It is absolutely normal if the red façade of “Le Refuge des Fondus Montmartre”, rue des Trois Frères, rings a bell. Since 1966, tourists, curious travelers and cheeky Parisians have been slumming it in one of the first fondue restaurants in Paris. the menu? Unchanged for 50 years. The atmosphere? Unique. The fondue? Hearty. Come in and enjoy.
If you like quiet and soft atmosphere, stop there. In this restaurant in Paris, conversations are loud, people laugh loud, and seats shake. We must say the new owners are willing to make the “fun restaurant” spirit go on as it was one of the first fondue restaurants in Paris. “This is not a concept, but a genuine tradition since 1966!” the Montmartre restaurateurs explain.
The refrain has been going on for over 55 years: to reach the bench seat (and this is also my favorite spot), you have to climb up the table. You cannot break glasses as there are not. Behind the reason, Jeannine – the founder of this little gem – was fed up with brushing off broken glasses because of too fleeting hops over. She then decided to make people drink wine out of unbreakable and closed feeding bottles. “The very soul of the place lives in these unique bottles covered in the colors of the Refuge. We did not want to get rid of them”.
Same guideline for the menu: “We kept the same menu as it was when the restaurant first opened”. Namely: greeting kir, a plate of appetizers (the Apéro Rigolo), cheese or beef fondue, a bottle of red or white wine, and homemade dessert. The whole for €29 per person. “We select PDO/PGI aged cheeses, wines from a wine merchant in the 15th arrondissement and rump steak for the beef fondue”. Yummy!
The highlight of the show? Give your name (and more if you want) to your neighbors and you can write them a little something on the walls of this uncommon place in Paris. The house provides markers so each funny patron can immortalize their visit. The one who can find my note wins a little something. “I even found a message from 1982!”, a seated patron shout! Thousands of notes cover the walls for decades, like Pont des Arts and love lockers style.
The Refuge des Fondus Montmartre is a strong restaurant like the area. Here is my piece of advice: do not hesitate to reserve if you are a big group for a birthday, a team dinner or a family reunion. The feeding bottles will loosen up even the toughest of us. A great thing in these dark times.
Thank you, the Refuge, for making us laugh for over half a century!
Le Refuge des Fondus Montmartre
17 Rue des Trois Frères
75018 Paris 18
Menu unique: €29