Monthly Archives: January 2015

The many pleasures of Paris’ SoPi

The many pleasures of Paris’ SoPi

Spotted on a Paris travel board: “[Pigalle:] Dodgy looking people, gangs bothering tourists and locals in full view of the police, a pedestrian road lined with the most sketchy looking bunch of people. I had to walk it on my own to buy some macaroons to take home with me from the best macaroons in Paris, but I…

21 Responses to The many pleasures of Paris’ SoPi

  1. I love this area! We were once looking for a café near Metro St. Georges, but we didn’t find it because we walked the wrong way. We ended up at the Moulin Rouge, and we found the area delightful! Another time, we visited the Musée de la Vie Romantique just to sit in the garden. Lovely!

    Sandy

  2. This whole area looks positively chic now! I haven’t been around there in ages. I was in a hotel in that neighborhood (Blvd de Clichy, I think) with my college group way back in the early 80s and remember it as feeling pretty sleazy at the time. Not in the ridiculous “no-go zone” sense that was tossed out by Fox News, of course! But there were plenty of sex shops and so forth, and we all got the general feeling of walking on the wild side by even being there. I imagine it has changed immensely.

    • Bonjour Betty. A lot of what you saw in the 80s is still there, at least around boulevard de Clichy or la place Pigalle. But even there, as I mentioned, things are changing fast. The most pleasant – and trendiest – part of Pigalle is the one I cover here, south of boulevard de Clichy. I hope you can return soon.

  3. You’ve definitely a no go zone on your hands here! The combination of sweets and breads is enough to transform any ‘hip’ in this hipster! 😉

  4. The “macaroon” thing nearly killed me! Obviously this was the first visit to Paris that the reviewer wrote. I don’t get it. If people research their trips before visiting, they are aware that Pigalle, with the touristy “Moulin Rouge”, isn’t exactly l’avenue Foch. Although I don’t frequent the Pigalle area, I’ve driven by many times and find the area quite colorful. Besides, my Frenchman’s family had a huge apartment in the area. His grandfather’s studio had this amazing rounded window for a fantastic view of the neighborhood. I gotta go. I’m going to make a “banquette” to accompany those tasty “macaroons”!

    • Bonjour Cathe. I hope you are making a “BLANquette,” not a “banquette,” to accompany the macarons! 😉 Yes, it makes you wonder what people expect when they visit a big city’s Red Light district. And yes, preparation and research do pay off when traveling. Pigalle is changing fast, like many other neighborhoods in the northern sections of Paris. Good or bad thing? Only time will tell. Bonne semaine !

  5. What a lovely stroll. Good thing you got there before the Caliphate was created and they kicked out all those hipsters, bakers and poor innocent children. 😀 Seriously, even the most run-down parts of Paris have more charm and interesting architecture than many chain-store laden blocks in US cities.

  6. Hi Veronique. I am so glad you wrote about this today. I have been to Paris several times and have explored this area too, but not the same route as you (I will have to try this one). My friends and family ask frequently if I am afraid to go back and my answer remains the same…no. Just as I was beginning to waver I read you article….I may keep my plans and go this fall.

    • No wavering, Jeanne. Paris, even when under the threat of terrorist attacks, is still safer than many American cities. I am convinced of it! You should absolutely return this fall. With a bit of luck, I will be able to return before summer.

  7. What a delightful and fun post, an armchair trip to Paris! The pix are excellent, what a beautiful day when you were there. I’m ready to go!

  8. Veronique – love your opening line: “just to get their hands on the pretty round cookies with a name they can’t either pronounce or spell.”

    I can somehow understand why Amerlockes cannot pronounce macarons, but why oh why can’t we properly pronounce MOULIN?

    Seriously, all the actors of the film Moulin Rouge pronounced it as mouLON. Like jarDON? RoDON? GraTON? Aaargh!

  9. I haven’t wandered around Pigalle for a few years but I always found it to be a colourful, lively place but never threatening in any way. I had already decided that we should explore this area again before reading this post. One of the reasons was in fact a visit to Sébastien Gaudard as I have read so much about his wonderful creations (and you already know about my sweet tooth!) I’m sure I would enjoy that delightful tea room too and of course the museum itself!

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