Cabaret Au Lapin Agile, Paris 1978


Summer 1978 I travelled by train and hitch-hiked in Europe. Now it’s easy to return to the same locations and compare some of the pictures I took then, with the today’s view using Google street view. The angle of the shot is not exact the same, but close enough.

(I posted earlier more comparisons, also these pics, but here is more information about this specific location.)

Paris, the crossing of Rue des Saules and Rue Saint-Vincent: a small building which is the home of Cabaret Au Lapin Agile.

What has changed? Tourists are still there. The creeper has been removed from the wall of the big building. Trees are bigger. The sign of the cabaret is painted on the wall of the small building. The fence is still there, repainted.

In Paris, July 1978

In Paris, July 1978

Screenshot 2014-06-02 22.54.23

Google Maps, screen captures 2014

Wikipedia tells more:

Lapin Agile is a famous Montmartre cabaret, at 22 Rue des Saules, 18th arrondissement of ParisFrance.

It was originally called “Cabaret des Assassins”. Tradition relates that the cabaret received this name because a band of assassins broke in and killed the owner’s son. The cabaret was more than twenty years old when, in 1875, the artist Andre Gill painted the sign that was to suggest its permanent name. It was a picture of a rabbit jumping out of a saucepan, and residents began calling their neighborhood night-club “Le Lapin à Gill,” meaning “Gill’s rabbit.”

Over time, the name had evolved into “Cabaret Au Lapin Agile,” or the Nimble Rabbit Cabaret. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Lapin Agile was a favorite spot for struggling artists and writers, including PicassoModiglianiApollinaire, and Utrillo.

The Lapin Agile is located in the center of the Montmartre district in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, behind and slightly northwest of Sacre Coeur Basilica. Since this was the heart of artistic Paris at the turn of the twentieth century, there was much discussion at the cabaret about “the meaning of art.”

Au Lapin Agile also was popular with questionable Montmartre characters including pimps, eccentrics, simple down-and-outers, a contingent of local anarchists, as well as with students from the Latin Quarter, all mixed with a sprinkling of well-heeled bourgeoisie out on a lark.

Today, many people visit the Lapin Agile, sitting at wooden tables where initials have been carved into the surfaces for decades. Located in a stone building on the steep and cobbled Rue des Saules, the cabaret presents visitors with French songs dating back as far as the fifteenth century.

About Olli Laasanen

Eyes and ears open. New and old. Jobs and hobbies. Pictures and music. Entertaining and serious. Change and stability. Nature and urban.
This entry was posted in Change, France, Photo, photography, Travel, Valokuvaus and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Cabaret Au Lapin Agile, Paris 1978

  1. very interesting “series”.

  2. dunelight says:

    How the little tree has grown. This was a fun post to read. Thanks!

  3. aael2015 says:

    Very interesting photographs. Le Lapin of my childhood looked exactly like in the picture you took back in 1978. There were not many tourists around, back then, I think because such things had transiently fallen out of interest due to futuristic trends requiring a sharp break with the past. There was a passion for postmodernism, deconstructionism, science-fiction, electronics… Le Lapin, as opposed to that, was deemed ‘corny’.

    • Your words makes lot of sense. So who or what has saved Le Lapin? Why it has not been ripped down and replaced by ‘modern’ building?

      • andrethery says:

        In my opinion: first, because, even though I don’t think it has ever been officially listed as a historical monument, it is considered such by the municipality of Paris, like the Moulin de la Galette, the Bateau-Lavoir and most of Montmartre.

        Second, because the mode of transference is dynastic, making it impossible that it could be sold to a stranger (the Lapin is traditionally bequeathed to a chosen heir).

        Third, because of the growing Jeopardy/Trivial Pursuit mentality (which led to such strange notions as “general knowledge”) and the “hyperreal” world of the American Disney-like imaginary with its Hollywoodian movies stereotyping the French not as a country of seventy millions of people backed by two thousand years of highest civilization but as a strange tribe of airheads and nancies living in a caricatural reservation on the Butte Montmartre. The Americanized Westerners today probably think that there would be nothing left of France if Montmartre were obliterated.

        All of this probably saved Le Lapin.

        • Andre, thanks for this! Interesting. Le Lapin is sofar saved due to its history – makes sense; partly due to heriting rules – in this case a good thing; partly due to quasi-romantic thinking.

  4. cjmcl says:

    Thank you for this. I have been trying to date a photo I found in an old calendar using Google images and at last, Le Lapin without the painted sign and with the abundant creeper and the faded less regimented fence.

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