Very distinctive with its unique decor, the café-brasserie « Au Rocher de Cancale » located at 78 rue Montorgueil is one of the old Parisian institutions as its lower counterpart towards Les Halles at 38, « L’Escargot Montorgueil » which dates from 1832.
The older of the two restaurants, “Au Rocher de Cancale” was created by Alexis Balaine under the First Empire in 1804. It was then installed opposite its current location at n ° 59. Many personalities frequented this address, in particular Balzac, who would have found inspiration there for the characters of the Human Comedy, Eugène Sue, Alexandre Dumas, Théophile Gautier … The reputation of the establishment was such that « tasting juries » were frequently organized within its walls. Taken over by a new owner, the restaurant went bankrupt in 1846. After a one-year exile on rue Richelieu, it was reopened by a former wine merchant, on the even side of rue Montorgueil, which is still its current location. It is the facades that catch the eye with its distinctive refined exterior decor, sometimes referred to as « neo renaissance ». Still a brasserie-bar, the facades and interior frescoes were classified as historical monuments in 1997. A very successful restoration of the exterior decorations was carried out in 2012, restoring their original appearance.