The scent of freshly baked pastries is ever wafting out of a certain doorway along Rue Montorgueil, one of the best semi-pedestrianised shopping streets Paris has to offer (No. 51 to be precise). Navy in design, sumptuous in decor, and complete with gilt gold signage: welcome to Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris!
History of Stohrer Patisserie
Founded as early as 1730 to sell all manner of sweet treats and savoury delights, Stohrer was opened by Nicolas Stohrer, the Polish pastry chef of Louis XV, and his wife, Marie Leszczyńska, the daughter of the King of Poland.
As local legend tells, when Marie married Louis, she brought her pastry chef, Stohrer, with her to the Palace of Versailles. It was around the same time that he founded his shop in the second arrondissement, along Rue Montorgueil. Still in operation today, the sweet shop must have looked much different when it first opened to the public!
Though he may have a namesake shop, what you might not know is that Nicolas Stohrer is largely credited as being the creator of the Baba Au Rhum. This quintessentially French dessert is typically formed of a small yeast pastry soaked in liquor and covered in cream. Utterly delicious, this sweet can be found in regions like Lorraine.
The story goes that Stohrer’s first creation of the Baba au Rhum was made using a kouglof cake. King Stanislas of Poland has settled in Eastern France following his exile and found that the local treat was a little dry for his liking. As a result, the King’s Chef, Stohrer, created a delightful concoction using a herbal liqueur.
The interior of the shop is designed by Paul Baudry a French painter who lived in Paris during the 19th-century. Other famous places decorated by the artist include Opera Garnier and Musée d’Orsay. Today, Rue Montorgueil is a largely pedestrianised street, though the occasional scooter or van is not unheard of.
While the pastry shop itself is home to all manner of finely sliced sandwiches, intricately created desserts, and local specialities (the window display is almost always filled with traiteur (take out) goods), nearby you’ll find several cheese shops, fish vendors, and vegetable sellers.
How to visit Stohrer
Close to Les Halles, if you want to visit Stohrer for yourself, then you’ll need to plan your visit wisely. Like many of the top tourist destinations in the City of Light, Stohrer is often busy at any given moment (and I’m talking to the point that there are queues out the door!)
As such, if possible I recommend visiting earlier in the day and mid-week if possible. If you’re visiting Paris in the winter, then this is also a great time to plan a trip owing to the fact that there are fewer tourists milling about and you’re more likely to simply be sharing queues with the locals (so get practising your French!)
It’s also worth noting that, unlike many of the best places to purchase macarons, Stohrer is still a single boutique. The pastry shop hasn’t expanded into a larger chain or franchise, nor does it sell any kind of souvenir, other than the opportunity to buy a delightful pastry of course! Though the store is now owned and managed by the Dolfi Group, the 19th-century interior and exterior remain like new.
Things to see near Stohrer Pastry Shop
Passage du Grand Cerf: For those not in the know, the passages of Paris largely date back to the 19th-century and are the perfect place to spend a rainy day. Home to plenty of eateries, independent boutiques, and pretty mosaics, even if you have a short time to visit the city, be sure to check out at least one or two of the covered passageways.
Le Centre Pompidou: When wandering around Le Marais district of the city, it’s hard to miss the ever-so-modern Centre Pompidou. Now a modern art museum featuring works by Picasso, Braque, and the like, head to the top floor for one of the best rooftop views of Paris.