When the temperature dips over here, I normally take solace in the fact that it’s at least 2-3 degrees colder in the South of England, and possibly more as you head further North. But that couldn’t possibly be true right now, or London would have come to a snowy standstill this week. Nonetheless, this won’t stop Paris’ faithful smokers. Since the ban came into force at the turn of the year, it’s been strangely enjoyable to see the Parisian puffers gathering outside bars, and as you’ll have noticed if you have a ban wherever it is that you call home, you can instantly see the most popular places as they tend to have the biggest crowd of people outside.
Some Parisian night clubs have, at least in the short-term, suffered a little. Paris Paris still looks good inside, but it is so obscenely bright in there it’s almost awkward. However, some of the eateries are benefiting from it hugely, and none less so than La Fourmi.
I find it hard to put my finger on what I like so much about La Fourmi. I just like it. The decor is good: unpretentious yet cool, light and there’s an enormous chandelier that I always find fascinating. The food is okay - not amazing, but pleasing, and if you fancy a Croque Monsieur or any other kind of Croque you won’t be disappointed. It’s definitely typically Parisian, too, which is a good thing.
I did read somewhere that the service is friendly. This is a lie. Unless smiling at your penultimate order, but sauntering around pouting the rest of the time is considered friendly. But I’m always moaning about service in Paris; La Fourmi is simply par for the course.
I have a great affection for the layout; that could be why I like it there so much. La Fourmi starts at the bottom of a hill. Une fourmi in French is an ant, so I feel there is some kind of metaphorical message to be had here, but I may well be looking too far into it…
Anyway, the bar is on your right as you come in from the main entrance - there is a little perching space and then there are lots and lots of tables. And then some stairs (where there is also a table) and then a kind of mezzanine, with more tables. This mezzanine is a really pleasant place to sit and eat - the diners equivalent of sitting high up in the cab of a truck (but with better food) - but it used to be the smokiest place in the world. But no longer, as the fog’s outside, which makes the place look even more fun from the outside, and a whole lot better (sorry, smokers) on the inside.
Oh and it’s cheap. La Fourmi is really cheap. You can sit down and spend 8 euros and eat something decent. That might be why I like it so much. It’s really well located, too, being basically at the intersection of rue des Martyrs, which stretches vertically from the chic 9th right up to the heart of Montmartre, and the huge Boulevard Clichy/Rochechouart/Many Other Names that runs through northern Paris.
Simply put, La Fourmi has a great vibe. It’s light and open, more so since the smoking ban, but don’t just take my haphazard word(s) for it. If you’re feeling peckish wandering round the 18th, taking in Pigalle, and you spot a hilly place with lots of smoking going on outside, you’ll know what to do.
La Fourmi Café
74, rue des Martyrs
Tel : 01 42 64 70 35
Article by Chris from http://www.voiceofacity.com/paris/?p=943