We stayed in Montmartre this time, something I never thougt I’d do! When I lived in Paris (20 years ago) Pigalle and Montmartre wasn’t really a place we chose to hang out. The area around Place du Tertre was a tourist trap (with the exception of Le Tire Bouchon, which we loved but unfortunately now is permanently closed) and the Pigalle area was full of sex shops. We had a good laugh at some of the bars though.

Le Petit Moulin in rue Tholozé. Is it a pirate bar? Is it derelict? Do they play metal in there? I enjoy a bit of visual communication mash up and a surprise inside. This place only has a few tables and a splendid kitchen. And if you sit too close to the door you might get hit by the nr 40 bus on its way down.

There has always been good places in the little streets between Pigalle and the top of Montmartre though, and the area around rue des Abesses, rue d’Orsel, and rue des Martyrs (down past Pigalle too) has grown and attracted a beautifully scruffy and eclectic mix of niche shopping, good wine bars and restuarants, and collaborative artist studio shops.

Drawing the park down from Sacre Coeur onto my map. The streets to the left of the park are filled with lovely little shops and bars, and the streets covered by my pencil in the photo has an abundance of textile shops.
CGD wine bar with sudden trumpet.

The Abesses area have winding streets and cobblestones, and the facades hold typography treasures like the neatly spaced hotel letters underneath. That’s the thing about Paris for me. It’s scruffy and dirty and wonky and beautiful. I’m not sure how the pink macaraoon idea of Paris got hold, I’ve only ever seen one inside Laduree. Most of Paris looks like a PJ Harvey track.

If you’re looking for some niche shopping or dining I can recommend Rue des Martyrs, Rue la Vieuville, Rue Yvonne le Tac, Rue D’Orsel, and just wander and get lost and discover little ceramics studios that aren’t there the day after. (I’m sure it was there!) I don’t have a single good picture from those wanderings, I was too busy with my sketchbook map. You just have to take my word for it.

If you are desperate for something a bit more subtantial than white bread and various sugary treats for breakfast while staying in Pigalle, I can recommend tracking down places where brunch is availiable in the mornings. This is from Vrai Paris in rue Abesses.

Walking around the streets with no real plan gave us some cute discoveries, but we had the time to do it, and we stayed in the area to do just that. Walk around, eat good food, sit at the cafe tables and do some sketching, and get to know a new (to us) area of Paris.

I will continue the work on the map, and update this post with a finished version of it with more info about the places we enjoyed. I think I’m making a printable of it. I’ll post it on my instagram when it’s ready:)