In need of some good old fashioned fun? Look no further than famous Paris nightspot Le Lapin Agile.
This quaint cottage nestled on the Montmartre hillside is a little frequented gem, more visited by tourists searching for an authentic french experience than locals. After years of living in Paris, I finally ventured through the Cabaret’s doors, dubious about what was in store.
Le Lapin Agile has been going strong since 1860, with traditional French singers performing every night from 9pm til 2am. Visitors are ushered into a small, dark room and seated on benches around the walls. Then a motley crew of about ten singers march in to take their places at the middle table.
On the menu: old fashioned French tunes – from classics like Brassens, Aznavour and Piaf that French oldies know all the words to, to popular folk songs and shanties. It feels like stepping back in time to a more innocent era.
The idea is that (after a complementary cherry liquor or two) you’re encouraged to sing along as the troupe mingle amongst the audience, accompanied by various instruments.
Unfortunately most of us were tourists and could only hum along (although a lively Chinese man did give it a good go) , but the whole atmosphere was so entertaining that the evening flew by. The place prides itself on keeping french traditions alive, and it certainly isn’t dull.
The Cabaret screams nostalgia, from the decor and artwork on its walls to the rustic feel of the performance. It seems incredible that a place like this remains so popular today, and that the format hasn’t changed. It’s well worth a visit before the rest of the world catches up with it.
And since many famous singers and poets were apparently discovered here, you might spot the next big thing in la ‘chanson francaise.’
Le Lapin Agile, Tuesday-Sunday, 24 EUROS plus drink, metro Lamark (12).