Forget about Le Louvre and Versailles. For a slice of true Parisian history, skip breakfast, grab your shopping bag, rob a bank and head to ‘A la Mère de Famille’ on rue du Faubourg Montmartre, in the heart of the 9th arrondissement.
Think dark wooden cabinets, an old-school cash register, artisan jams and honey, deliciously retro regional specialties such as ‘nonnettes au miel’ and ‘orangettes’, and row after row of antique glass jars filled with more candies than Marie Antoinette could ever dream of.
The store also offers a stellar range of artisan chocolate, including a really good selection of single-origin chocolate bars from Madagascar, Ecuador, Venezuela and more. Icing on the cake: the brand’s very chic orange & brown packaging – think Willy Wonka meets Hermès – makes perfect gifts.
A la Mère de Famille (‘at the family’s mother place’ in French) was founded in 1761 by Jean-Marie Bernard. It is named after one of the later owners of the store, the beautiful Marie Adelaïde Bridault, mother of four, who decided to take over her husband’s business after he died in 1807.
A mere two years after a certain Madame Clicquot became a widow herself and went on to create one of the world’s most famous Champagne labels, Marie Adelaïde unleashed her entrepreneurial spirit, focused on higher quality products, appointed new suppliers and single-handedly took the store from a local favourite to a global gourmet icon. Go girls!
A la Mère de Famille: 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris (flagship store). Visit website www.lameredefamille.com for online orders and other stores, including the Printemps Haussmann corner.