Hanging with the Hookers in Pig Alley

Wondering what to do on your last night in Paris when you have to be up at 6am to catch your flight back to the States?  Why not slam back some flaming shots with the Professionals in Quartier Pigalle?  Paris’ version of a Red Light District is a well known tourist destination.  Centered around Place Pigalle between the 9th and 18th arrondissements, Pigalle has certainly earned its randy reputation.

During the day, museums and artists abound.  Many will try to convince you that you are the inspiration they have been looking for and if you will just sit for them, they could paint a new Mona Lisa with you in the starring role.  If you are a fan of Salvador Dali (and if you are, I hope you have curtailed your drug use!) his museum is up in this area and certainly worth the trip.  It is a bit hard to find as it is underground, but it is a great little museum and certainly away from the hoards of tourists that crowd other museums in Paris.  This museum houses many sculptures and pieces of furniture designed by Dali and really, who can resist a sculpture of Venus de Milo rendered totally practical for the everyday home with the addition of drawers and pompom drawer pulls?

Look!  I found a picture!!

Adds a whole new meaning to “Chest of Drawers.”

And if storing your belongings behind Venus’ soft, furry nipples is your kind of thing, then Pigalle at night is the place for you!  When the sun goes down in this neighborhood you will want to have all of your PG and younger aged children safely home in bed…or at least safely down to Rue de Rivoli or possibly even the evening mass at Notre Dame if you feel you need some spiritual cleansing.
Pigalle after dark is a symphony of lights, sounds, scents, and tastes.  You can find something to amuse any or all of your senses.  Doorway after doorway of raucous fun and blindingly strong drinks can make even regular party goers eyes light up like a Christmas tree.  Alleyway after alleyway offers  more discreet choices if that is what you are looking for.

A word of caution here – there has recently been a rash of less than scrupulous folks that try to lure unsuspecting tourists into their bars for drinks and a dance. Once inside you are charged ridiculous prices and big bouncer guys prevent you from leaving unless you pay. They will try to scare you, and unless you are a UFC fighter, they probably will. Just remember, if you stay to the reputable establishments you will be fine. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away. You can have a fantastic time, just go with your gut.

We ended up at a fantastic place called Bistro Cockney after a very interesting experience at a French karaoke bar that will be best skipped in its entirety. We spent most of the evening with the Irish Rugby fans in town for the world cup. Let me just say here, if you really want to get your drink on, find some Irish Rugby fans! I will tell you that as a single woman hanging out at a bar in the red light district of Paris I was worried about going to a bar. These guys were the BEST!! They were so respectful and kind, it was easily one of my favorite evenings in Paris.

The next morning, getting up for my flight was a different story entirely, but my day/night in Pigalle ranks as one of the best days in Paris.

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