All (Baby) Bottled Up in Montmartre

Photo: Wine in baby bottleBy: Ashley Thompson

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



  1. Imitation Jewelry
    July 13, 2010, 2:38 am

    This place is legendary.

  2. Courtney Savage
    October 5, 2008, 3:08 pm

    I lived in Paris for three months this spring and this restaurant was one of my most memorable experiences! That description of the owner was spot on, he was so funny. I loved stepping over the table to get into the booth, it’s probably not the best place to wear a dress because of that! I will always remember my first time there, that has to be the most giddy drunk I’ve ever been.

  3. jhon
    June 21, 2008, 3:41 am

    i was there it’s amajing palace and so much funny :D

  4. bridal costume jewelry
    June 18, 2008, 4:55 pm

    I agree that this would only happen in Paris, which makes the city so special. I have a friend who experienced this and it was apparently hilarious, I’ve always promised to however experience it myself. Too funny.

  5. Saricie Kuo
    May 22, 2008, 1:56 am

    I was there in 1995 and glad that it is still there. Last time I was there it was 2002 and they were full. I wonder how much does it cost now? It was like…90 francs (about $13) back in 1995…

  6. Ted
    April 7, 2008, 12:45 am

    Oh man. This place is legendary. I spent every spring break in Paris and a group of about 15 of us would get blitzed on baby bottles, stumble down towards pigale, smoke 3 or 4 hookas, and then make our way to the irish bar.
    Amazing memories.

  7. Thomas Bowden
    April 3, 2008, 2:46 pm

    Went to Le Refuge des Fondus when I was visiting Paris in Feb 2007. Seating is cramped so you become fast friends with those around you. Met people from all over Europe that evening and had one of the best nights of my trip…have the baby bottle as a memento. Look forward to going again!!

  8. Dean
    March 12, 2008, 11:18 am

    The last time I was there was 1988! I’m glad to hear that it’s still in business!

  9. michael
    March 12, 2008, 2:19 am

    I visited this off the beaten path restaurant in 2006 and loved it. The food is not 4 star but the fun you will have makes up for it. It is cramped and the staff is hilarious. Oh, if you get burnt by the hot fondue grease they are quick with the lotion, it’s healed fine thanks.

  10. Felix
    March 6, 2008, 3:59 pm

    I’ve actually been there myself. You depicted it exactly how it is. Although it is very unique and quirky, it is definitely a great experience every time. Anne said it right, only in Paris!

  11. Prêt à Voyager
    March 6, 2008, 9:28 am

    I heard about that place but never went when I was living in Paris. I’m definitely going to make it a priority next trip. Too funny! And, only in Paris!

  12. Noah
    March 5, 2008, 3:04 pm

    If there’s not already a bar in Adams Morgan that does the baby bottle thing, I’m going to start one and rake in the bucks.