How to boil down the 9th arrondissement? Opéra Garnier and Grands Boulevards perform double duties as the stately heart of Haussmann architecture, and veins of avenues swimming with shoppers and carousers. Belle époque era passageways tunnel off the boulevards and ‘Swiss cheese’ the arrondissement. The faubourgs, or “suburbs”, slope up towards the base of Montmartre, where in yesteryear the middle‐class dared not set foot and the poorer working class called home. Arches mimicking the Arc du Triomphe mark where metropolitan Paris stopped and the neer‐do‐well faubourgs began.
Today, the Rue du Faubourg de Montmartre, Rue du Faubourg St. Denis, and Rue du Faubourg Poissoniére are hangouts for hipster students, bobos, and immigrants from southeast Asia and Africa. Tease your tastebuds with artisan ice cream and chicken asses (explained later) on the Rue des Martyrs. Add to your vintage couture collection and enjoy a romantic cuppa tea in an aptly named museum café.
To begin, take metro line 8 to Opéra. Exit to face the dazzling Opéra Garnier. Commissioned by Napoléon III in 1861, the ornately sculpted and gilded building was dedicated to “art, luxury, and pleasure”. The interior ceiling painted by Marc Chagall almost steals the show, and caused outrage when it was painted over the original mural in 1964.Read more
From the Opéra Garnier, you might have a coffee at the regal Café de la Paix. Or head northwest towards the Printemps department stores on Rue Auber. Take the elevator to the 9th floor of Printemps for a 360 degree rooftop view of the city from Déli-Cieux. Open until 10pm during the summer, it is the perfect spot for an evening glass of champagne.
On Boulevard Haussmann, walk east against the flow of traffic. The wax museum Musée Grévin is on the left side of the street, at the entrance of Passage Jouffroy. In the French version of Madame Tussaud, rub shoulders with Barack Obama, and Gallic movie stars you’ve never heard of.
Continue down the Passage Jouffroy and peek into the antique theatrical supply shop and dollhouse shop. Make your way through the adjoining Passage Verdeau and turn left onto Rue du Faubourg Montmartre. Stop at the chocolate shop A La Mère de Famille. The chocolaterie is the oldest in the city and a wonderland of chocolate, bonbons, candies, and any imaginable sweet.
Head south, making a left on Rue Richter. At the intersection of Rue Richter and Rue de Trévise is a great lunch spot to sip, sit, and observe the locals. Autour d’Un Verre is a homey wine bar with a menu under 20 euros. Run by an American and a Brit, the wines are sources from the best natural vintners in France. The atmosphere is relaxed and the owner’s socially comfortable pets make fast friends with patrons.
After lunch, fast track to dessert on the Rue des Martyrs. Walking back towards the Rue Montmartre, turn right up the hill. After about five minutes, you will reach Notre Dame de Lorette metro station and the Rue des Martyrs. At the corner of Rue Navarin and Rue des Martyrs is Arnaud Delmontel. The award‐winning bakery supplied the presidential residence, the Elysée Palace, with former president Sarkozy’s daily croissants and first lady Carla’s pain au chocolat.
A hot summer day may require more than pastries to cool off. Climb up Rue des Martyrs to the oddly named Cul de Poule bistro. The name translates to “chicken’s ass”, but is actually a cheeky moniker for mixing bowls. Cul de Poule name‐drops ingredients and sources like it’s their job. The result is a delicious and simple three‐course prix fixe menu for 26 euros. Quail stuffed with foie gras and figs, seasonal roasted vegetables, and a constantly updated menu kick this tiny spot to the top of the neo‐bistro list. Reservations for dinner are wise.
Not quite hungry yet? From here, trundle up to Pigalle to check out the, ahem, local color. The color red, to be exact. As in red light district. Spin on your heel and retreat back down into the 9th arrondissement on Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. Hang a right onto Rue Chaptal and waltz into the Musée de la Vie Romantique.
Here’s a tip. No one visits the Musée de la Vie Romantique for the exhibits. It’s all about the garden café. Sure, there is plenty of information on Romantic period salon visitors like George Sand, Chopin, Eugene Delacroix, and Charles Dickens. The real romance is in the childlike discovery of the museum, hiding at the end of a long courtyard. If you are itching for more Romantic adventures, make your way down to number 14 Rue de La Rochefoucauld and the Musée Gustave Moreau. Monsieur Moreau was a 19th century Symbolist painter and mentor to Matisse. During his lifetime, he was rebuffed by the Paris Salons and turned his residence into an open studio and museum.
Need a change of pace after the Musée de la Vie Romantique? Saunter across the butte (mound) to the bohemian Hôtel Amour. To get there from Musée de la Vie Romantique, backpedal to the Rue Jean‐Baptiste Pigalle and take a slight right on Rue Notre Dame de Lorette then a hard left onto Rue Henri Monnier. Climbing up the hill, turn right on Rue Navarin until the Hôtel Amour appears on your left.
Created by street artist André in the 1990s, the design hotel was conceived as the ideal location for an afternoon tryst. No phones or TVs in the rooms; a deliberately upscale pay‐per‐hour establishment. Today you’ll find café crèmes and cocktails in the enclosed garden café, with just the right mix of Parisian discretion and rock ‘n’ roll. So Belle du Jour, so French.
