Shopping on rue Montorgueil: La belle Iloise and A la mère de famille

If we refer to Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, rue de Montorgueil owes its name to the instrument used to carry heavy loads to a low height, the cric (Wikipedia). From the opening of the Porte Poissonnière in the new enclosure built under Louis XIII (1645), the street was the arrival point for peaches from northern France.

Today, the street still boasts a famous fishmonger’s but also an interesting trace of the past: Au Rocher de Cancale, a famous establishment opened in 1805 where oysters and shellfish were consumed. Honoré de Balzac mentions it many times in his works, and it’s safe to say that the writer must have frequented the establishment.

Au Rocher de Cancale in 1907

Numerous food shops sell their wares, but there are also some very tempting café terraces.

Today, we’d like to share with you two addresses that we particularly like and recommend:

  • La belle Iloise, fish cannery
  • Sweets A la Mère de famille

We visited these two stores, bought and tested their products for you.

La Belle Iloise

La belle Iloise is a Breton company based in Quiberon, which has been manufacturing and distributing canned fish for almost a century. In the last century, Quiberon was one of France’s largest sardine ports. The brand gradually developed through direct sales after the war, when supermarkets took over from grocery stores. Most stores are located on the French coast, particularly in Brittany.

The brand likes to exploit old-fashioned designs with attractive colors and containers evoking tradition.

It offers products that can even be used as small, authentic gifts.

The shapes and colors are particularly charming and make you want to try the product. We bought the 6 tins of Tuna and Mackerel flakes.

We also had a soft spot for these tins of sardines, sold as they used to be in nets.

It’s really pretty and inspires the iconic product. 

So we tried to create a plate using tuna flakes with tomato and sardines in St Georges oil. Preparation time: 5 minutes. You’ll need arugula, basil, lemon and olive oil, a good loaf of bread and semi-salted butter. The crumble is eaten with arugula, basil and lemon, while the sardines are eaten with the buttered spreads. The sardines could also have been prepared as Bruschetta with finely chopped cherry tomatoes on an oiled slice of bread. You could add a little basil. We served with a glass of white wine. How delicious in summer! The products are fine and very tasty. It’s beautiful, it’s good and it’s French. We were won over.

The classic can of sardines in oil at Connétable is sold for 3€00. The equivalent at La Belle Iloise sells for 3€60. For our dish for one person, we needed ½ tin of sardines (1€80) and ½ tin of tuna flakes (1€55).

La Belle Iloise
53 Rue Montorgueil – 75002 Paris
Every day from 10.00 am to 7.30 pm

A la Mère de Famille

A la Mère de Famille is an even older company, and as the name suggests, it’s a family-run business. The very first surviving store dates back to 1761, at 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, making it one of the five oldest in Paris. The business has passed from hand to hand, but has always focused on and strengthened its expertise as a chocolatier and confectioner.

À la Mère de Famille selects its raw materials after journeys to the countries of production, where it meets its growers: hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios and, of course, cocoa beans.

The brand is a distributor, but above all a producer, since it creates and implements its own recipes for chocolates and confectionery.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “it’s good because it’s not too sweet”, this is not the address for you. On the other hand, if sweets; chocolates, calissons, fruit jellies, marzipan… evoke sweet memories, then enter this store, where you’ll be warmly welcomed and discover a variety of authentic quality products that you can also choose from as gifts.

We tested the flagship products in the chocolate collection, more developed in pralines than in ganaches. Their praline is truly delicious, abundant and generous. The cocoa is powerful. The ganaches are just as generous, without being too greasy or doughy. It’s a very good classic chocolate.

We also flinched at the Calisson. Calisson is a confectionery of ancient Provencal origin. It is particularly famous in Aix-en-Provence. In fact, its origins lie in the Venetian preparations of the 13th century. Calisson, shaped like a navette, is a glazed fruit and almond paste resting on a thin wafer. It’s terribly addictive. Eating just one shows great willpower or recklessness!

We also tried the fruit pastes we ate as children at the beach. Shaped like a barrette, they were handed out with a slice of dry bread by the counselors at cheap summer camps in the 70s. This is the upscale, bourgeois version.

In short, La Mère de Famille lacks neither expertise nor product variety, all of which will appeal to the most discerning gourmets. We haven’t even mentioned the marzipan, bêtises de Cambrai, orangettes, marshmallows…

These products are highly addictive! It’s advisable to be accompanied when consuming them to avoid slipping…

A la Mère de famille
82 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris
Open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

19, rue des Prêtres-Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois
75001 Paris

+33 (0)1 40 41 96 42

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