Au Limonaire is located in a surprising little street near the Grands Boulevards in Paris. There are so many hotels in this short angled street (all of them seem quite nice and well-mannered) that B. and I wondered if this was some kind of red district in the 19th century when it was obviously built, but several buildings seem to have been wealthy town houses at the origin. When you reach the first leg of the street from the rue Montmartre, you pass under an impressive porch and beyond that it's so peaceful compared ro the noisy grands boulevards.
Au limonaire is a bar/restaurant where you can sip wine, eat and listen to live music and songs, in short, it's a cabaret. This lively place looks like it's remained unchanged for decades, I mean you don't see here the devastation which ruined so many venues from the 1960s' to the 1980s' (don't tell, but they probably don't comply to the EU norms if this place feels so real). Even the outside (picture on right) seems eerily from another time, like if the pressure for this luxury-renovation urge never made it to here. That's a good thing because many venues have lost their soul through an excessive modernization. Here you don't hesitate to walk in, you feel at home.
Oh and I forgot an important detail : this place is cheap (2,4 € for a glass of wine is indeed cheap in Paris), making you feel easy to let you go and really enjoy your evening without second thoughts.
The L-shaped dining room allows every one to have a comfortable view on the mini-stage which sits in the corner.
Like you can see on this picture, they also offet pichet size, two of them to be precise (25cl & 50cl), and the regular bottle size if you're a small party or particularly thirsty.
The wine list is not big, but considering the features of this multi-faceted venue, I'll take it as is, no questions asked :
Moulin de Gassac : glass 2,4 € - (pichet) 25cl 4,8 € - 50 cl 9,6 € - bottle 14,4 € - liter (yes !) 19,2 €
Moulin de Gassac Rosé : same prices.
Chateau Quinçay (Touraine, Loire) : glass 2,8 € - 25cl 5,5 € - 50cl 11,2 € - bottle 16,8 €
Vrille Têtue (Organic Bordeaux) : glass 3 € - 25cl 6 € - 50cl 9,6 € - bottle 18 €
Côtes du Rhone (Vignerons d'Estézargues) : glass 2,4 € - 25cl 4,8 € - 50cl 9,6 €
Sauvignon (Chateau de Quinçay, Touraine) : glass 2,8 € - 25cl 5,6 € - 50cl 11,2 € - bottle 16,8 €
Chardonnay : glass 2,4 € - 25cl 4,8 € - 50cl 9,6 € - liter 19,2 €
Picpoul de Pinet : glass 2,4 - 25cl 4,8 € - 50cl 9,6 € - bottle 14,4 €
Tab : Pelforth 2,5 € - Jenlain 3,2 €
Bottles : Affligen 3,2 € - Heineken 3,2 € - Hoegarden 3,2 € - Buckler 2,1 €
You can order your dishes and begin eating at 8pm, which leaves you two comfortable hours to enjoy your party and chat with your dear one or the next table (for some reason the conversation starts easily at the Limonaire, even with complete strangers). Then, comes the show at around 10pm, and discussion stops, the lights dim and several singers will do their show, the focus being on French songs with meaningful lyrics and live music.
You choose your order from the menu on the big blackboard on the wall, and that evening Lolo had prepared for us the following entrées and main dishes :
Mousse de Thon au curry 4,6 € - Crème de cresson parmesan 4,6 € - Rillettes de porc 4,6 € - Salade de museau & lentilles 3,4 €
Pounti épinards pruneaux crudités 10 e - Tomates farçies 11,5 € - Langue de boeuf charcutière avec petits pois carottes 11,5 € - Filet de cabillaud sauce orange gimgembre et flan de poireaux 13 €
Tiramisu et Nutella 5,4 € - Faisselle coulis de fruits rouges 4,3 € - Tarte auc pralines roses 4,8 € - Riz au lait caramel beurre salé 4,3 € - Mi-cuit choco carambar sur crème anglaise au café 4,8 € - Crème brûlée 4,3 e.
On Mondays there's something I never went to, it's some sort of real goguette, with anonymous amateurs like you and me can sing their own songs and see how the public likes them. That day is also special in the sense that you bring your own food which is put in common, and you just pay for the drinks ordered at the bar.... This monday special is named la goguette des énervés.
Céline Caussimon's songs are French through and through, with post-1960s' cultural references at every turn. There's something of Claire Bretécher in her songs, if you're familiar with this female comics artists, the same gender-centered, rebel posturing with self-deprecating humor.
Celine Caussimon's website
There's no ticket or fee to attend the shows but you're free to give what you want at the end of the evening when the basket or the hat makes its round.
If you wonder what a Limonaire is, it's a street music-instrument which has some resemblance with accordion, and there's one of them on your right when you just pass the door, near the window. Apart from portable limonaires, there were big limonaires a century ago, like this one.
Noelle says that the patrons at Au Limonaire come from various walks of life, and we saw by ourselves that there's also all the generations here. On fridays ans saturdays, they usually receive 3 different artists, some of them being young singers/musicians from the French Provinces who go to Paris to show their production to the Paris amateurs. The mix of regognized artists with up-and-coming ones makes a good balance for every one, the public and the performers.
Au Limonaire is 200 meters away from one of the best wine restaurants in Paris, Autour d'Un Verre (where you can also purchase bottles to go), here is the intinerary (very simple) between the two.
Pictures shot at Au Limonaire
history of Au Limonaire