Although tourists alighting at the Pigalle metro station tend to walk up towards Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur, hipster Parisians – the self-styled BoBo (bourgeois bohemians) – head in the opposite direction, to South Pigalle, the latest trendsetting neighbourhood in the City of Light. Once one of the quieter corners of the city, known as La Nouvelle-Athènes for its monumental architecture, South Pigalle has picked up a new anglicised name, SoPi, with new places opening up every week. At night, now that the sleazy old haunts have all but disappeared, it’s all stylish cocktail bars and dance clubs.
None of SoPi’s fashionable new boutiques open before 10, so before starting serious shopping, drop into KB Cafeshop (53 avenue Trudaine) which sets the tone for the neighbourhood in a salon packed with fashion types, businessmen and tourists. Contrary to popular belief, most cafes in Paris sell lousy coffee, but the barista revolution is arriving, and Nicolas Piegay opened the KB after discovering specialist coffee bars in Australia. The flat white and mocaccino are perfectly made, but go for the full-cafeine experience with an AeroPress, accompanied by a pear and almond muffin hot from the oven.