even though the label has long disappeared! A great investment do-dad and gift—du bonne qualité prix!

  • After having lived in rue Tiquetonne for more than 9 years, I really miss the “atmosphere of village”… and I’m a bit sad to see how fast it has changed since then.

    Like many others small areas full of life in Paris turning into hype & fashion dealers, paved with kebab and fast-food snacks… I was devastated to see a fast-food chains coming from the top of rue Montorgueil, even a Starbuck rue des Petits Carreaux few meters from a Parisian Café like “La Grappe d’Orgueil”…

    Resistance is NOT futile! So thanks for sharing these good addresses, that really deserve to be well known.

  • See there, David – there you go saving my Saturday. It’s one of my last in Paris and I had planned a walk down Rue Montorgueil. Now I know precisely what to visit! I’ve already stocked up on supplies from E. Dehillerin, but that Comté is an absolutely necessity! Bon weekend!

  • Thanks so much David for this article. We will visit Paris with our three children end of April and I was wondering where to go with them where we do not always risk to be knocked over by a car. This is perfect!

  • Thanks for the precious “must” list. Next time I’ll be in your neck of the woods, I’ll use it as a modern day Baedeker.

    Merci.

  • Fabulous post… (loved ‘fesse de rat’) Hope you won’t mind that I will be ‘linking it’ on my recent post of the market St. Eustache des Halles where I mention the Rue Montorgueil…. one of my favorite streets for many reasons, now, your information galore post being one of them!
    Thanks David!

  • Your friend might have been kicked out if he wanted to have a drink during meal service. It’s common practice for cafés to be reserved for eating customers at meal times.

  • Wow. What a fantastic virtual tour. Thank you. Of course now I wish I still lived in Europe and Paris was just a train ride away.. so maybe I’m not that grateful ;-).

  • thank you, thank you! this will be a perfect destination as we head to paris tomorrow! thank you david for your recommendations and insights, they are well appreciated!

  • Thanks for an excellent tour. However, I really don’t get the fascination with Au Pied de Cochon – I’ve eaten there once and it was downright terrible. The service was rude, the cutlery and glasses were dirty and the food was expensive and mediocre. My husband had the onion soup and was sick – literally. I really do think that it’s a tourist trap, trading on its age – the place is full of people clutching guide books telling them that they are experiencing culinary history.

    Au Chien qui Fume, just across the park (on the corner of the Rue du Pont-Neuf), is the real deal and delivers, on food as well as service. Please try it – I’ve recommended it to many friends and they’ve all come back smiling…

  • Rue Montorgueil. Just love it. I was living there for some months last summer.
    Also loved the wine shops (Le Repair de Bacchus, even if it is a chain, and Nysa) and the cafés and restaurants in crossing Rue Tiquetonne, and the Passage de Grand Cerf, and the Caramels at Déclinaison Chooclat at the crossing rue Mandar, and there is a boulangerie next to Stohrer (forgot the name…), and a japanese restaurant at crossing rue Léopold Bellan (or rue Bachaumont??), which is quite good, but most of all they have a small garden to sit outside which is very rare in Paris (it’s not like the usual sidewalk-tables), and nearby rue Rambuteau with Pain de Sucre and the Cheesecake/Cupcake-shop across the street and the Temple/Enfants Rouges quartier, and the whole rue Faubourg St.Denis not too far away, and… and… and…

  • I lived off Rue Montorgueil (on St. Sauveur) for three months last summer. Though close to both the Pompidou and Louvre, the street is shielded from tourists by Les Halles, the mall and transportation hub. Most tourists are turned-off and turned-back by this poorly conceived, deteriorating steel and glass structure (scheduled for renovation.) In addition, few printed tourist guides mention the street. As a result, Rue Montorgueil sits hidden in the middle of the city. In the late afternoon, you can sit, drink wine and watch Parisians returning home from work. If you are reading this comment, I encourage you to visit Rue Montorgueil, then tell no one. Let other, less informed travelers enjoy the Left Bank.

