Paris is packed with equal parts tripist jams and secret side streets. But few areas combine both the liveliness of authentic Parisian culture with the feeling that you’ve stumbled upon a semisecret treasure. The historic rue Montorgueil, straddling the 1st and 2nd Arrondissements of Paris, embodies both spirits on its cobblestoned walk of foodie delights.
All illustrations by Fifi Flowers.
Dotted with original painted facades and inhabiting just a few hundred yards split by the busy rue Etienne Marcel, the rue Montorgueil has managed to retain both its charm from its storied days as part of the ancient Les Halles food market and its relative tripist obscurity, as it’s not mentioned very often in guidebooks.
Yet the rue Montorgueil has inspired its fair share of creativity, from a Monet painting that resides in the Musée d’Orsay to a risqué music video by the electropop band Make the Girl Dance (“Baby Baby Baby”). Densely packed with vendors of a wide variety of foods and ingredients, as well as the classic French folk who treasure it, the rue Montorgueil is sure to charm visitors on their first or 50th trip to Paris.
15, rue Montorgueil
Explore the world of organic tea within this boutique, which is dedicated to organic and environmentally friendly tea production.
2. Caldo Freddo
13, rue Montorgueil
This authentic Italian eatery transports you and your taste buds to Italy with its slender espresso bar and ridiculously good panini. The woman hanging out the window and offering free samples of focaccia bread with homemade pesto knows what she’s doing.
3. L’Escargot Montorgueil
38, rue Montorgueil
Under the unforgettable golden snail overlooking the terrasse, this old-fashioned bistro is famous for its eponymous delicacies and sophisticated ambience.
4. Le Montorgueil Café
41, rue Montorgueil
This simple café is perfect for people-watching. Take a seat at an outdoor table and watch a parade of Parisians and lovers stroll by, and drink in the unchanging yet ever-growing beauty of a classic Parisian street.
5. L’Atelier du Chocolat
45, rue Montorgueil
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, or a chocolaty treat to take home to loved ones, you can’t go wrong with a bouquet of chocolates or a box of sugary delights from this simple chocolatier.
6. Pâtisserie Stohrer
51, rue Montorgueil
This famous pastry shop, with an ornately painted ceiling and boisterous cashiers, is the oldest in Paris, founded in 1730 when Nicolas created the first baba au rhum, a French favorite to this day, though the shop makes all kinds of lovely sweets and savory dishes, too.
7. Les Jardins d’Anaïs
52, rue Montorgueil
This charming flower shop, bursting with colors and smells from fresh-petaled wonders, attracts both casual passersby and neighborhood residents alike.
8. Le Boulanger de Monge
53, rue Montorgueil
As if Maison Collet weren’t enough, this boulangerie also offers organic breads and pastries fresh from the oven.
9. Boucherie Montorgueil
62, rue Montorgueil
Freshly butchered meats of all varieties hang from this meatery’s ceiling and are on view in its glass counter.
10. La Mère de Famille
82, rue Montorgueil
A second location of the world-famous boutique on the rue du Faubourg Montmartre, this site is less traditional and more sleekly modern but with wall-to-wall candy and free samples.
11. Le Fermet Fromagerie
86, rue Montorgueil
One of the best fromageries in Paris, this spot, with its powerful odor of dozens of pungent cheeses, will draw you in from the street to chat with its proprietors, who will advise you about the best collection of cheeses money can buy.
12. Maison Collet
100, rue Montorgueil
Fresh bread from this classic boulangerie is known to beckon both locals and international devotees. Watch out during the postwork rush hour, though; around 5 p.m., it seems the whole world wants a bite of carbohydrate goodness.
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