Short description

The Cabaret Lapin-Agile (Agile rabbit) has an international reputation. It is well known to most tourists who come to Montmartre. However, it is an ordinary little house, but it is also an "old fashioned" cabaret and has a whole history.

The little house with the sign of the "Lapin agile" is the former cabaret of the "Assassins". In 1880, the owner entrusted the caricaturist André Gill, who was familiar with the place, with the creation of a sign: the cabaret then became known under the name "Au Lapin à Gill", soon phonetically transformed into "Lapin Agile".

The Lapin-Agile cabaret today: still unlike any other.

Localisation
Open hours
  • Opening hours: free arrival time from 9 pm - continuous show
  • Opening days: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 9 pm to 1 am

We look forward to singing with you.

  • Special openings
  • January 1st
  • Easter
  • Easter Monday
  • Ascension Day
  • May 8th
  • Pentecost
  • Pentecost Monday
  • August 15th
  • November 1st
  • November 11th
Access

Au Lapin Agile
22 rue des Saules
75018 Paris
https://au-lapin-agile.com/

  • Metro - Line 12 (Lamarck-Caulaincourt station)
  • Bus : n° 80 and 40
  • Parking : Parking garage at 350 meters rue Custine.
  • Cab : Lamarck station or on request.
Address

Au Lapin Agile
22 rue des Saules
75018 Paris
https://au-lapin-agile.com/

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 53′ 19″ N 2° 20' 24″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.88873 2.33998
Reservation

TO BOOK

Contact us by Email : infos@au-lapin-agile.com

Phone : 01 46 06 85 87

Rates and conditions

  • Free visit
  • Show with a drink included : 35€.
  • Students (-26 years old): 25€ except Saturday and holidays.
  • Second drink: from 5€ (alcohol), from 4€ (non-alcoholic).
  • Champagne rate for 2 people
    1 BOTTLE OF RUINART 75CL 160€ (ALCOHOL)
    1 BOTTLE OF MICHEL MARCOULT 75CL 120€ (Independent winemaker. fine and light bubble, nice freshness, ideal for a nice evening in song)

Means of payment

Note: NO DINNER, WE ARE SHOW AND DRINKS ONLY. EAT A LITTLE BIT BEFORE YOU COME, THERE ARE MANY RESTAURANTS AROUND.

Full description

Cabaret of Lapin-Agile (Agile Rabbit Cabaret) is a strange name for a cabaret in the 18th arrondissement of Paris located on the Butte Montmartre, at 22 rue des Saules. It is served by the line 12, metro station Lamarck - Caulaincourt.

Cabaret of Lapin-Agile: a cabaret like no other

The mythical Cabaret of Lapin-Agile, dean of the Montmartre cabarets, brings back to life every night the heritage of French songs and stories. No laser, no microphone, no sound system! Just music and voices in their natural state. The audience participates in the atmosphere and finds the atmosphere of the olden days where everyone listens to each other and shares their pleasure.

Today, Cabaret of Lapin-Agile has reached the level of the most prestigious names in our artistic heritage. In the field of painting, literature, singing, poetry, music and popular songs, it conveys the image of a French and Parisian tradition, appreciated by audiences around the world. Its wide repertoire is the privileged ambassador of a French culture always in great demand outside the French borders.

It also encourages the emergence of new talents who present their works. It is the living conservatory of French song. With a team of artists, talented singers, songwriters and composers of various styles, an authentic atmosphere where the public sings and participates in a unique Montmartre atmosphere.

No dinner here, just show and drinks. Eat a little bit before coming, there are many restaurants around!

The context of the departure: the 2nd half of the 19th century with the bottom and the top of Montmartre

The bottom of Montmartre became at the end of the 19th century "an area devoted to pleasures. In the 1880s, it was home to numerous cabarets (Le Chat Noir, Le Moulin Rouge), a very mixed and sometimes dangerous population (prostitutes with their pimps, all kinds of marginal people).

The top of Montmartre (the Butte-Montmartre), on the contrary, resembled a village until 1914. Renowned for its fresh air, its mills and its low-cost housing, it attracts artists, many of whom settle there. From 1890 onwards, their number became considerable.

Origin of the Cabaret of Lapin-Agile and name

In 1795, the building was built. Around 1860, it housed an inn called "Au Rendez-vous des voleurs". It will later become the Lapin Agile and the meeting place of the artistic bohemia of the early 20th century.

Established in the second half of the 19th century, bought by Aristide Bruant in 1913, it was one of the privileged meeting places. From Max Jacob to Pablo Picasso through Roland Dorgelès, Francis Carco, Blaise Cendrars or Pierre Mac Orlan. Later, in the 1940s and 50s, it was frequented by Jean-Roger Caussimon and François Billetdoux. Cabaret of Lapin-Agile is still active today "alive and well".