  • I just visited Paris over the Easter weekend. We went to Au Pied de Cochon and tried the onion soup and Temptation of Saint Anthony. I am glad I go for the soup and the oyster sampler as there is not much to eat on my husband’s pig dish. There is some meat on the tail but the rest is mostly skin, fat and may be some cartilage. My soup is fine and I like the grilled cheese on top. The oysters are very fresh too. It is an interesting area to check out and I love those kitchen supply stores too.

  • David…
    4 Stars! Many more posts like this and you will be strolling around with that coveted red pin in your lapel…”for service to the State”… Playing tour guide to close friends is one of the great pleasures of living in Paris and Montorgueil definitely fills that bill on many levels, food/kitchen/local color.. And, for most tourists doing Paris in 4 days and 3 nights, they never see this. Beats the pants off fighting the mobs at the Louvre. Don’t have your sweet tooth but would fight you for that last morsel of Comte’.
    The only time I saw any one kicked out of a restaurant as you describe was with French friends who asked “why?” and the harried maitre just muttered that he was too busy and had his regulars to attend to, no time for tourists agonizing over his menu. No consolation to the kickee… Again, great page…you will be doing us all a service when you publish how to find The Hunks and their hunks (of cheese), one volume instead of two…

  • Merci beaucoup David for such a thorough tour. Bookmarking it immediately and hoping to get back to Paris before too long.
    Just received Ready for Dessert – love it!

  • I will be visiting in May for 2 weeks and can hardly wait! I have been planning my Paris trip for months. It seems the D Day invasion was not this well planned ;o).
    I find it endlessly entertaining to run across new gems to add to my “to do list”. I already had Rue Montorgueil down on my map as part of one of my neighborhood walks, as it is a few blocks from my hotel. This morning I have been busily stitching all these new jewels of information into my well laid plans. Thanks for all your hard work on your blog! I love the wonderful word pictures you paint of Paris as well as playing with your recipes in my kitchen. Now about those hunks at La Fermette…

  • David, you little dear, you! I LOVE Montorgueil so thank you so much for this latest post! It’s near where I live and so on days when I don’t have anything planned, I just head for Montorgueil and see what will end up in my bag! Definitely a street NOT to miss when in Paris.

  • Rue Montorgueil is a great reason, all by itself, to come to Paris and never leave. As always, beautiful photos and descriptions.

  • This is awesome! I just got back from a visit to Paris and Les Halles became my favorite stop on the metro. I was able to visit the restaurant supply shops and G. Detou twice; I wish I had been able to bring more things back with me. I read the Sweet Life in Paris and your Paris Travel Links before and during my stay. The Kugelhof at Laduree and the Chocolate-Covered Marshmallows from Pierre Marcolini became two of my favorites. Thank you so much for wonderful reads and recommendations!

  • I think I may have found the only “on sale” Staub cast iron pots in all the world yesterday. Go check out the restaurant supply side of A. Simon (52 rue Montmartre). They had two different sizes on sale for 50% off. I paid euro 48.45. Steal of the century.

  • I’m visiting Paris right now and spent a lot of time today on rue Montorgueil. We had panini from Caldo Freddo. While my partner was waiting for them, I got the hell out of the way and took a bunch of photos of L’Escargot. I was surprised to see that same image on this post! co-inky-dink.

  • I love your side-by-side photos that are shot slanted. Very clever pairing!

    Last time I was in Paris, I was in a shop on Rue Cler, buying a few minor things that I could afford and carry back, taking my sweet time deciding on the “big purchase.” After I paid, I found out it was a multi-national chain and there was one a few miles from me at the Century City Mall in L.A. Boy was I pissed! Next time, I’ll go to Rue Montorgueilre!

