Au Lapin Agile, Paris of course!

And I pull an old photo  out of the vault and as not mentioned before in my blog, feels its time to show a post on it for my memories at least, and maybe will becomes yours too. This is an institution in Paris and a must to visit at least once. I will be telling you about the cabaret show of the Au Lapin Agile.

At Montmartre, the life goes on away from Paris. By 1860 the districts are done and artists come out to the hill. Coubert comes with his manners to the Cabaret de la Belle Poule, and later others joined him at the Brasserie des Martyrs, Cezanne or Degas. In pigalle, the Café de la Nouvelle Athénes you can cross with Renoir or Pisarro. The bohemians go to the Bateau Lavoir. It is the time of the birth of cabarets such as the Chat Noir, Lapin Agile where Toulouse-Lautrec and Oscar Wilde are frequent visitors. It is in these cafes that the new literary art is born and continues because Paris is eternal. Au Lapin Agile is located on the Butte Montmartre, at 22 rue des Saules, in the 18éme arrondissement, near the Lamarck – Caulaincourt metro station ; and linking the quartiers Clignancourt and Grandes-Carriéres. And hardy one still open, one of my old favorites too.

The Au Lapin Agile was established in the second half of the 19C, bought by Aristide Bruant in 1913, it was one of the privileged meeting places for bohemian artists at the beginning of the 20C, from Max Jacob to Pablo Picasso via Roland Dorgelès, Francis Carco , Blaise Cendrars or Pierre Mac Orlan; thereafter, in the years 1940-50, it was attended in particular by Jean-Roger Caussimon and François Billetdoux.

Paris

A bit of detail history from various sources including my books.

The mount of Montmartre or Butte-Montmartre, resembles until 1914 a village, famous for its clean air, its mills and its low-cost housing, which attract artists, many who come to settle there , and whose number from 1890 becomes considerable. It is in the upper part of Montmartre that the building of what will house the Lapin Agile was built in 1795, which became, around 1860, a ro-ro hostel called Au Rendez-vous des voleurs (meeting of thieves). From 1869, it took the name of Cabaret des Assassins, because engravings representing famous assassins are hung on the wall, from Ravaillac to Troppmann. Between 1879 and 1880, the owner of the time entrusted to the cartoonist André Gill, familiar with the place, the making of a sign.and Gill paints a rabbit dressed in a green frock coat and a red scarf escaping from the pot intended for him; the cabaret then becomes known as Au Lapin à Gill, soon transformed into an Au Lapin Agile.

The cabaret was bought in 1886 by the former cancan dancer Adèle Decerf aka “mother Adèle”; this one, after having got rid of the most doubtful part of its customers, turns it into a café-restaurant-concert called À mon campagne,(to the countryside) which frequenters of the Chat Noir frequent during the day such as Charles Cros, Alphonse Allais, Jehan Rictus, etc. Singer Aristide Bruant is also used to it, and he brings Toulouse-Lautrec and Courteline there as well. At the beginning of the 20C, “Mother Adèle” sold the cabaret to Berthe Sébource, who settled there with her daughter, Marguerite Luc , aka “Margot”, and future wife of Pierre Mac Orlan. They were joined in 1903 by Frédéric Gérard, aka “Father Frédé”, thanks to whom the Lapin Agile becomes an essential place of Montmartre artistic bohemia . The Au Lapin Agile, under the impetus of “Frédé”, quickly becomes for the bohemian Montmartre a true cultural institution.

This carefree period ended on August 1, 1914, with the proclamation of the general mobilization against Germany as the Great War or WWI began. The clientele became scarce at the Lapin Agile, most of the regulars having left for the front, many of whom were not to return. The Lapin Agile will no longer regain its status as a meeting place for avant-garde writers and artists as the center of gravity of creation has moved to Montparnasse, just as it will move to Saint-Germain-des-Prés after the end of WWII.

In 1922, Aristide Bruant sold the cabaret to “Paulo”, the son of Frédéric Gérard to whom he taught singing. The Au Lapin Agile is also proud to have as clients Pierre Brasseur, Georges Simenon, as well as American celebrities passing through Paris, such as Rudolph Valentino, Vivien Leigh, or Charlie Chaplin. The Au Lapin Agile somehow continued its activities during the Nazis occupation of WWII, and again became a meeting place and a springboard for artists after 1945. It was there that in 1950 guitarist Alexandre Lagoya got to know Léo Ferré, and that in 1955 Claude Nougaro made his first appearances on stage, first as a poet, then as a singer. In 1972, Paulo Gérard cedes the management of the cabaret to his stepson Yves Mathieu who is still the owner; and evenings are still organized there, during which singers and humorists perform. An institution and a must to see in Paris.

The official webpage for the Au Lapin AgileAu Lapin Agile in Paris

The Paris tourist office on the Au Lapin Agile in English: Paris tourist office on Au Lapin Agile

And there you, I needed to tell you about it even if briefly, another wonderful monument to see in Paris. Oh yes it is a monument, it is Paris, you want to see all about Paris than come here at least once. Hope you enjoy my take on the Au Lapin Agile in my eternal Paris

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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