A walk around SoPi (South of Pigalle) will be rewarded by encounters with its mix of romantic, old-world architecture, lively nightlife, and exciting food scene. Situated just south of metro Pigalle and boulevard de Clichy − with its sleazy strip of sex emporiums − this neighborhood manages to balance vice, tourism, and chic Parisian living, with a panache that makes Pigalle scintillate with activity day and night. I recently moved to the area and have taken to its charms like a duck to water. As with elsewhere in Paris, walking is a must if you are to really enjoy the ambience and admire the majestic streets. I recommend beginning a morning stroll from metro Trinity by walking up the steadily ascending hill towards Montmartre. From time to time you will be able to spot Sacré Coeur peeking out over the rooftops.
I have listed a few of the local spots that you should look out for on a visit, but the best plan is to content yourself with getting lost while you discover the quarter's magic for yourself.
A morning spent at the Musée de la Vie Romantique is the best way to get acquainted with the artistic and cultural life of 19th Century SoPi. Once the home of Dutch artist, Ary Scheffer — this private house with garden (a rarity in Paris) is found hidden at the end of a narrow tree-lined avenue in the heart of SoPi. It’s not surprising to learn that Scheffer entertained some of the great intellectual, political, and artistic minds of his day in this delightful 19th century city retreat. Georges Sand, Chopin, Eugène Delacroix, Charles Dickens, Liszt and Berlioz all spent time in this home. Objects, paintings, and furniture belonging to some of these notables are beautifully arranged around the rooms and the studio of this house. If you are just looking for a quiet place to sit, the café of this museum, housed in the conservatory, is a wonderful place to retire with a book for an hour or two.
16 rue Chaptal 75009
Open everyday from 10am to 6pm.
Closed Mondays and for national holidays.
A walk up Rue des Martrys is akin to a pilgrimage for food lovers. The chic residents of SoPi do all of their shopping and dining along this street and it’s easy to see why.
Rose Bakery, 46 rue des Martyrs The owner of Rose Bakery, Rose Carrarini, has had her cookbook published by the prestigious art publisher Phaidon, regularly contributes a column to the Financial Times of London, and has sister restaurants in the chic Dover Street Market London and at Le Bon Marché Paris. Not bad for an organic café begun nearly a decade ago on the rue des Martyrs. Lunch is the best time to come and taste the mouth-watering selection of salads. Leave room for the the English-inspired deserts such as the feted Rose Bakery carrot cake.
Patisserie Sébastien Gaudard, 22 rue des Martyrs
For serious cake lovers and their friends, there are a few addresses on the rue des Martyrs that will keep you busy for a while: Popelini, Delmontel and Landemaine all beckon with their sumptuous window displays of sugary wonders, almost too beautiful to be eaten. Sébastien Gaudard, who won 2012’s best Patissierie Chef, is therefore not a bad place to start.
Le Cul de Poule, 53 rue des Martyrs
This fun neo-bistro serves up great food in a modern setting. Like many neo-bistros in Paris, the majority of the wines on its list are natural. Lunch is from €15 to €20
La Table des Anges, 66 rue des Martyrs
The Financial Times recently gave this restaurant a great write up and it’s not surprising why. An evening spent in this well put-together setting, serving up mostly fish, complimented by an excellent wine list, will leave you asking for "more please".
And the best of the rest….
Kooka Boora Café, 62 rue des Martyrs. The best cappuccino on this side of town — by far.
Hotel D’Amour, 8 rue Navarin. This fashionable and expensive restaurant is run by the très chic Hotel Costes. It's the place to be seen — if thats what you are looking for.
Le Carmen, 34 rue Duperré
For a very special way to end the night, take a drink in the sumptuous surroundings of Le Carmen. Once the home of the composer Georges Bizet, who supposedly wrote his famous opera here — the title now fittingly lends its name to the club found within. The perfectly preserved Napoleon III interior, with its ostentatious mouldings, chandeliers, and beautiful furniture is exquisite — so make sure you dress for the occasion.
Agathe was absolutely delightful! Her knowledge and charming personality made her an excellent tour guide. I would highly suggest this tour!!
Jesica was a great tour guide and made the experience one of the highlights of our entire trip to Paris. It certainly met our expectations.
Marjorie was just great! I didn't really want to do the Louvre but she made the history come alive in stories and I just LOVED our experience!
Alberto was a great guide, he was very informative. The Catacombs were just awesome. Would definitely recommend this to everyone!!
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