All photos by Meg Gagnard
Le Refuge des Fondus is an itty-bitty treasure in the heart of Montmartre. On the hillside of the Sacre Coeur, Rue des Trois Frères has little red storefront that will be hard to miss while roaming this charming neighborhood. The whole place is run by the most old fashioned, fantastic Parisian there could ever be, and you will be so thankful to have stopped in.
This little restaurant has the most personality possible for the number of meters squared it takes up. You’ll run into two rows of tables down the two walls as soon as you open the brass baby bottle handled door into the land of fondu à la parisienne. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with carvings and messages of all styles and colors- some dating back decades and others from a few days prior. Before you can get all snug you’ll have to climb over the table to get into the bench side- and no the server will not pull the table out for you- he will simply offer a hand and you’ll hope you don’t knock over the cute couple next to you’s bowl of fondu. It’s all a part of the experience!
When he comes by to take your order, you probably will not have thought about it yet- as you’ll be eyeing the baby bottles they use for wine left and right”¦ and about halfway through the meal you’ll realize why they made that wise serving decision: these small tables will have you elbowing over things every few minutes!
For about 25 euros you’ll get the fondu of your choice (cheese or meat) with an apéro, 1 baby bottle of wine, dipping delights and a dessert. Even if you don’t speak French, show off your skills and memorize “fromage” (cheese) or “viande” (meat)–the two choices of fondu they have–and the Parisian that runs the place will be so happy you’ve made the effort.
It’s the perfect place for a date or a group dinner and you’ll be laughing bottle after bottle in a hustly bustly and joyous atmosphere. This is definitely a meal you can’t miss in Paris. It is a staple of Montmartre, and you will leave with a belly full of fondu and an amazing memory of an unforgettable hole-in-the-wall.
Le Refuge des Fondus [map]
17 rue des Trois Frères
Get in touch with the author @meggagnard.