South Pigalle has been all over the news as the place to be in Paris for the last couple of years now, and like with a good wine, it just keeps on getting better with time. Situated south of the kitschy Moulin Rouge at the bottom of romantic hilltop neighbourhood Montmartre, the area sprawls all the way to Notre Dame de Lorette, with the rue des Martyrs as its main artery. While the area has been halied as being pretty hipster or bobo (bourgeois-bohemian), SoPi as one WSJ coined it, brims with great places to eat, drink and shop. Below we bring you our five staples although we strongly recommend you delve in and explore further too.
Hôtel Amour Restaurant
Opened by French restaurant magnate Thierry Costes, whose name is practically synonymous with the Parisian cuilinary scene, Hôtel Amour remains a favourite place to lunch and dine among Paris's bohemian chic crowd. Designed by André Saraiva, a Swedish-born and Parisian-bred founder of Le Baron club in Paris and London as well as Le Bain at the New York Standard Hotel, the highlight of this hotel property is actually its onsite garden restaurant and conservatory. A bucolic option for indulging in fairly basic yet tasty French fare, patrons don't necessarily go for the food, but for the social setting, good looking beings and the buzzy atmosphere. The restaurant also offers a brunch menu on the weekend.
Rose Bakery Café
The Franco-British bakery is a veritable South Pigalle institution that played a key role in the area's development. A haven for foodies who swear by eating all-organic, everything is prepared on site with fresh produce. Indulge in carrot cake, freshly baked scones, sandwiches, fresh soups, freshly ground coffee – and the list is endless. The L-shaped room has a handful of tables that are usually taken shortly after the doors open. The concept is so successful that the owners have since opened an outlet at upmarket department store Le Bon Marché and in the boho-chic neighbourhood of the Marais.
(Open for lunch; closed Mondays)
© Rose Bakery/Instagram
L'Entrée des Artistes bar and restaurant
There's no name on the nondescript door but inside, the ground-floor Berlin style speakeasy bar with its exposed brick and lofty ceilings and pocket-sized restaurant upstairs is awash with people (book a table at the restaurant in advance). The hushed candle-lit bar with its ancient cash register sets the scene. Here the staff serves cocktails called things like Mon vieu tabac (my old tobacco or old tobacco shop) and Quartier Rouge (red light district), while upstairs honours the ubiquitous small plates trend of Paris accompanied by a great selection of wines, mostly natural.
Grand Pigalle Hotel Bar
Just opened, the Dorothée Meilichzon designed boutique hotel is the Experimental cocktail bar clan's first hotel venture. Although the retro rooms are splashed with Meilichzon's signature style, the highlight here is the ground-floor bar, which used to be an old chemist's. The candle-lit room lined with windows is a cosy and lively haunt for indulging in one or more of the 400 Italian wines on offer. Tapas and nibbles are also on hand. Visitors looking for Parisian essence need not be put off by the origin of the wines as the atmosphere, buzzing with fashionable and trendy locals, couldn't be more Parisian.
Professore bar and restaurant
This Italian trattoria serves one of the best Mozzarella di Bufala as well as grilled aubergines you'll find in the city, and in the back don't miss the moody candle-lit speakeasy style cocktail bar (actually named Il Gocce), which looks like it could have been Dracula's personal library. Off the South Pigalle radar, there's always room here. Think cosy velvet armchairs and drapes, dripping candles and worn carpets. The staff here, Italian for the most part, rustle up all sorts of cocktails from the menu as well as on demand.