  • This post was really well done. You gave a perfect guide to everything I am interested in. For my birthday this past November, one of my friends gave me a book that is the shopping guide for France. It is a wonderful assortment of all the various locations one should visit when in the cities of France. I find it exceptionally detailed, however, the book is slightly dated (2005, computers are always changing) and I find that what you wrote in this post is very up-to-date. I look forward to visiting France sometime in the near future. Until then… au revoir…

  • This is why I miss Paris and why I need an extra suitcase each time I go back. Along this rue and its environs, I have met many friends, eaten, shopped, and sat long hours at cafes and cookbook shopping (and reading) at Librarie Gourmand. It’s my favorite “foodie” place in Paris. Stops that fill up my suitcase fast are MORA, Librarie Gourmand, G. Detou, and sometimes E. Dehillerin (but MORA is my fav, too)! Your “scribbles” should be saved and used by anyone visiting belle Paris! Ahh, thanks for bringing me down memory lane, or should that be Montorgueil Lane?

  • David, thanks for taking us on a lovely tour! This tour just makes me want to go to France even more than I want to go there (AND I want to go there really badly!)! I think I’ll be spending tons of time at the pastry shops and restaurant supply stores.

    My first pit-stop in France will have to be E. Dehillerin. I have promised myself to pick up a madeleine pan from there. And maybe if they try to make me buy more than I need, I’ll buy it because I am gullible like that in restaurant supply stores! Hahah.

    I’ll also have to go to Foody’s to show the French how everyone should eat- just pile it on. Haha. Knowing me, I’d want to be like the French if there are no Americans around. I’d start decorating my plate with Quinoa and any other things at the salad bar. I’ll stop writing a lot now.

    Great post, David! :)

  • Hello,

    Enjoyed the post. Walked down the street just moments after I read it. I have one quibble, though: We consider Collette the Wonder Bread of Paris. On the other hand, just down rue Bauchamont, on rue Montmartre is a new boulangerie, which also serves hot food, and it has the best baguettes on both streets. And I’ve tried them all. Lots of times.

    The name of the boulangerie next to Stohrer is Jouvin, FYI.

    And the renovated café, Café du Centre, is terrific. The renovation seems to have been thorough, and they have a great cheeseburger.

    Thanks

  • Rue Montorgueil is indeed an interesting street with Les Halles being one of Europe’s most worthy markets. And seriously, even when it’s full of tourists (I agree with You David, not all parts of it is touristic-ky) , I have no problem with that: it makes the economy works!! PS: I had a little smile when you showed up the stands of Cheese, since it’s the place I usually go for Cheeses when I am in Paris. Thanks David for your usual awesome posts!

  • Formidable ta description de la rue Montorgueil, que nous aimons beaucoup aussi.Mais tu n’as pas parlé de la visite que la reine d’Angleterre avait fait dans cette rue de Paris, et en particulier chez Stohrer? Mémorable !!
    A bientot,

  • Dan: You can get deals here and there (that was likely on their sale table…which is great!) but for the most part, there aren’t many bargains. I even went to the Staub outlet in Alsace and I was all excited to buy a carload of stuff. And everything was, like, 5% off the retail price. It was a let-down. But also the BHV during sales had deals sometimes but with luggage restrictions, it can weigh you down quite a bit.

    Tim: Personally, I buy my bread at Kayser but you’re right that those other bakeries are really good.

    john: Being a big city with a lot of tourists, Parisian waiters and shopkeepers usually have seen it all and not much fazes them. But they do snap on occasion, like folks elsewhere. It was just so odd that he got kicked out. I think that perhaps he resembled someone else?

  • David, I love your style, and by coincidence I had a drink on Rue Montorgueil the other night. But I can’t imagine eating on that street – it is just so scuzzy! Parisian streets are pretty dirty, anyway, but Montorgueil is particularly bad in the evening, when there is still, err, ‘evidence’ of the fish market, plus the rubbish, the rats, and the smokers. If you leave via Chatelet-Les Halles, you get that added frisson of youth violence with a whiff of prostitution. It’s one of the few central areas of Paris that feels dangerous in the evenings.

    Or maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy.

  • This has to be one of the best blog posts i have ever read, and let’s not start on the excellent recipes on this site! David, you are fantastic. Thank you so much.

  • This is favorite street in Paris. A trip down memory lane even though it wasn’t too long ago!

  • Hi David, I just finished re-reading your book, “The Sweet Life in Paris” – the chapter “Having It All” and “The Visitors”, which talked about some of these places are my favourite reads. My second time in Paris (and first solo trip in 1995), I stayed near Les Halles at Rue St. Denis. I some of the places you mentioned above on this post as well as in your book.

