Rue Montorgueil – Market street
Lively and always reinventing itself with new restaurants, more food shops and some secular addresses, Rue Montorgueil captures the essence of Paris. Somehow, this central part of Paris is the focal point where tourists mix with hipsters and regular parisians, creating a great atmosphere
The rue Montorgueil is the last remaining trace of this once very busy market area. This area, known as ‘Les Halles’, was nicknamed the ‘belly of Paris’ (« le Ventre de Paris ») as it provided all of the fresh produce to meet the needs of the whole city. This period was immortalised in the works of Emile Zola (1873), and later by the photos of Robert Doisneau (1930s to 1960s), which show the hustle and bustle of daily life here.
The name Montorgueil comes from the contraction of the 15th century words « Mont Orgueil » (mount pride) and we can imagine that the area was named as such. Ironically, the ‘mount’ is made up of rubbish and rubble that was dumped here in the 18th Century, and over the years this became a small hill.
In contrast, the pedestrianised street-market that is the rue Montorgueil today is frequented by the trendy fashionistas and the bourgeois of the area. The street is known for its fresh produce and varied food shops, which attract both Parisians and tourists alike.
The Montorgueil market & the Montorgueil street market
It is well worth walking the length of the Montorgueil street market, starting next to the Saint-Eustache church (l’Eglise Saint-Eustache). We also recommend visiting the open air market that can found at the start of the next road along, rue Montmartre every Thrusday from 12h30 to 20h, and Sunday from 7h to 15h, before strolling up the street market itself.
Fill your basket with quality products for a delicious lunch
If you get to the little open air market (at the start of rue Montmartre, just next to the church of Saint Eustache) early, you will easily find traditional fruits and vegetables, fish, shell fish, meat, cheese, fresh eggs, pretty flowers and also some more exotic things that you may fancy. We’ll leave you to your own devices to discover the market seller’s wares. When you are ready, let’s walk down the street-market itself together …
As you set off up the road, cast an eye to the left to look at the facade of the first building which houses the café « La Pointe St-Eustache», this reveals the character of the road!
Rue Montorgueil is cut in two by the rue Etienne Marcel, with the second section being longer and home to the majority of the food shops. Before crossing over though, you will find a restaurant that dates back to 1832 called « L’Escargot Montorgueil » (yes, that means snail), which was also considered an institution in its day! This restaurant used to be owned by the same owner as the ‘Tour Argent’ (one of the poshest in Paris) and was frequented by many artists, amongst which were Marcel Proust, Sacha Guitry, and Charlie Chaplin. Whilst it is no longer considered a ‘gastronomic’ restaurant and it has lost some of the appeal that it boasted during its glory days in the 1900s, it still has a certain appeal, especially for those that are curious to try the signature dish: snails!
After crossing the rue Etienne Marcel, head to the « Pâtisserie Stohrer » at no 51, where you will find excellent produce, but be prepared to pay for it! Today this shop offers bread, cakes and prepared dishes, and it is a long established institution in the area. Opened in 1730, it is considered to be the oldest cake shop (patisserie) in Paris, and was founded by Nicolas Stohrer, the baker of Marie Leszczynska (daughter of King Stanislas of Poland, and wife of Louis XV). Don’t be put off by the touristy look of the outside, everything on sale here makes your mouth water and everything is delicious: from the cakes and pastries, to the savoury offerings (smoked salmon, quiches, scallops, and so on).
You do have other choices for bread though, notably: at no 100 there is often a queue at the recently restored « Maison Collet » to buy their freshly baked bread; as well as at “Blouet” at 4 rue des Petits-Carreaux, (the road that the rue Montorgueil turns into at the end).
There is also a tradition for fish and shellfish in the area. If you want to stock up on prawns and shellfish we would recommend a stop at the fishmonger « Soguisa » at no 72, where it is said that Stendhal land Balzac used to come in the early 20th century.
If you have a preference for oysters and you want to stop for lunch then you will love « Rocher de Cancale » at no 78, another renowned address, with a magnificent and inviting façade. This restaurant has been open since 1846, when snacking on oysters was a booming fashion in Paris! It is said that Balzac also came here, along with Goncourt. It is now classed as a historic monument, and inside you can admire the works of Gavarni, which were discovered underneath a layer of plaster on the walls of the 1st floor during a recent refurbishment.
« Rediscover Paris! Do you know what it is, oh Parisiens? It is to rediscover … the food at the Rocher de Cancale… for those that know how to appreciate food, and it can only be found on Montorgueil ». (« Honorine », Balzac)
Finally, at no 82 you will find « A la Mère de Famille » where you can add sweets, chocolates and other treats to your basket.
Enjoy discovering this lovely and lively market street.
Have fun shopping & Bon appétit !
Monday Am - Monday Pm
- Sunday Pm
09:00 - 19:00
Address: Rue Montorgueil - 75002 - Paris