What's the draw?
They say Pigalle – a neighbourhood between the 9th and the 18th arrondissements in Paris, adjacent to Montmartre and a short stroll from the Moulin Rouge – earned its name from Allied soldiers during World War Two. Being a part of town known for dingy, small streets full of brothels and strip clubs, it became known among the troops as 'Pig Alley'. The name was adopted and adapted, and the neighbourhood's vibrant seam of seediness remained – but these days, hip restaurants, bars and boutique hotels are springing up here. Le Pigalle is one of the latter – a hipster's haven of modern art, in-your-face design and bottled cocktails, with a compact food menu and DJs playing downstairs until the early hours.
What to eat
Menus here come in English and French, and begin with a manifesto of sorts, proclaiming dishes that “change with the vagaries of nature”. That means vegetables grown locally to Paris, and bread and other ingredients sourced from artisanal suppliers within the city itself. The menu leans towards the snack-y, with homemade pork rillettes and pickles, burrata, sage and rosemary fritters and sweet potato croquettes featuring alongside other bite-sized bits and pieces, and wine is mostly natural (naturally). Most of it can be ordered directly to your room if you don't want to sit in the restaurant space, as can its range of pre-bottled cocktails – a classic negroni, a manhattan made with a touch of blackberries and coffee liqueur, and an old fashioned made with rye, maple syrup and walnut essence. This holy trinity can be poured at the bar alongside some other shaken and longer drinks, or you can pour them yourself from the bottles in your room (have some self-discipline handy).
Pigalle is a lively neighbourhood all night, and the hotel's restaurant becomes a hangout for young creatives after dark, with local DJs spinning beats and drawing in small crowds. Two great little cocktail bars, Lulu White and the aptly named Dirty Dick, are right opposite, while brasserie Le Pantruche is highly-thought-of, and you can eat very well at the very cool Maison Lautrec, too.
9 Rue Frochot, 75009 Paris, France; lepigalle.paris