Monday, September 13, 2010
Le Refuges des Fondues
I'm sure this place has been written about a gazillion and one times but I've decided to make it a gazillion and two because I was just reminded of it reading the book ‘Almost French' while I sit here in my germ infested bed. I have a nasty cold waaaa!
Le Refuges des Fondues is a crazy restaurant and an institution in Montmartre since 1996. Ok so it's a major tourist trap and it defies everything you read about the glamourous art of french dining but if anything, its worthwhile going just for the fun, rowdy, family style atmosphere, the happy snaps and later to tell the story of climbing on and over communal tables and drinking wine out of baby bottles in Paris.
Here it is looking more like a puppet theatre:
On my last trip to Paris, my B&B friends took me to this wacky hole in the wall for my last night out. It's so tiny you'd almost miss it if it weren't for the constant gathering of curious onlookers squashed up against the window trying to get a look at the spectacle going on inside. And inside might I add, the sight of squished, bewildered faces pressed up against the glass window is equally entertaining.
Tagging the wall is allowed too:
Everyone is squashed like sardines on two long communal tables that touch either end of the length of the restaurant. And a teeny isle along the middle separates the two. This means the only way to get to your seat on the wall side is to jump on the banquette and climb over the other diners. The place is loud and rowdy and the wait staff are delightful and match in eccentricity.
There are only 2 things on the menu. Fondue Savoyarde (the cheese and white wine fondue) or the Fondue Bourguigone (chopped beef meet dipped in oil served with vegetable). Not bad.
But it's their wine served in baby bottles that was their claim to fame. Seeing everyone suck wine through baby bottles I wasnt sure if I was amused or repelled myself. It's a total gimmick, clearly catered for the tourist (somehow I don't think Parisians find this a very amusing detail), but it was a hoot just the same and I'd recommend it for the party atmosphere and very much look forward to returning.
I just found their Facebook page too.
And there are some reviews on tripadviser if you dont want to take just my word for it. It's ok, we're still friends :)
Le Refuge des Fondues: 17, Rue des Trois Fréresm Paris, France 75018 map
Bon appetit et bonne nuit xx