Les Bobos

The term bobo made its dashing debut into the new millenium in David Brook’s book Bobos in Paradise back in 2000. Ever since, this witty fusion of the words ‘bourgeois’ and ‘bohème’ ,which refers to the mélange of these traditionally polarized social groups, has penetrated the vocabulary of even the most recluse Parisian.

Characteristics of a Bobo

One part conservative bourgeoisie, one part young, progressive bohemian, the essence of a bobo can be tough to wrap one’s head around. However, the characterization results from a handful of shared behaviors including where to go, what to buy, where to work, and how to think, etc.

A well-to-do bunch, bobos interestingly refuse to conform to traditional bourgeois standards, for instance frowning upon glitz in all its forms. You won’t find bobos settled in the 16th arrondissment. That would be scandaleux! Real bobos dwell in the shantier areas of town—provided there’s some green turf to hang out on. Preferring the writing pen to the power suit on all costs, bobos overwhelmingly seek work in the creative sector. In one sentence: They are relatively cliquey cyber-enthusiasts who avidly support the organic as well as environmental movements and love to travel. For all intents and purposes, the Parisian bobo and the New York hipsters are two cut from the same cloth.

Bobo Hangouts in Paris

In Paris, the bobo lives in the central arrondissements, but recently, he’s been migrating out to former poor neighborhoods in the east of the city.Parisian bobos meet up around the Canal Saint-Martin, in the upper Marais and in Montmartre, as well as near Batignolles or Belleville. But they’re constantly colonizing new areas, especially in the east of the city. You’ll recognize them at café terraces, in nice little restaurants, in hip boutiques and at the shops of young, trendy fashion designers. They’re also fans of big contemporary art galleries. You’ll find a huge concentration of bobos at the Marché des Enfants Rouges (3rd arrondissement), rue de Bretagne, or place des Abbesses (18th arrondissement).

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