Best Paris Strolls

Stroll 25: Pigalle (aka SOPI)

Stroll 25 Place Saint Georges

Quick Description:  1800s Romantic Era area, unique museums, major churches, varied dining.  

Where: Right Bank, directly south of Montmartre.

Start on Blvd de Clichy at Place Pigalle, outside of Metro station Pigalle (#2, #12 lines).  End at Rue de Chateaudun, in front of the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, outside Metro station Notre-Dame-de-Lorette (#12 line). 

Duration: 45-60-min walk; museums and churches 30-60 mins each; with all venues @3-4 hrs. Two Early Departure Options.   

Best Days:  Wed – Sat.

Best Time to Start:  10am – Noon.  

Ready to stroll?
Open this page vertically on your mobile phone and click VIEW DIRECTIONS.

Connects: by foot to Stroll 26 (Cadet to Bourse via Passages), and by Metro rides of varying lengths to Stroll 13 (Musee D’Orsay to Musee Rodin), or Stroll 15 (Concorde-Tuileries-Vendome), or Stroll 16 (Concorde-Madeleine-Expiatoire), or Stroll 17 (Concorde to Place de l’Alma), or Stroll 24 (Montmartre). 

Past and Present:  Quartier Pigalle is bordered on the north by Blvd de Clichy and Place Pigalle and on the south by Blvd Haussmann, with Rue Saint-Lazare running through the middle.  Originally outside the Paris city wall, the area was settled in the 1200s by the Porcheron family, who built a village.  The area was incorporated into Paris in the 1700s and underwent extensive development in the 1800s.  During the first half of the 1800s, the northern part – the subject of this stroll – became known as “La Nouvelle Athenes” (The New Athens), because so many of its residents were prominent in the arts.   Today it is known by the acronym “SOPI” (i.e., South of Pigalle – referring to Place Pigalle). With its unique museums and churches, restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines, and mix of gritty and Bobo vibes, Pigalle aka SOPI is often compared to modern day Brooklyn, New York.  

Attractions (in order):  

