Having spent some time France, I’ve learned a few things about the French. For example, if you’re struggling to pronounce something and all you get is a blank stare in response, they probably know exactly what you’re trying to say but are playing dumb just to mess with you. You can see the sadism in their eyes.
But some terms really can’t be stumbled through by tourists – like Rue Montorgueil. When I tried to get their by taxi, the driver truly didn’t understand me – no matter how loud I shouted.
So try this: “Moan-Tor-GOY.” It’s worth learning, because you don’t want to miss this iconic food street in the 2nd Arrondisement. It’s one of the few remnants of the original Les Halles market (which was replaced in 1971 by a wretched concrete shopping center).
Here you’ll find blocks of restaurants, cafes, fish stores, pastry shops and produce purveyors. That’s on top of the flower stalls, gourmet groceries, wine shops, bakeries and cheese shops. You can easily spend the better part of a day here, so wear good walking shows, and perhaps bring a basket to shop for a picnic lunch from all the food purveyors, including…
One of my favorite places in Paris, this little shop was founded in 1730 by Nicolas Stohrer, pastry chef for Marie Leszczynska, daughter of King Stanislas of Poland. When she married Louis XV, he followed her to France, and to this day you can buy some of the same desserts he invented for the Great Court.
Over time, Stohrer has also added deli offerings, but I suggest you save your appetite for…
Snails aren’t the only thing on the menu, but that’s where you want to focus. Start with the Escargots Tradition, prepared Burgundy-style from a recipe dating back to the restaurant’s opening in 1832. I also love the Escargots 3 Saveurs – prepared with garlic, curry and Roquefort.
Another selling point: the gorgeous interior, which was built in the Second Empire style and features a carved wooden ceiling, sand-blasted windows, and a beautiful curved staircase. The décor was refreshed in 2014, but still maintains the old-world feel.
What’s that? You don’t like snails? Then explore my second recommendation.
ROCHER DE CANCALE
Founded in 1848, this restaurant evokes the neighborhood’s history as the oyster capital of Paris. Bivalves tend toward the fat and briny, not for the timid. Traditional bistro fare rounds out the menu, and it’s all good.
As you’d expect from a place with Rocher de Cancale’s pedigree, the restaurant also boasts some “only in Paris” design features, including decorative panels on the first floor depicting the lives of the 18th century bourgeoisie.
Head off to the Tuileries, the Luxembourg Gardens, or the lawns around the Eiffel Tower, perfect places to enjoy one of the pastries you’ve just purchased. Then, just keep on walking. You’ll need to work off all that food – so that you can be ready for dinner.
Stohrer Patissier Traiteur
51 Rue Montorgueil, 75002
38 Rue Montorgueil, 75001
Au rocher de Cancale
78 Rue Montorgueil