Party Earth Review In a city like Paris, finding a café that dates back a century or two is hardly unusual, but Au Rocher de Cancale – est. 1846 – stands out among these enduring gastronomic sites as a reliably festive place to eat, drink... ... read full review
78 Rue Montorgueil
3: Sentier; 4: Châtelet, Etienne-Marcel; 1, 7, 14, A, B, D: Châtelet
01 42 33 50 29
Bar: Daily 8am–2am
Restaurant: M–F 10am–4pm and 7–11:30pm, Sa–Su 10am–11:30pm
Les Halles / Rivoli - 1er / 2eme, Paris –
In a city like Paris, finding a café that dates back a century or two is hardly unusual, but Au Rocher de Cancale – est. 1846 – stands out among these enduring gastronomic sites as a reliably festive place to eat, drink, and meet new people.
Creaking wooden floors, slanting tables, and spindly staircases transport the diverse clientele to a classic 19th-century tavern, aided in no small part by the original frescoes of famed caricaturist Paul Gavarni preserved under plexiglass in the upstairs dining room.
Novelist Honoré de Balzac was a regular here, probably sitting out on the same sidewalk patio where today’s well-heeled shoppers relax alongside scarf-wearing bobos, observing the lively characters on Rue Montorgueil, from the shouting fruit vendors to the twenty-something fashionistas in sky-high heels who zip between high-end boutiques on their scooters.
On Friday and Saturday nights, the bar usually fills with the chatter of area young professionals, history-seeking tourists, and trendy but casual couples as everyone gets to know each other over traditional French salads, seafood, and steins of 1664.
The place is also popular for its weekend brunch, if only for the people-watching and indulging in a few liquor-filled chocolates before noon.
Laid-back but lively, Au Rocher de Cancale perfectly embodies the sense of history that pervades the City of Light, and brings unexpected people together in appreciation of French food and culture.
Au Rocher de Cancale is a perfect spot to take a break from your afternoon city explorations, and enjoying a coffee on the little outdoor terrace never fails to recharge your batteries. Just be wary: there are no ashtrays, so sometimes smoke rises from the grates when lit cigarettes build up beneath the sidewalk!
Diverse blend of fashionable young couples, groups of students, bobos, history-loving travelers, area young professionals, chic shoppers, and families during the day. All ages, though mostly late 20s to 30s at night.
The sounds of the street, the chattering of clientele, and the vibrations of history. Original Gavarni frescoes upstairs and rotating local art on the ground floor. Free Wi-Fi.
Standard French fare with a wide range of salads including niçoise, au chevre chaud, paysanne, and gesiers, as well as international highlights like milkshakes, chicken spring rolls, and Japanese Asahi beer.
Several free French-language newspapers available.
Brunch menu €13, salads €10.50–€16, entrées €9–€22, liquor-filled chocolates €4.
Beer €3.60–€7.50, wine €4.90/glass or €16/pitcher or €26–€32/bottle, cocktails €9–€11, champagne €7/glass or €75/bottle, shots €5, aperitifs €3.80–€6.90.
Casual to trendy: t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers to tights, high heels, designer bags, and fatty sunglasses.
Friday and Saturday nights for the liveliest crowds, though Rocher is hardly rowdy, or Sunday afternoons for a low-key brunch among close friends.
Bar/restaurant Café du Centre (57 Rue Montorgueil) is right across the street, and though it doesn’t have the same history, it does offer a chill atmosphere and a similar menu whose prices are usually a few Euros cheaper.