When deciding where to stay in Paris, Pigalle must be on your list. Long gone are the brothels and gangsters of Paris’s former red-light district, still of the things to do in Pigalle night life plays a major part. Centre of the sexual revolution of 1880’s Paris and home of the famous Moulin Rouge the area was full of opportunities for debauchery, although a little more restrained now but you can still make your evenings in Pigalle as exciting as you want them to be. But what about the days? Pigalle still has much to offer.
Things to do in Pigalle
Rue des Martyrs
The authentic Parisian old market street of Rue des Martyrs is a collection of boutiques, gourmet shops, cafes, and patisseries. Patisserie Sébastien Gaudard, the Rose Bakery and the boulangerie PainPain are a few of the must visit places.
Le Bal Café
Take opportunities to get off the main roads in Pigalle and you will come across places like Bal Café, tucked into a small passage you will find one of Paris’s first barista cafes. An ever-changing menu is always full of great food with far flung influences and the weekend brunch attracts an array of visitors enjoying the food. The café also has a bookstore of the same name promoting self-publishers and artists.
Wedged between a school and a residential building is the multi coloured basketball court, Playground Duperrée. With gradients of blue, pink, purple and orange the total contrast with its surroundings is the work of Ill Studio and Pigalle (the fashion brand that takes its name from the area), If you don’t fancy getting your game on its still worth a visit.
Musée de la Vie Romantique
Back in the 1830’s the area was full of artists, writers and composers and this museum harks back to that era. The museum, partially artist Ary Scheffer’s former studio, is dedicated to the Romantic period and as well as Scheffer’s works holds a collection of author George Sand’s personal mementos. The tree lined courtyard is also a nice place for a coffee out of the sun during the warmer months.
Musée Gustave Moreau
The artists former studio and home can be found as he would have left them and gives an insight to the life of an artist. With thousands of examples of his work its well worth the visit.
A museum you wont need hours to wander around but an interesting one none the less. PhonoMuseum gives an insight into the history of recorded sound since 1857 with its astonishing collection of gramophones.
Place des Abbesses
Its not often that a metro station gets put on a list of places to see but Place des Abbesses has a couple of claims to fame. It is the deepest station in Paris at 36 metres below ground and also has one of only two remaining belle-epoque entrances designed by Hector Guimard that are still standing. Abbesses is also the best metro station to stop at if you are planing on spending a day in Montmartre.
The original building from 1890, which was the first electrified building in Paris, burnt down in 1915. Its replacement still provides the vision that comes to mind when people think of the saucier side of Paris. A must have selfie location, the Moulin Rouge still hosts the high kicking can-can its famous for.
This five star hotel shows how things have changed in Pigalle. A former brothel now a boutique hotel with just 20 rooms. Decorated in the Belle-Époque style and evoking memories of its former use this is certainly a unique place to stay. If a night here is outside the budget perhaps visit the cocktail lounge for a quick drink and soak in the atmosphere.
Taking its name from the former hostess bar this Tiki cocktail bar is a great place to end a day. With plenty of rum and a Polynesian theme to the bar the Hawaiian shirted staff are happy to serve from the great cocktail menu.
Another bar that’s a good place to end up is Lulu White, an elegant New Orleans style speakeasy in dark wood and dim lighting serving up their own brand of cocktail.
If you are looking for something different you should be able to find things to do in Pigalle. Let us know what you found so we can check it out next time we are in Paris.
Chris is a Number cruncher by work day, seeker of new experiences by weekend – always looking to spend 48 hours somewhere! Seen 4 continents, 26 countries and 100’s of city’s hoping to add a few more each year.