The shiny snail perched atop the entrance to restaurant L’Escargot Montorgueil at number 38 is an iconic image.
But it’s not the only enduring attraction along this historic market street in the center of Paris. Pâtisserie Stohrer at 51, rue Montorgueil claims to be the oldest pastry shop in Paris. Their storefront has been on this street since 1730. The éclairs, cakes, and tarts stand out as among the best in the classic tradition. Nicolas Stohrer may have invented baba au rhum while working for King Stanislas of Poland. When the deposed king’s daughter Marie Leszczynska married Louis XV, Stohrer followed her to make pastries for the French court in Versailles. Several years later he opened this shop along rue Montogueil to sell his famous delicacies to the broader population.
Numerous cafés, boulangeries, produce stalls, fish and shellfish vendors, and other businesses give residents and travelers plenty of reason to visit rue Montorgueil. Boulangerie Paul, Eric Kayser, Maison Collet, Le Palais du Fruit, Poissonnerie Soguisa are just a few of the many popular shopping stops. Au Rocher de Cancale at 78, rue Montorgueil has been serving oysters to generations of Parisians. In the days of Honoré de Balzac and Alexandre Dumas, it was the fashionable place to be seen after the opera. These days, I like to linger at café Jet Lag or any of the other cafés with outdoor seating while enjoying the parade of Parisians and visitors flowing past. Any café along this street makes an ideal perch for people-watching. Claude Monet depicted this street with flags fluttering during the Festival of 30 June 1878 in a celebrated painting that’s now part of the Musée d’Orsay collection.
La rue Montorgueil, from Rue de Turbigo to rue Réaumur, 2nd arr
closest Métro stops: Les Halles, Étienne Marcel, Sentier
Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm; Sunday morning
(See pp. 35-36 in Markets of Paris, 2nd ed.)
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