From the Cabaret des Assassins to the Cabaret of Lapin-Agile: a succession of owners

The inn of 1860 takes the name of Cabaret des Assassins, from 1869. Indeed, engravings representing famous assassins, from Ravaillac (murderer of King Henri IV) to Troppmann (judged in 1870's guilty of the murder of eight members of the same family), are hung on the wall.

Between 1879 and 1880, the owner of the time asked André Gill, a caricaturist by trade and familiar with the place, to make a sign. Gill painted a rabbit dressed in a green frock coat and a red scarf escaping from the pan that was intended for him. The cabaret then became known as "Au Lapin à Gill"  (To Gil's Rabbit), soon transformed into Lapin Agile (according to one of the explanations of this origin).

In September 1883, the "goguettier", poet and chansonnier from Montmartre Jules Jouy founded the banquet-goguette "La Soupe et le Bœuf". Their meeting place is fixed at the Cabaret des Assassins.

In 1886, the cabaret is bought by a former cancan dancer Adèle Decerf (nicknamed "la mère Adèle"). She got rid of her dubious clients and turned it into a café-restaurant-concert called "À ma campagne". During the day, it is frequented by the regulars of the cabaret du Chat Noir. Charles Cros, Alphonse Allais, Jehan Rictus, etc . but also the chansonnier Aristide Bruant who brought the painter Toulouse-Lautrec and Courteline. Amateur concerts were held on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

At the beginning of the 20th century, "la mère Adèle" sold the cabaret to Berthe Sébource, who moved in with her daughter, Marguerite Luc nicknamed "Margot", and future wife of Pierre Mac Orlan. They were joined in 1903 by Frédéric Gérard (1860-1938), known as "le père Frédé", thanks to whom the Cabaret of Lapin-Agile became an essential place for artistic bohemia.

The Cabaret of Lapin-Agile at the time of Frédéric Gérard

Frédéric Gérard was born south of Paris, in Athis-Mons, Seine-et-Oise on December 24, 1860. For a long time, he had walked the streets of Montmartre with his donkey (named "Lolo") as a vendor of four-season products, before becoming the owner of a cabaret, "Le Zut", located on rue Norvins or rue Ravignan (depending on the source). This establishment was closed after a memorable fight between customers that lasted all night.

When he moved to the Cabaret of Lapin-Agile, he kept his dog, his raven, his white mice, as well as his donkey, with which he sold fish in the streets of Montmartre, in order to supplement his income. As a cabaret artist, "Frédé" sang sentimental romances or realistic songs, accompanying himself on cello or guitar. He also did not hesitate to offer meals and drinks in his cabaret to penniless artists in exchange for a song, a painting or a poem. It is at this time that the specificity of the Cabaret of Lapin Agile was born.

Aristide Bruant, who had become rich as a Chansonnier by insulting his admirers, always a regular customer of Cabaret of Lapin Agile, befriended the owner. When the building was promised to be demolished in 1913, he bought it and let "Frédé" manage it.

The artists and the thugs: Le Cabaret of Lapin Agile's customers

The Lapin Agile, under the impulse of "Frédé", quickly became for the bohemian people of Montmartre "a real cultural institution". It was frequented by Pierre Mac Orlan, who liked to sing regimental songs two or three nights a week.  Roland Dorgelès, who also sings, but rarely because he sings badly, Max Jacob, André Salmon, Paul Fort, etc. Gaston Couté never sings but sometimes ends up drunk and sleeping under a table. Apollinaire read poems from "Alcools". Picasso painted a portrait of Marguerite Luc (Femme à la corneille, 1904) and also a Harlequin drinking at the cabaret counter (Au Lapin Agile: Arlequin au verre, 1905). The actor Charles Dullin made his debut in 1902, with hallucinated recitations of poems by Baudelaire, Villon, Corbière or Laforgue. All this under the placid gaze of an enormous plaster Christ executed by the English sculptor Leon-John Wesley.

But there were also anarchists from the Libertaire, (an anarchist newspaper) with whom cohabitation was sometimes tense, and above all criminals from the Bas Montmartre and the Goutte d'Or neighborhood (east of the Montmartre hill).

The tension became even more acute when Frédéric Gérard decided to chase away this unwanted clientele. He wanted to "create a clientele of artists" and "for their peace". Some nights, revolver shots were fired from outside through the windows of the cabaret. The violence reached its peak in 1910, when one of Frédéric Gérard's sons, Victor ("Totor"), was shot in the head behind the bar.

A famous "smoke and mirrors": And the sun fell asleep on the Adriatic

The troubled period because of the thugs lasted two or three years. But other tensions, much less violent, existed within the clientele frequenting the establishment, between the avant-garde artists, designated under the contemptuous name of "Picasso's gang" (and little appreciated by the owner of the Lapin Agile) and the traditionalists gathered around Dorgelès.

In 1910, Dorgelès set up a famous hoax. With his friends, he presented at the Salon des Indépendants a painting entitled Et le soleil s'endormit sur l'Adriatique (And the sun fell asleep on the Adriatic), painted by an Italian artist until then unknown, Joachim-Raphaël Boronali, moreover supposed to be theorist of a new artistic movement ("excessivism"). In reality, the Manifesto of Excessivism was written by Dorgelès, and the painting was done by "Lolo", Frederic Gérard's donkey. A brush had been attached to his tail. The name of the fictitious painter, Boronali, is none other than the anagram of "Aliboron", nickname of the donkey "Lolo".

The deception was a huge success: the painting was "the subject of comments not very different from those that greeted other modernist works, and was sold at a good price.

This hoax by Dorgelès and his friends belongs to a typically Montmartre tradition: the "fumisterie", which consisted in the elaboration of "complex farces, enhanced by a surprising display of fantasy and dazzling wordplay," a practice that links the cabaret humorists of today with the avant-garde of the 1900s. The work of Alphonse Allais provides a perfect example.

The end of a world: the great war of 1914-18

This carefree era ended on August 1, 1914, with the proclamation of the general mobilization against Germany. "Suddenly, everything seemed to be swept away", Francis Carco reports. The clientele at the Cabaret of Lapin Agile was rare, most of the regulars having left for the front, many of whom were not to return.

At the Lapin Agile after the Great War

Le Lapin Agile will not regain its status as a meeting place for writers and artists of the avant-garde. The center of gravity of creation had moved to Montparnasse. However, the painters kept the habit, every year on the day of the inauguration of the Salon d'Automne, to finish the evening at the Lapin Agile.

In 1922, Aristide Bruant sold the cabaret to "Paulo", the son of Frédéric Gérard to whom he had taught singing. According to André Salmon, Paulo became the "best interpreter" of his teacher's songs. Under his direction, the "vigils", formerly informal and more or less improvised, are now organized. The artists are chosen by the new boss... and paid. Some of them are even welcomed as "boarders" of the cabaret

The Lapin Agile also boasted Pierre Brasseur, Georges Simenon, as well as American celebrities visiting Paris, such as Rudolph Valentino, Vivien Leigh, and Charlie Chaplin.

The Cabaret of the Lapin Agile from the Second World War to today

After the end of World War II, just as it had moved 30 years earlier, the favorite meeting place for artists migrated from Montparnasse areas to "Quartier Saint-Germain-des-Prés". However, after 1945, the Cabaret of Lapin Agile once again became a meeting place and a springboard for artists. It was there in 1950 that guitarist Alexandre Lagoya met Léo Ferré, and in 1955 that Claude Nougaro made his first stage appearances, first as a poet, then as a singer.

In 1972, Paulo Gérard handed over the management of the cabaret to his son-in-law Yves Mathieu, who is still the owner. "Evenings" are still organized there, during which singers and comedians perform.

The Lapin Agile in the works of fiction

The Lapin Agile has been used many times in plays:

Picasso at the Lapin Agile, written in 1993 by Steve Martin. The play depicts a meeting between Albert Einstein and Picasso in 1904 at this cabaret.
Au cabaret du Lapin Agile, a play written in 2017 by Jean-Bernard Philippot. It tells the legend of this mythical cabaret.
Hello Berlin ? Here Paris! The Lapin Agile is used as a set in a scene of this film

The Lapin Agile in painting

Considering the number of artists who frequented the Lapin Agile, it could not have been forgotten in their works:

Pierre Prins (1838-1913), The Cabaret of the Lapin Agile in Montmartre, Paris, Carnavalet museum
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Au Lapin Agile or Harlequin with Glass, 1905, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Élisée Maclet (1881-1962):
Le Lapin Agile, oil on canvas, location unknown;
Le Lapin Agile sous la neige, oil on canvas, location unknown.
Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955), Lapin Agile, rue des Saules sous la neige, oil and gouache on board, location unknown.
Roman Greco (1904-1955), The Lapin Agile, six oils on canvas, location unknown
Gen Paul (1895-1975):
Au Lapin Agile, aquatint, location unknown
Le Lapin Agile, pastel, location unknown
Le Lapin Agile sous la neige, gouache on paper, location unknown.
Roland Dubuc (1924-1998), Le Lapin Agile sous la neige, oil on canvas, location unknown
Raphaël Toussaint (born 1937), The Lapin Agile, 1987, location unknown.

 

 

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Closed today
  • Monday

    Closed

  • Tuesday

    9:00 pm - 1:00 am

  • Wednesday

    Closed

  • Thursday

    9:00 pm - 1:00 am

  • Friday

    9:00 pm - 1:00 am

  • Saturday

    9:00 pm - 1:00 am

  • Sunday

    Closed

  • July 24, 2024 11:51 am local time

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