Top 3 Reasons to Visit la Bouillon de Pigalle in Montmartre
The concept, which I will get into shortly, was not something that anyone in both Montmartre and Pigalle had expected to see as part of new developments in these neighborhoods.
There are bouillon-style eateries throughout Paris. They have a long standing presence in the history and food culture of France. Restaurant owners have seen much debate in recent years as to whether these particular restaurants are wise investment ideas or a fad that will simply fade out quite quickly.
That being said, the success of la Bouillon de Pigalle since its opening in 2017 has been so tremendous that the owners are in talks of opening a sister branch over at the Place de la République, a public square further south .
Whether your motive for visiting is one of genuine hunger or simply curiosity, here are three more good reasons to get to the Bouillon de Pigalle while in Paris.
1. Experience a Historic, Revamped Space in the Bouillon de Pigalle in Montmartre
To appreciate the Bouillon de Pigalle one first needs to understand how this institution came about.
The word ‘bouillon’ actually refers to the soup or stock that is made by boiling meats, fish or vegetables in water. Once you remover the solids from the liquid, you are left with fresh bouillon.
Its origins date back many years ago during the mid-19th century in Paris, when the working class folk needed eateries in which to gather during lunch and dinner breaks for affordable, recharging meals.
The facilities needed to be able to hold large capacities of diners at once, and serve enough food as well. Large batches of bullion meat dishes were brewed and served by the bowl, never costing more than a fraction of what regular restaurant dining would have cost at the time.
By the 20th century, Paris had over 250 bouillons across the city serving hot broth dishes to workers by the dozen.
The food was hearty, warm for the soul, tasty as a bonus and costing next to nothing.
Over time the bourgeoisie, as they do, would find interest in these bouillon spaces and start putting money into them where there previously was none. It is thought that this is how most of the brasseries and bistros eventually evolved in Paris. Bouillons became a thing of the past — until now.
Investors and restaurant guru’s in Paris have began re exploring this concept of mass communal, affordable dining. The reopening of the Bouillon de Pigalle is a major turn of events for a dining concept that was thought to be largely deceased.
Not only has the vicinity been recreated, it has been revamped to aesthetic standards that one would expect from an upmarket brasserie in les Halles or Invalides.
2. Pay Less for Great Food at the Bouillon de Pigalle in Montmartre
So they’ve remained true to the concept, but is it still cheap?
Around quarter to noon each day you’ll see a line forming at the base of Montmartre hill, outside the entrance to Bouillon de Pigalle. Without knowing what lies inside, one might walk past with zero interest in any place that requires a wait in a line to get in.
The bouillon will open at 12pm and 300 guests will be seated immediately. The waiting queue is simply one of waiting for the restaurant to actually open, and not so much for a table to open up.
The menu has evolved along with the times. Bouillons in Paris are no longer limited to meaty broths and loaves of bread, instead you’ll select from a well curated menu comprised of traditional French dishes and delicacies.
Most of these dishes will not cost you more than €4.
Yes, full plated meals of herring, Pot au feu, lamb shank, marrow and potatoes all for under €5 a meal. There are sides available that run at about €1:50 each. Desserts including eclairs and ice cream with toppings start at just €2.90.
I’d like to reiterate that neither the quality of ingredients nor quality of presentation are compromised in order to keep this bouillon so affordable. This is simply the historic nature of the space and the Bouillon de Pigalle remains true to it.
On average you can expect to enjoy a full course meal here including drinks for around €10. If you are drinking alcohol then add a bit extra, they offer a separate drinks menu for this.
3. Dine with Over 300 Other Visitors at the Bouillon de Pigalle in Montmartre
Aside from being one of the most affordable meals you’ll have in Paris, you’ll also have the very rare experience of dining in a food hall with over three hundred other people.
If you’ve spent even a few hours walking the streets of Paris, perhaps on a free guided walking tour, you’ll know that most restaurants, cafes, bistros and brasseries accommodate between 20 to 50 diners at a push.
The infrastructure in Paris simply does not allow for more space between establishments. Eating out is usually an intimate affair, and making reservations is usually essential.
At the Bouillon de Pigalle you’ll be part of a spectacle of diners, servers and skilled chefs all flowing harmoniously through the hall space like a grand symphony. You’ve never seen waiters in such energetic sync in your life.
The business hours at the Bouillon de Pigalle in Montmartre make it almost inexcusable to miss during your visit to the city. They are open 7 days a week between 12pm and 12am. So twelve hours every day during which time you’ll definitely find a seat amongst the 300.
If you are intending to go for dinner try not to arrive after 7pm, there are waiting periods from then through until 10pm. Late night dining would be more preferable that arriving during the rush!
See you at le bouillon!