  • Place Pigalle: Traffic plaza and Metro hub along Blvd de Clichy, at the bottom of the south side of the Montmartre butte.  In the past, the plaza and surrounding streets were notorious as a red-light district.  Still a bit gritty, the area today features a number of hipster bars, restaurants and music clubs.  
  • Villa Frochot and Art Glass Window Wall: Place Gabriel Kaspereit. Built in 1837, the villa has been a private mansion and a cabaret and is now a party venue.  The exterior facing the plaza features a remarkable Art Deco stained-glass window wall created in the 1920s. 
  • Avenue Frochot:  Entry gate next to the art glass wall of Villa Frochot, at Place Gabriel Kaspereit,   Dating from 1826, this private street was home to many famous artists and it even has a haunted house.  The picturesque lower half of the street can be viewed from the gate.  No public access.
  • Musee de la Vie Romantique: #16 Rue Chaptal, first half of the route.  Perhaps Paris’s most charming museum venue, it evokes and explains the city’s “Romantic Era” in the first half of the 19th century through exhibits, paintings and special shows in the former house of painter Ary Scheffer, a cousin of the famed feminist writer George Sand.  This was a meeting place for artists and members of the intelligentsia of the era.  Enhancing the impression of stepping into a romantic past, the house is set well back from the street, down a shady lane, and is surrounded by a pretty garden, featuring a tea salon (see “Dining Suggestions”). Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, free, except for temporary special exhibits.  
  • Musee Gustave Moreau: #14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld.  Born in Paris to a well-off family, Moreau (1826-1898) became an important painter of the “Symbolist” school, who focused on biblical and mythological themes, and also a teacher of soon-to-be-great painters, such as Matisse.  This museum, opened in 1903, presents many of his works as well as his living quarters in three floors of his long-time home and atelier, which he bequeathed to the French Republic.  Mon, Wed, Thurs 10am-12:45pm and 2pm-5:15pm, Fri-Sun 10am-5:15pm.  Admission €7E, but with various discounts and free admissions, €11 combo ticket with Musee Jean-Jacques Henner (visited on Stroll 22). 
  • Church of the Holy Trinity (Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite): Place d’Estienne d’Orves, facing Rue de Chateaudun. Known colloquially today as “La Trinite,” this church with a soaring bell tower was constructed 1861-1867 during the Second Empire. The design makes use of a mix of earlier architectural styles. The interior features a single nave with multiple side chapels and a variety of artworks.  Open to visitors Mon-Fri 7:30am-7:45pm, Sat 10am-7:45pm, Sun 10am-8pm, free. (Note: entrances are on the sides, near the front – there is no entry allowed from the square in front through the main doors.)     
  • Square d’Estienne d’Orves.  Garden square in front of the Church of the Holy Trinity, named for a WWII Resistance hero.  Open Mon-Fri 8am-5:45pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5:45pm, free. 
  • Square d’Orleans: Entrance via passage at #80 Rue Taitbout.  Elegant residential enclave with connected courtyards constructed from 1830 to 1842 and named for France’s king at the time, the constitutional monarch, Louis-Philippe d’Orleans. This was where many people in the arts lived, including Frederic Chopin and George Sand.   Plaques note the residences of Chopin and Sand, and there also is a brass plaque showing the layout of the complex.  Open 24×7, free.  
  • Place Saint-Georges:  Comely traffic rotary at the intersection of Rue Saint-Georges and Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, installed in 1824.  It is surrounded by grand mansions of the same period and has a central statue of 19th century illustrator Paul Garvani.  It also is home to Theatre Saint-Georges, an entertainment venue opened in 1929 and used as a set in a 1980 Francois Truffaut film, “The Last Metro.” 
  • Square Alex Biscarre: Entrance from Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, just north of Square Saint-Georges.  This small, hidden park was originally the garden of the private mansion that can be seen looming above, known as the Hotel Dosne-Thiers, constructed in 1832.  Public toilets are located here.  Open daily 9am or 9:30am to 5pm, or 5:30pm or 7pm, depending on the season, free. 
  • Pere Tanguy shop: #14 Rue Clauzel.  Now a jewelry store, this was the shop of paint color producer Julien Tanguy (1825-1894), known as Pere (Father) Tanguy, who was one the first patrons of the Impressionist painters of Montmartre.  Van Gogh painted his portrait three times.    
  • Rue des Martyrs: This ancient street runs from Rue Saint Lazare all the way north to the middle of the Montmartre butte.  The stroll route covers a few blocks of its southern half which, in modern times, have become a hive of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, butchers, groceries and boutiques, creating a lively, picturesque market scene. 
  • Church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette#18 bis Rue de Chateaudun.  Commissioned by the city in 1823, its name references the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, in Italy, The church’s architectural style is neo-classical, with an austere façade, In contrast, the interior is sumptuously decorated with marble and gold, plus murals, frescos and sculptures, and a remarkable coffered ceiling.   Open to visitors Mon-Fri 9:30am-7:30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7:30pm, free.

Dining Suggestions (in order):

