A place, a history

  • Allard - la carte (c)Pierre Monetta
  • Allard - le bar (c)Pierre Monetta
  • Allard - la salle (c)Pierre Monetta

A place, a history

For over 80 years, Allard has been one of the most sought after gourmet addresses in Paris

Located in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, it remains one of the last authentic French gourmet bistros. Today still, the establishment is filled with the spirit of Marthe Allard, « mother cook » who founded the restaurant in 1932. Allard is above all the story of a peasant from the Burgundy region who traveled up to Paris carrying her sincere and generous family recipes of cuisine.

In early days, on the crossroad of rue Saint-André des Arts and rue de l’eperon, stood a wine shop, as still visible by the metal bars on the windows – a law passed by the regent dating back to 1720, requiring the profession to secure their shops in this manner. In the early 20 century, Vincent Candré moves into the neighbourhood, opening a bistro then called « La Halte de l’eperon ». Here were served modest local wines (vins de pays) accompanied by terroir dishes created by Joséphine, one of the first « mother cooks » of Paris. in the 1930’s, Vincent Candré sells his restaurant to Marthe and Marcel Allard who build a veritable institution over the years. « Allard is above all simplicity in tradition, and tradition in simplicity! » as described by the customers.

From the 1930’s till the end of the war, Allard remains a neighbourhood bistro with a family spirit. After the war, restaurants become all the rage. Parisians gradually start dining out again. Allard begins to forge itself a reputation that consolidates itself from year to year. in the end of 1946, André, Marthe and Marcel Allard’s son, meets Fernande. The second generation prepares to take over and continue writing the history that was started by the parents. Immediately after getting married, Fernande found herself in front of the kitchen range, never to leave again. Marthe bequeaths to her all the secrets and recipes that she had fine-tuned over half a century. Rustic dishes transmitted from one woman to another, both originating from peasant stock.

In 1985, a page is turned. The Allard family sells the restaurant. Claude Layrac from Aveyron takes over the restaurant 1995. For over 20 years, he perpetuates the Allard family spirit and the fundamentals of its cuisine, such as the Challans duck with olives, shoulder of Limousin lamb or coq au vin. By passing on the restaurant to Alain Ducasse, he is confident that: « this restaurant to which i am so attached will keep its personality, its character ».