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Wednesday, after Omar left, I had lunch on my own at one of my favorite neighborhood places. Then I did grocery shopping and a stint at the laundromat (for sheets and towels), and finished with a quiet dinner at home.

Lunch at Pur

Lunch at Pur

On Thursday I had a cozy lunch with my French friend Antoine, who is working at an art conservation organization south of Pigalle (which he tells me is now going by the moniker SoPi). He has recently moved to a larger place in the 17ème, near Batignolles. Métro line 13 is sub-optimal but he loves his immediate neighborhood, which is a gated courtyard.

Antoine and me at lunch near Pigalle

Antoine and me at lunch near Pigalle

At first look “South Pigalle” and “SoPi” sound fine. Until you realize that “South” is English — it should be « Sud Pigalle » and « SuPi », but I guess they just don’t have the same cachet.

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I’ve mostly avoided the Pigalle area in prior years because it’s tacky and has a sketchy reputation after dark.

Formerly beautiful woman on sign on formerly beautiful building, rue Pigalle

Former beautiful woman on formerly beautiful building, rue Pigalle

Honestly, though, most of the straight sex clubs here are no worse than the gay clubs that one frequents in the Marais.

Sex club near Pigalle

Sex club near Pigalle

Pigalle is just below the tourist mecca of Montmartre, so parts of it are trampled by that tourist horde.

Tourist street below Montmartre

Tourist street below Montmartre

Clever underground bottle disposal system either full or being ignored

Clever underground bottle disposal system either full or being ignored, near Pigalle

I did run across a cool bunch of decorated posts in the heart of Pigalle. I posted a video clip on Instagram.

The farther south you go from Pigalle the nicer things get, however.

Panorama, Place St Georges

Panorama, Place St Georges

These Haussmann buildings on or near rue Condorcet are downright gorgeous.

Lovely Haussmann building on rue Condorcet

Lovely Haussmann building near rue Condorcet

Le Barbe a Papa -- a subtle play on words since the French for cotton candy is feminine

Le Barbe à Papa is a subtle play on words, since the French for cotton candy is the same, except feminine. On rue Condorcet

Sherard at one point tasked me with a dislike of Haussmann areas. After thinking it over I admitted a taste for twisty little medieval streets, but I claimed that I also have no problem with wide, straight avenues or boulevards, or with Haussmann-style buildings, so long as they offer restaurants and shops on the ground level and aren’t trampled to death by tourists.