  • El Nopal Taqueria: #5 Rue Duperre, just off Place Pigalle.  Popular hole-in-the-wall, often cited by diners as having the best Mexican food in Paris. Open kitchen, limited indoor seating, a couple of outside tables. Tues-Sat Noon-11pm, Sun Noon-5pm.  Moderate prices.
  • Maison Lautrec: #63 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle.  Farm-to-Table French cuisine, presented in a menu of inventive small plates that can be shared.  Modern, light-filled, indoor space with a hipster vibe, outdoor seating.  Tues-Fri Noon-3pm, 7pm-2am, Sat 6pm-2am.  Plates €10-16, pricey cocktails and wines by the bottle.  
  • Un The Dans Le Jardin: #16 Rue Chaptal, on the grounds of Musee de la Vie Romantique, first half of the route.  Tea salon in a picturesque garden and greenhouse setting with sweet and savory pastries from Rose Bakery.  Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.  Moderate prices.  (Can be visited without admission to the museum.)   
  • L’Annexe: #15 Rue Chaptal, at Rue Henner, across the street from the museum.  French cuisine, typical short bistro menu.  Traditional room, outdoor seating.  Mon-Fri Noon-3pm, 7-10:30pm.  Appetizers @€8-19, Mains @€10-34. 
  • Oinari: #34 Rue la Bruyère. Japanese fast-food cuisine. Small, bright, casual space with about 10 indoor tables and a couple of outdoor tables.  Mon-Fri Noon-2pm.  Various combos from @€11.5-18.  
  • Les Canailles: #25 Rue la Bruyère.  French cuisine, with a short menu of upscale offerings. Spare, bright, modern room.  Mon-Fri Noon-2:30pm, 7pm-10:30pm.  Prix fixe meal @€31-39.  Many wines by the glass @€6-7.5.
  • Café du Mogador: #57 Rue de la Chausee d’Antin, across Rue de Chateaudun from the Church of the Holy Trinity.  French cuisine, typical brasserie menu. Boldly decorated dining room, outdoor seating.  Daily 8am-1am.  Appetizers €7-9, Mains €13-17; Salad Mains @€16.  
  • CDP – Cuisine Lusitanienne: #43 Rue Saint Lazare.  Portuguese-inspired cuisine, substantial portions.  Handsome, light-filled room, table and counter seating, some outdoor seating.  Mon-Sat Noon-Midnight.  Appetizers @€6.5-8.5, Mains @€16-25, Desserts @€3-8.5, Plates to Share @€12.5-18.5. 
  • Le Bon Georges#45 Rue Saint-Georges, at the intersection with Rue d’Aumale.  French cuisine, short, high-end bistro menu featuring specially sourced meats. Traditional room with atmospheric antique touches.  Daily Noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm, and open for drinks with a short menu 3pm-6pm. Average lunch price @€68 3 courses. Expensive, multi-course chef-determined menus also offered. 
  • Bo Man Café: #33 Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, just north of Square Saint-Georges.  An old tabac converted into a trendy brasserie. French cuisine, popular brunch. Traditional room, outdoor seating. Mon-Fri 7am-1am, Sat-Sun 8am-1am.  Lunch prix fixe @€15-30. 
  • Glaces Glazed: #54 Rue des Martyrs, three short blocks north of Rue Clauzel, an optional detour. Offering ice cream, gelato and sorbet with many unusual flavors.  Some outdoor seating.  Mon-Fri 1-7:30pm, Sat-Sun 11am-8pm.  1 scoop €3.5, 2 scoops €5.5, 3 scoops €6.5.
  • Paristanbul: #10 Rue Saint Lazare, a short way to the right of the end of Rue des Martyrs,   Turkish cuisine, kebabs, sandwiches, burgers, fries, Casual modern cellar room with tables and ground floor counter.  Mon-Sat 11:15am-8:45pm.  Most offerings €7-13.
  • Lorette: #9 Rue Saint Lazare, a short way to the right of the end of Rue des Martyrs.  French cuisine, typical short bistro menu. Traditional, vintage looking room.  Mon-Fri Noon-2:30pm, 7:30-10:30pm, Sat 12:30-3pm, 7:30-10:30pm.  Prix fixe lunch @€14-18.5.    
  • Domenico’s: #8 Rue Saint Lazare, a short way to the right of the end of Rue des Martyrs.  Italian (Sicilian) cuisine, with a number of fresh pasta dishes.  Modern, casual room.  Mon-Sat Noon-3pm, 6:30-8:45pm.  Average cost: @€38 3 courses.  Glass of wine @€6.
  • Isana Paris: #7 Rue Bourdaloue, adjacent to the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.  Latin American cuisine and cocktails.  Brightly colored, modern, casual room, some outdoor tables.  Mon-Fri Noon-2:30pm, Wed-Thurs 6-9pm, Sun 11:30am-4pm.  Lunch two-item formulas @€12-16.20, Mains @€10-13.
  • So Nat: #5 Rue Bourdaloue, adjacent to the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.  Part of a local chain.  Vegan cuisine.  Casual space with limited seating, a few outdoor tables.  Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm.  Various formulas featuring bowls @€9E-16, plus soup €4, pita sandwich €5.  
  • Café Lorette: #20 Rue de Chateaudun, at the corner with Rue Bourdaloue and adjacent to the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.  French cuisine, typical café menu.  Traditional room, outdoor seating.  Daily 9am-Midnight.  Average prices: Appetizers €6-8, Mains €14-20, Salad Mains €14-16, Omelets €8.5, Breakfast express menu €8.50.  Full bar, wines by the glass at moderate prices.

Ready to stroll?
Open this page vertically on your mobile phone and click VIEW DIRECTIONS.


Stroll Map

Ready to stroll?
Open this page vertically on your mobile phone and click VIEW DIRECTIONS.