Situated in the corner of the painters square, Place du Tertre, La Bonne Franquette is a living memorial to the heyday of Montmartre. A haven for artists; its name (meaning simple and unpretentious) represented an atmosphere congenial enough to become a meeting point for some of the greatest impressionists and post impressionists of all time.
Like many of the restaurants and watering holes of 19th century Montmartre, the restaurant was popular with the incoming artists. Drawn to the village by the cheap rent and bohemian lifestyle; the restaurant, then known as Aux Billards en Bois, was a hit with painters and writers alike.
A Muse for Van Gogh and Renoir.
A who’s who of the Montmartre artists, from; Degas, Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Valadon and Utrillo, were regular billard players. It was also on these premises that Renoir painted his noted portrait “Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette” in 1876. It’s said that Von Gogh – who would discover the restaurant in 1886 – would drink absinthe with Toulouse-Lautrec. In the garden of Aux Billards en Bois, Vincent pained his famous “La Guinguette”.
In 1925, the illustrator and local, Francisque Poulbot gave the premises the name la Bonne Franquette. Known for merriment and reasonable prices, the establishment remained a popular spot, even when the artists had departed for southern Paris. In 1941, the restaurant featured in the Edith Piaf film, Montmartre-sur-Seine. Charles Aznavour,Piaf would discover in the area, would go on to live in the building during following decade.
Throughout the 50s, la Bonne Franquette once again became a popular hotspot with a new generation of celebrities. Actors like Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway and Yul Brunner, who were filming in the area, were enticed by a new menu, as the restaurant became an exclusive Parisian eatery.
However, new ownership in the 70s then brought the restaurant back to its unpretentious roots. Today, la Bonne Franquette continues to embrace the cheer of yesteryear, organising nightly sing-a-longs and dancing. Popular with locals and tourists alike, its an enduring testament to Montmartre’s village character.
Our guests can walk to la Bonne Franquette in less than ten minutes. If you’re not staying with us, why not? Book now and discover Montmartre on your doorstep!