As the weather in Paris is rapidly beginning to change, I decided to beat the cold and do what any foodie does best: eat. After a few quick searches on yelp, my food lover’s bible, I was able to find a review of what was supposedly the best onion soup in Paris. So I grabbed five friends and we set out to the hills of Montmartre to Chez a la mere Catherine. Chez boasted the best french onion soup in Paris and it did not disappoint!
The streets of Montmartre near Sacre Coeur are crowded and touristy, but filled with great finds such as Chez, if you are willing to dig. In a place like Montmartre I suggest you dig. What I like most about Montmartre is the history. So many great artists lived there and were inspired by the life and culture in Montmartre. While it is now a tourist trap, there is still so much life and color and beauty to experience. The hills around Sacre Coeur just may be my favorite area of Paris by far!
Anyway, after enjoying a bowl of French onion soup or some muscles and fries, I suggest taking a stroll along the streets and popping into various souvenir shops. The artwork can be terribly kitsch and made specifically for tourists, but it is still worth a second glance. By wandering around those shops I found a cafe selling vin chaud by the glass to take away. Now, that is worth the trip up to Montmartre right there! It basically tastes like Christmas in a cup and I couldn’t have been happier to be sipping on a glass while walking around the streets. All it really is is hot wine with spices and oranges but it’s incredible, and it warms your hands and your insides which can be much needed this time of year in Paris.
Since you are now presumably full from dinner and warm from vin chaud, it is the perfect time to enjoy a night at the Agile Lapin, Montmartre’s famously understated cabaret. At the Agile Lapin you will get a true taste of Parisian folk songs and enjoy the house drink. What is fun about the cabaret is that at 9pm you knock on the door and are invited into the building so you feel more like a guest in someone’s home than a paying customer. The men take your coats and pull out your chairs and serve you the house drink, and as soon as you are situated the show begins. Again I stress the feeling of being at home and comfortable. It is one small room with many tables crowded around and everyone in the room sits together and sings and sways together to the music. Now, it’s a long show (five hours) so be warned but it’s entertaining and so nice to immerse yourself in the culture. It is an experience you could not get anywhere else in Paris and it definitely should not be overlooked! Students get the best deal with a 17 euro ticket and drink included. For those over 26 the price jumps to about 25 euro but it is more than worth the money.