Last month, I spent a weekend in Paris while visiting France on a month-long post-graduation celebratory journey. But the group of friends I spent that weekend with — a mélange of American French speakers, Americans with no French knowledge, and old French pals — packed quite a punch into those few days. The evening that remains most ingrained in my memory (well, swatches of the evening went mysteriously missing, but read on and you’ll understand) was the night we dined and drank at Le Refuge des Fondues, a quirky little joint just down the giant hill from the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. Graffiti-style greetings line the walls, patrons are packed shoulder-to-shoulder into long communal tables, and the oh-so-Parisian owner never lets you completely know if he’s angry at you or adores you.
Disgruntled servers and fondue restaurants are all over Paris, we know, but this is the only place that offers up some of the lowest-end table wine served in baby bottles. It seems that Le Refuge des Fondues found a clever little shortcut to getting around the mandated tax Parisian restaurants face when serving wine out of the slightly more traditional stemmed glass.
Photo: Caution – Contents of bottles not safe for children.
You know how drinking any sort of alcoholic beverage from a straw sometimes seems to hit you much harder? That same logic applies to drinking wine from a nipple. However, if you take IT’s advice and don’t go overboard with the baby bottle wine consumption, Le Refuge des Fondues will surely please.
Meals are served at a flat rate of 17 euros, which includes one bottle of wine. (Baby bottle, that is.) Also included are amuses-gueules
(finger-food appetizers such as small sausages and olives), your choice of cheese or meat fondue, and dessert. Surprisingly, chocolate fondue isn’t an option. It’s either fruit cocktail that tastes like it came from a can, or a triangle of creamy tomme de savoie. While the disappointing dessert won’t make you melt, Le Refuge des Fondues will certainly not melt from your memory any time soon.
Le Refuge des Fondues: 17 rue des 3 Frères, 75018; + 01 42 55 22 65; Metro – Abbesses.
Photo: Amanda Thompson