Monday, June 30, 2014

Falling in Love with Les Halles de Paris

I consider eating two ice cream cones before noon a VERY good foodie day! Back in May in Paris¸ I did exactly that!
Salted butter caramel glace from À la Mère de Famille and pistachio from Stohrer.
Instead of visiting museums, I wanted to explore the foodie neighborhood of Les Halles, in the 1st arrondissement, which the French King established as the traditional central market of Paris in the 12th century. My only agenda was to browse, eat, take photos and perhaps buy some French goodies to take back to Poland. Many of my foodie destinations were based on David Lebovitz’s recommendations in his book “The Sweet Life in Paris” and his blog post: Cookware Shops in Paris.

As I walked from our hotel near the Moulin Rouge, I stumbled upon the chocolatier/confiserie, À la Mère de Famille, founded in 1761. This old-fashioned candy store offers a wide variety of chocolates, bon bons, candied fruits, and yes, ice cream. I bought a small box of mixed chocolates as well as the best salted butter caramel ice cream cone I’ve ever had and sampled a few chocolates courtesy of my nice French sales assistant.
Don't you just love this vintage storefront at À la Mère de Famille?
From there, I continued down Rue Montmartre to Librairie Gourmande, which unfortunately was closed because of some silly French bank holiday. I’m sure my husband was happy because I already own 250+ cookbooks and he doesn’t think I need any more. But if you love cookbooks as much as I do, I'd definitely recommend stopping here.
Next, I continued on to some of the kitchen supply stores located in and around the Les Halles neighborhood. I stopped at Mora, A.Simon, and E. Dehillerin, but surprisingly I didn’t buy a thing! I didn’t find anything that I just couldn’t live without.
E. Dehillerin has a fantastic selection of copper pastry molds and pans!
Then, I stopped by G. Detou, a gourmet shop selling all kinds of olive oils, nuts, mustards, baking supplies and chocolates galore! Again, I just couldn’t justify spending nearly 9eu for 250 grams of chocolate, but it was fun to browse!

My stomach was starting to grumble again so I headed to the heart of Les Halles on rue Montorgueil, where some of the oldest stores in Paris are located. At 51 rue Montorgueil is the Bakery Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris. Stohrer was the pastry chef for Marie Leszczynska, the wife of King Louis XV (1710-1774). Inside this small shop, you’ll find dozens of decadent-looking pastries, freshly baked breads and croissants and more. I bought two baguette sandwiches, a pain au chocolat, a cherry clafoutis and my second ice cream cone. Delicious!
I continued to wander through Les Halles, but quickly realized how difficult it is to eat an ice cream cone and take photos at the same time! I loved the vibrancy of this old neighborhood, which seemed full of happy people shopping, eating or sitting at one of the numerous cafés.
I stumbled upon a farmer’s market set up in the street near the Church of Saint-Eustache, a beautiful Gothic-Renaissance style church constructed in the 16th century.
After visiting several of the food stores in Les Halles and smelling the aroma of roasting chickens, I was now ready for lunch! I headed back to our hotel so I could share my baguette sandwiches from Stohrer with my hard-working hubby.

Bon appétit!
This photo simply doesn't do these baguette sandwiches justice! They were simply delicious!
Perfectly arranged French strawberries at a market in Les Halles, Paris.
I loved this old mural on one of the buildings along rue Montogueil.
Cute French girl by this boulangerie in Les Halles.
Location of mentioned stores in/near Les Halles de Paris:
  • À la Mère de Famille, 35, rue du Faubourg-Montmartre.
  • A.Simon, 48 rue Montmartre.
  • E. Dehillerin, 18 rue Coquillere.
  • G. Detou, 58 rue Tiquetonne.
  • Mora, 13 rue Montmartre.
  • La Fermette Fromagerie, 86 rue Montogueil.
  • Librarie Gourmande, 90 rue Montmartre – For cookbooks!
  • Stohrer, 51 rue Montogueil.

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Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

What a treat to walk through the streets and visit all the shops. I could not have passed up the cookware and I would have gone back the next day for the cookbooks. I suffer from that affliction too.


Cuisine de Provence said...

Wonderful photos Joy - make me want to go to Paris right now!

Joy said...

@Madonna, missing out on the cookbook store was a bummer! Though I did buy a small pamphlet book on how to make French confiture. :-)

Joy said...

@Barbara, merci! I loved eating and exploring around Les Halles!

Ilya said...

That vintage store front is gorgeous.