After sunset, there are a variety of hotspots to get your groove on in the 9th.
As restaurants go, Chez Georgette’s snappy colors and classic bistro fare make it a local favorite for a special night. Swing by the Delaville Café for apéritifs and superb people‐watching. According to local legend, the elaborate ceiling mouldings were uncovered during the café’s renovation and rumors abound that the lounge/café was a bordello during the days of Napoleon III.
Care to knock back a pression with the sweet young things? Try your luck at Chez Jeannette’s zinc countertop, or at the unlisted Le Prado bar. Both are on the Rue du Faubourg St. Denis. After‐hours dirty dancing for girls and boys can be found at Chez Moune. Tonight rub noses and other body parts with hipsters and scenesters galore. To wit, don’t bring mom or the faint of heart after dark.
Bar de l’Hôtel Amour
8 Rue Navarin
Ph. 01 48 78 31 80
Hours M‐Sun 8am‐midnight
Metro: St. Georges (12)
Created by street artist André in the 1990s, it was conceptualized as a location for an afternoon tryst. Now you’ll find the hippest café crème in the enclosed garden café, with just the right amount of Parisian discretion.
29 Rue St. Georges
Ph. 01 42 80 39 13
Hours 12‐2pm, 7:30‐10pm, closed August.
Metro Notre‐Dame‐de‐Lorette (12)
Snappy colors and classic bistrot fare make this a local favorite for a special night.
Autour d’un Verre
21 Rue de Trévise
Ph. 01 48 24 43 74
Hours Thu‐F 12.30‐2.30pm, Tues‐Sat 8‐11:30pm
Metro: Cadet (7)
Natural wine bar to sit, sip, and spy on the locals. Keep an eye out for the family pets underfoot.
34 Boulevard de la Bonne Nouvelle
Ph. 01 48 24 48 09
Hours 7/7 11am‐2am
Metro: Bonne Nouvelle (9,8)
According to local legend, the elaborate ceiling mouldings uncovered during the café’s renovation suggest that the lounge/café was a bordello during the days of Napoleon III.
Déli-Cieux (9th floor, Les Printemps)
64 Boulevard Haussmann
Ph. 01 42 62 82 76
Hours M‐Sat 9:30am‐8pm, Th 9:30am‐10pm
Metro: Havre Caumartin (3,9)
Perch atop Les Printemps department store for a magnificent view on a sunny afternoon. The perfect excuse for an apéro or café, and on summer nights the party kicks up. 9th floor.
Café de la Paix
5 Place de l’Opéra
Ph. 01 40 07 36 36
Hours 7/7 8am‐11:30pm
Metro: Opéra (3,7,8)
A La Mère de Famille
35 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre
Ph. 01 47 70 83 69
Hours M‐Sat 9.30am‐8pm, Sun 10am‐1pm
Metro Le Peletier (7)
Paris’ oldest candy shop specializes in 18th century gilt and bonbons.
39 Rue des Martyrs
Ph. 01 48 78 29 33
Hours M & W-Sun 7am‐8:30pm (closed Tues)
Metro St. Georges (12)
Supplied the presidential residence, the Elysée Palace, during Sarkozy’s reign, with daily croissants and pain au chocolat.
39 Rue Condorcet
Ph. 01 53 16 47 31
Hours T‐Sat 1pm‐10pm
Metro: Pigalle (2)
Affordable vintage couture including YSL, Lanvin, and plenty more 24‐carat gems.
La Patisserie du Faubourg
189 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière
Ph. 01 42 81 25 33
Metro: Pigalle (2)
Recommended without hesitation for Middle‐Eastern style pastries and sticky goodies.
5 Rue de la Banque
Metro: Bourse (3)
Musée de la Vie Romantique
16 Rue Chaptal
Ph. 01 55 31 95 67
Hours Tues‐Sun 10am‐6pm
Metro: Pigalle (2)
Romantic indeed. The garden café and tea salon is the place to steal kisses.
Metro: Grands Boulevards (8,9)
10 Boulevard Montmartre
Ph. 01 47 70 85 05
Hours 7/7 9.30am-7pm
Metro: Grands Boulevards (8,9)
Rub shoulders with Barack Obama, and Gallic movie stars you’ve never heard of.
Musée National Gustave Moreau
14 Rue de La Rochefoucauld
Ph. 01 48 74 38 50
Hours M,W,Th 10am‐12.45pm & 2.00pm-5.15pm; F, Sat, Sun 10am-5.15pm (closed Tues)
Metro: Saint Georges (12)
Place de l’Opéra
Box office 01 71 25 24 23
Guided tours 01 40 01 19 70
Hours: Based on performances and guided tours, or to visit the building M-F 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-1pm
Metro: Opéra (3,7,8)
54 Rue Pigalle
Ph. 01 45 26 64 64
Hours Weds‐Sat 11pm-6am
Metro: Pigalle (2, 12)
After‐hours dirty dancing for girls and boys ‐ Madame Moune insisted on a strict “girls only” policy in 1936. Now, rub noses and other body parts with hipsters and scenesters galore.