Quartier Pigalle

Coordinates: 48°52′56.20″N 2°20′14.50″E / 48.8822778°N 2.3373611°E / 48.8822778; 2.3373611

Pigalle (French pronunciation: ​[pi.ɡal]) is an area in Paris around the Place Pigalle, on the border between the 9th[1] and the 18th arrondissements. It is named after the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714–1785).[2]

A building in the Boulevard de Clichy

Pigalle is famous for being a tourist district, with many sex shops, theatres and adult shows on Place Pigalle and the main boulevards.[3] The neighbourhood's raunchy reputation led to its Second World War nickname of "Pig Alley" by Allied soldiers.[4] The Divan du Monde[5] and the Moulin Rouge,[1] a world-famous cabaret, are both located in Pigalle.

The area to the south of Place Pigalle is devoted to the retail of musical instruments and equipment, especially for popular music. A section of the rue de Douai consists solely of stores selling guitars, drums and musical accessories.[6]

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's studio was here. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Maurice Neumont also once lived here as did Andre Breton, and in 1928 Josephine Baker opened her first night club next door to Breton's apartment.[2]

It was also the home of the Grand Guignol theatre, which closed in 1962. However, the theatre building still stands.[7]

Pigalle is well known to tourists who want to experience "Paris by night". It is home to some of Paris' most famous cabarets (the Moulin Rouge, for instance, was immortalised by artist Toulouse-Lautrec as well as Hollywood), as well as topless and nude shows.

Pigalle is one end-point of the Montmartrobus (a public bus serving the area), or you can get to the Place Pigalle by taking the Métro to the Pigalle stop.[2]

American-born jazz singer Adelaide Hall lived in Pigalle in 1937–1938 and opened her nightclub La Grosse Pomme ("the Big Apple") at 73 Rue Pigalle.[8] Other nightclubs in Rue Pigalle during the late 1930s included the Moon Rousse and Caravan where Django Reinhardt played.[9]

In popular cultureEdit

  • Georges Ulmer wrote Pigalle in 1946, and performed it himself.
  • Maurice Chevalier wrote a song entitled Place Pigalle.
  • Édith Piaf made an album titled La Rue Pigalle.
  • Bill Ramsey sang a song entitled "Pigalle" in the 1961 Austrian film The Adventures of Count Bobby directed by Géza von Cziffra.
  • The police comedy My New Partner (1984) is set in Pigalle.
  • Singer/songwriter Grant Hart describes buying heroin in Pigalle in his 1989 track "The Main".
  • The French rapper Stomy Bugsy released a track named "J'suis né à Pigalle" on his album "4ème Round" (2003).
  • The American jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux's album Bare Bones (2009) contains a track entitled "Our Lady of Pigalle".
  • The American pop band Sparks mentioned the district in the lyrics of "Sextown U.S.A.".
  • The French luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin has named one of his shoe models "Pigalle".
  • The French DJ DJ Snake released a track named "Pigalle" on his album "Encore" (2016).
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, a classic French sports car is named the Pigalle.
  • In the film Midnight in Paris, when walking with Gil, Adriana mentions that she and her roommate paid a girl from Pigalle to “come and teach us all her tricks”.


  1. ^ a b Ladonne, Jennifer (4 January 2017). "A Neighborhood Guide to Pigalle, Paris". Fodors Travel Guide. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Aran, Sue (15 November 2017). "Here and There: Une Petite Histoire of Place Pigalle in Paris... and Seattle". Bonjour Paris. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Quartier Pigalle - Paris tourist office". en.parisinfo.com. Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  4. ^ Ben Cosgrove (October 14, 2014). "Madness, Torture, and Murder on a Paris Stage". Time.
  5. ^ "Divan du Monde / Madame Arthur". Showtime in Paris (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  6. ^ McQueen, Paul. "The Best Guitar Stores On Paris' Rue De Douai". Culture Trip. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Quand la Belle Epoque jouait à se faire peur..." France Culture (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  8. ^ Colin Bratkovich (2014-05-08). Just Remember This. p. 146. ISBN 9781483645193. Big Apple Nightclub (La Grosse Pomme), 73 Rue Pigalle (owned and associated with Adelaide Hall...
  9. ^ "Emile Savitry. Photographe" (in French). Rue Pigalle et ses boîtes de nuit, Paris, 1938-1939, au premier plan La Lune Rousse, au centre La Roulotte où se produisait Django Reinhardt,

External linksEdit