An enchanting century-old confectionary shop in the heart of Paris

Classic French sweets and chocolate tempt at À La Mère de Famille

À La Mère de Famille has a pedigree that dates back to the 1760s
À La Mère de Famille has a pedigree that dates back to the 1760s

When an in-the-know French friend recently declared that À La Mère de Famille was, by far, the best confectioner in Paris, I had to take notice. This is a woman who really knows her sweets, and also my aesthetic sensibilities, so off we set to this magical, sugar-infused emporium in the bustling heart of the ninth arrondissement.

Rochers pralinés, from €11.50
Rochers pralinés, from €11.50

The shop is picture postcard perfect – or, these days, totally Instagrammable – a candy cache that has been in the same location, on the corner of Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, since the late 1760s. I was charmed from the kerb by a striking green façade with original gold signage, enormous windows full of edible delights, and a colourful glow cast by metal chandeliers hanging within. Inside, I was delightfully overwhelmed by old-world bins of creamy caramels (€6.90), glitter-wrapped Lilliputiens (€9) and hand-painted candied apples (€8.50), as well as by tables stacked with elegantly packaged, precisely arranged boxes of ganache and praline.

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I decided on the spot to do all my souvenir shopping at once and spent a good 15 minutes learning about the regional French delicacies on offer – uneven milk and dark chocolate discs (€23.50) known as Croque-télés, almond-studded bûchettes au praliné (€19) and Négus de Nevers (from €21.50), nostalgic tins of coffee-infused pastilles coated with hard caramel that melt in the mouth.

The picture postcard perfect confectionery shop boasts bins of creamy caramels and other sweet delights
The picture postcard perfect confectionery shop boasts bins of creamy caramels and other sweet delights

Simpler but no less delectable were the tablettes (€5) – slabs of chocolate in various flavour combinations such as 65 per cent dark chocolate and candied orange or a white chocolate variety studded with nuts and dried fruit. Jars of citrus and raspberry bonbons tempted me, but ultimately I settled on boxes of À La Mère de Famille’s delightfully gummy pâtes de fruits (from €13) in peach, mango and lime. I also stocked up on calissons (from €14) – the Provençal almond treats infused with candied melon, orange peel and honey.

An assortment of callisons, from €14
An assortment of callisons, from €14

I was so taken by this bijou sweet box, and the Dolfi family that now runs it, that I now send everyone here for exceptional edible souvenirs.

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