    Thanks for a trip down memory lane. Even though I was in Paris just last year, I haven’t visited the 2eme in a long time. I should go back and visit. I heard the Marais is really hip nowadays ;) !
    -Jen Laceda

  • wish I had known this when I visited the city…for next time!

  • Your timing is impeccable, David. I’ll be traveling back to Paris in June, my first visit since moving home from there in 2005, and this post is a wonderful reminder of all the fabulous treasures to be found on rue Montorgueil. Merci beaucoup.

  • Nothing gives me the travel bug more than when I read your blog about Paris. All the memories of strolling down the quaint little streets while people watching. I only wish I had heard of Rue Montorgueil before I went to Paris, everything looks and sounds delish! The worst thing is, its a Monday morning over here in North America……what a day to be daydreaming.

  • Dear David,
    Thank you, thank you! What a wonderful and timely post. I am in Paris right now, and have been trying to organize my itinerary for the rest of the week. I came to Paris to run the marathon (yesterday!), and the only other thing that I had planned is a pastry class at LeNotre, also thanks to one of your previous posts. I decided to check back to write down some of the cookware shops that you recommended, and Voila! There’s the rest of my trip planned. I’ll add in some visits to a museum or two, and my dreams of Paris will all come true. I really can’t thank you enough, and I can’t wait for tomorrow!
    Best regards,
    Genny Dalton

  • This is my favorite street in Paris. My brother used to live across the street from L’escargot so you’re bringing back a lot of memories. That’s where I’ll be strolling around this summer. Thanks for sharing, David.

  • Wonderful stuff, as always! I kind of wound up on the Rue Montorgueil by accident with a friend last fall and was very taken with the street, but had no idea that all this was actually what I was seeing! I knew it seemed like a cool place and all, but it’s good to know just how cool it was. I’ll have to go back now that I actually know what I was looking at.

    What really got to me in this post, though, was this sentence:

    “I recommend only buying what you can carry back if you’re price sensitive.”

    I laughed so hard at this I snorted. “Price sensitive” as a new PC way of saying “dirt effing poor,” hahahaha! I’m going to start referring to myself as “price sensitive.” Hee! Thanks for that. :)

  • Not sure the last time you were actually on Montorgueil, but there aren’t two gelato shops but one. part of the Amorino chain, the one which your reader had in a previous piece called “an insult to Italians everywhere” closed down shop well over a year ago. Thankfully.

  • Omid: One is Amorino and the other is Deliziefolle, but I’ll check next time I’m over there and see if one closed. (Sometimes ice cream places close for the winter.)

    Both are listed on my page, Paris Ice Cream Shops, but like my Italian reader, and you, I’m not a fan of either.

  • Sorry for any confusion: In editing my post, a sentence got hacked in half.

    Amorino is the one that’s long gone. (There’s been a succession of equally mediocre “wok-style” fast food restos in its place.)

    Deliziefollie is still there, and has been the sole gelato shop on Montorgueil for over a year now. And I’m a huge fan of it, actually, preferring it over the tasty-but-gritty paste served up at Pozzetto any day of the year.

  • Ah David, thanks for another wonderful suggestion for a day in Paris — definitely on my list for my next visit. I hope I have told you this before, but in case I haven’t, THANK YOU for being such a great observer and wonderful writer. I loved “A Sweet Life in Paris,” and I check in with your blog every day — thanks for updating it so frequently. I can hardly stand to go a day or two without something new from you.

    Even though I don’t cook much (your popover recipe has become a regular weekend thing for me, though, and for that alone I would love you), I do of course love to eat, and the last time I was in Paris (last September), I made sure to try a lot of your suggestions, like Breizh Cafe for crepes (YUM!), Cafe des Musees for fries (ditto), and Pozzetto gelato, though it was all a bit much for one afternoon! Next time I’ll have to allow two days for the Marais! I didn’t even get to try Alain’s socca, and I forget offhand what else.

