It’s no wonder the oldest sweet shop in Paris is revered by locals and tourists alike. This is a country that takes it’s food very seriously. France even has a national union of sweet shops and a dedicated annual Day of Guilty Pleasures. Les Journée des Petits Plaisirs is celebrated every October.
À la Mère de Famille has been in its original location at 35, rue du Faubourg-Montmartre in the 9eme for over 250 years.
Created in 1761, this grand old store, with its tiled floor à l’ancienne and its vintage pendant lights, is just across from the Peletier metro.
Chocolates, Sweets, Pastries and Icecream
Peer through the windows of the ancient façade to see the signature orange-labelled gift boxes of candy and chocolates on display. You’ll soon be tempted to wander inside where you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into Paris of yesteryear.
The shelves are filled with retro treats of times gone by. Enjoy simple roudoudous (bright hard candies), marshmallow ropes, pretty violet bonbons and delicate golden-paper boxes of candied orange peel.
There are vintage Parisian pleasures through to regional treats like négus de Nevers, bêtises de Cambrai or folies d’ecureuil. Whether it is jam, honey, cookie, candied fruit, wafer or nut, every conceivable kind of sweet is here. Truly a paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth.
More than just a lolly shop, A la Mère offers the riches of four separate disciplines. Chocolatier, pâtissier, confiseur (confectioner) and glacier (ice-cream maker). Yum! The boutique sells more than 1,200 products. Treat yourself to candies from every French era and region. And when it’s time to pay for your sweet treats, make your way to the antique cashier’s desk, a striking glass cabin in the middle of the shop.
A la Mère’s award-winning marrons glacés or candied chestnuts are a Parisian favourite. However, chocolates remain the most popular item, accounting for over 70% of sales. Perhaps this is due to the maison‘s resident guru, 24-year-old Julien Merceron. In 2009, he became Champion Young Chocolatier of the Year. Every day, Merceron’s creations help bring in over 200 visitors to the oldest sweet shop in Paris. If you are in the city of light, you could be one of them.
While they now have other locations in Paris, visit the original store if you can. It’s like stepping back in time.