Next stop: La rue Victor Massé, a little higher up. No luck, but one only needs to stroll on. My desire to drive and huddle into my KODIAQ will have to wait until later.
Going back up the road of the SoPi – South Pigalle – quarter, we pass the delightful Le Pantruche, before being swallowed up by the lobby lights of the Grand Pigalle Hotel, the leading hotel of the cosmopolitan trio known as the Experimental Group and who know no boundaries. They are the kings of the cocktail. The ambiance is quiet, the smiles chic. Our little group spots a small space at the bar affording an unobstructed and pleasant view of the lounge where the different nationalities mingle. The mixologist spills not a drop, always alert. After showing the list of Italian wines to a British couple (who opt for a Sicilian Cos), he treats us to his Aged Negroni, quite bitter, and garnished with a zest of orange. Without a doubt, Italy reigns supreme this evening… Moreover, the dishes that are paraded beneath our eyes reinforce our vague desire for Italian food. We order burrata, vitello tonnato and black mullet with bottarga taramasalata. Knowing that the menu includes the signature dishes of chef Giovanni Passerini (formerly of Rino in the 11th arrondissement), it’s as if the dishes choose us and not the other way round. Once satiated with food, it’s time to go and head further up the road.
We pass the Le Sans-soucis bar, always packed, with its crowd of happy night-time revellers enjoying the start of the evening. A few steps more and we are tempted to stop at the party triangle including the cool-bar tables of the Le Mansart, Le Dépanneur, and its little brother Le Dépanneur Terrasse. Paris is like that… What do you want, then?! Everywhere, the spots are magnetic! Here, the faces are familiar, handshakes follow, it’s good to feel at home. It’s true that Le Quartier Pigalle is welcoming and never disappoints. It has a place in the hearts of Parisians and visitors alike, with its architectural homogeneity, its community of regulars, whether for an evening or a lifetime. Here, the Paris of old resonates with the Paris of today: mysterious, dark, happy, driven… At Le Mansart bar, next to the table football, the ambiance takes hold of us there, as usual. In the hubbub of the hip bar, there is idle chatter – also in English – about film shoots, politics… In short, it feels like the weekend.