    Ron, here’s a description of “baguettes traditionels”. Along with Olivier’s inimitable commentary.

  • I was there last November and liked a lot!
    Thanks for your detailed story!

  • A few comments:

    - Yes, Amorino good and gone. I find Deliziefollie quite good. Esp the straciatella, which is all I eat anyway. Stohrer has gelato, but not sure of its quality.
    - RE: Scuzzy. Yea, it is, somewhat. There’s only one fishmonger on the street, so don’t eat near it. There are lots of other great places not in spitting distance of it. And if you don’t like smokers, then I wouldn’t recommend Paris. Things off of Montorgueil can be a bit rough, to be sure. But give it a few years; it really does seem to be changing.

    thx

  • Yet another thank you in order here!

    I went to G’Detou and MORA if the back of reading your Sweet Life in Paris book!

    I didn’t buy a lot but did love browsing and wished I had the requirement and bag space and home space for some of the things there!

    While in that area I saw (what according to your good self is not unsuual) a demonstration march of some sort going on. The banners were red and I think it said CGT.

    I don’t suppose you’d tell me what they were demonstrating about as I was quite intrigued at the time by their chants!

  • Lovely! I must say, I’ve read posts on several blogs that the E. Dehillerin salespeople were rude, etc. But when I went in the summer of 2007, in search of copper molds for canelés, I had the most pleasant experience with them! A nice gentleman named Jean helped me out with a smile, and he indulged all my silly questions, was so helpful and thorough in his explanations, and even let me run loose in their downstairs area (filled with GIANT stockpots, etc.). And his colleagues were friendly, too. As a bonus, Jean proudly mentioned that he’d had a cameo on an episode of one of Paula Deen’s (butter! butter! butter!) cooking shows, when she featured Paris. Sure enough, several months later, I fortuitously caught that episode and saw him! :) Just wanted to put in a good word… Thanks for blogging, David! You give great guidance!

  • Soo: It depends on what they feel like when you get there (Tip: Going first thing in the morning is usually the best bet.) I have a feeling that they are on commission because you used to get in there and no one would wait on you. Then one day, they became extremely helpful…to the point where if you touched something, they would write it up and put it in a bag before you could think about it. (And they will often talk about Martha Stewart or Chuck WIlliams coming in, so I’m glad they moved on the Paula!)

    It’s a great place, but just a heads-up to readers..
    _______

    A couple of commenters mentioned that the area wasn’t the best in Paris. I’ve always found the street extremely safe as it’s packed with pedestrians and people sitting in cafés. The area around Les Halles, the gardens, I would avoid in the evening as kids from the suburbs usually hang out around there. (And in the shopping center, as kids do.) But I would recommend this area as quite safe.

  • David, thank you, thank you! I was trying to find a guide person to introduce us to the wonders of Montorguiel and its’ shops on our visit in September.. (One wanted $100 per person!) So you have saved us big time. Now we willl feel comfortable walking into these places. Merci beaucoup!

  • David, first I wanted to pay you a huge compliment about your writing. When I was scanning Paris-oriented books to download on my Kindle one evening, I saw your Sweet Life in Paris, read the sample, and purchased it based on your delightful, tongue-in-cheek writing. I HAD NO IDEA YOU WERE A PASTRY CHEF extraordinaire and I was floored when I saw your hard copy books with the melt-in-your-mouth pictures and recipes. Thanks so much for your wealth of charming insights–I am so enjoying them. Second, I appreciate your nuanced observations in these blogs having just been in Paris two months ago where I ran around trying to find the best shops, markets and restaurants and, in general, did the chicken-with-your-head-cut-off tour of Paris. When we go again NEXT April, your detailed blogs are already helping me compile a great itinerary. Merci! You are a gem!

  • Dear David,
    I’ve had a marvelous few days in Paris and much of this is thanks to you. Rue Montorgueil lived up to all my expectations and I even lunched at the escargot restaurant! Of course I had escargots! I have passed establishments (and gone into) G. Detou, Le Grand Colbert, Bovida all because I read about them in your blog. Thank you and keep it up! Looking forward to the next installment: