Paris Travel Planner   Au Lapin Agile, Montmartre Cabaret, Paris
A wonderful, historic cabaret where folk songs, traditional music, and the cabaret spirit are kept alive.

 Lapin agile
Humorous coat hook in the restroom of the Lapin Agile...

 

 

Au Lapin Agile, in the Montmartre section of Paris (map), is unlike any other cabaret you will ever visit. The tiny club, where guests crowd around low tables and sip cherry brandy (watch out for pits), brings together talented musicians who share their love of music with those gathered around.

Each evening, a group of five to seven artists gather around a table, and the music begins. They will sing a number of songs together, inviting the guests to join in. As the evening continues, one by one the artists will show their particular talent. A woman may play the guitar and sing humorous songs of French life; a serious young man may sing ballads and love songs; an energetic pianist may make the keys come to life. You might hear songs by Edith Piaf or Georges Brassens, and you might hear folk songs from the 16th century. It's a wonderful mix.

The music starts at 9:00 PM and goes non-stop until 1:00 AM. There's no pressure to buy more drinks; in fact if you want one you may have to look for it. It's all about the music—talented musicians who love what they do. There are no microphones, no amplification, just good music in an intimate setting. It's one of our favorite night time experiences in Paris.

Note: although the Lapin Agile is very welcoming, all the music and conversation is in French. If you don't speak any French or have any exposure to French music, this may not be the place for you.

The Lapin Agile describes itself as "conservatoire de la chanson française, artistes de talents, auteurs-compositeurs," or conservatory of French song, talented artists, authors and composers. The low-key man in charge is Yves Mathieu, who describes himself as the keeper of the light. He sees everything that goes on, adds his voice to the music, and preserves the quality.

You might be wondering about the name. The club was first known as the less inviting names of "Au rendez-vous des voleurs," or thieves' meeting place, then Cabaret of the Assassins. In 1875 the artist André Gill painted a new logo for the cabaret. It focused on a rabbit jumping out of a saucepan, holding a bottle of wine, with a windmill in the background. Referred to as the "Lapin à Gill," or the Rabbit by Gill, it soon contracted to the Lapin Agile. A replica hangs on the building, and you can see the original at the nearby Montmartre Museum.

The club attracted many famous artists, musicians, and writers, such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Utrillo, Braque, Modigliani, and more. Perhaps most famous was Pablo Picasso, whose 1905 painting "At the Lapin Agile," helped make the cabaret world famous. More recently, Steve Martin's play, "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," brought more notice to it.

Over the years various celebrities have frequented the Lapin Agile. Georges Brassens and Annie Girardot got started here. Celebrities ranging from Charlie Chaplin to Eleanor Roosevelt to Lauren Bacall to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward have visited the Lapin Agile. And Leontyne Price sang Summertime several times at the cabaret when Porgy and Bess had its Paris debut.

Au Lapin Agile is a spot that has seen—and created—a lot of history. It is a wonderful throwback to a simpler time that allows us today to experience fine music in a friendly and intimate atmosphere and live the spirit of Montmartre.

Métro: LaMarck-Caulaincourt

Au Lapin Agile
22, rue des Saules (map)
75018 Paris
+33 (0)1 46 06 85 87


About Montmartre

Montmartre Museum

Free Nightlife

Theater

Opera

Ballet/Dance

Classical Music

Popular Music

Nightclubs

 

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Above, The colorful Lapin Agile. Gill's painting is on the second level.

Below, Gill's painting, as displayed in the Montmartre Museum.

Lapin Agile, Montmartre

 

 

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