This cabaret located in the heart of Montmartre, near the vineyards and the Sacré-Cœur, was called cabaret des Assassins ("cabaret of the murderers") in 1860. Adèle Decerf, a former French cancan dancer, owned the house in 1886 and called it Ma campagne, "My countryside".
In 1900, the famous rabbit designed by André Gill gave its name to the restaurant. The Lapin à Gill ("Gill's rabbit)") became Lapin agile ("Agile Rabbit)")... a funny pun!
In 1903, Aristide Bruant bought the house in order to save it from the destruction: he gave it to Frederic Gérard, as known as the père (father) Frédé. Until 1914, it was a refuge for the bohemians from Montmartre: Renoir, Van Gogh, Courteline...