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Mar 29, 2014 10:14 PM

SoPi recomendations

I though more than twice about posting this given the ire the term SoPi generated when it was used before. However, I thought this recent article in the UK' Guardian newspaper was interesting and wondered what others thought about their picks?

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  1. Sopi is one of those words that tag you, like saying Yamamoto instead of Yohji, or Frisco. It screams: "I'm an Outsider".
    I live in the 'hood. The nickname was invented about a few years ago by real estate and marketing geezers who are permanently set to 1.5 years behind the trends and who in their oblivion still feared the stigma of Pigalle. The nickname was never used, not by the locals, especially not by the young who have known that Pigalle is hip and make no fuss about it.

    But it is ok to be unhip. It is a human right.

    Meanwhile, the hip fairy has been moving eastward, toward the Cour des Petites Ecuries in the 10th, slowly switching place with the food fengshui god, who moves westward to the 9th.
    The next food fengshui 'hood? My guess would be the Bourse: Terroir Parisien, Passage 53, all the Frenchies, soon Dans Les Landes… No dummies,they are all stalking Jock.

    Excuse me I am rushing out to the HaMas to have lunch.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      I can hardly wait to give them my attention. Will I be able to walk to Dans Les Landes?

      1. re: jock

        In about 2 minutes. It will be on rue 4 septembre. Opening in September. It will soooo be your cantine.
        And mine too. WIll watch all my Barça games there.

        1. re: Parigi

          I hate you all. They won't be my cantine anymore. You know, down there, in NoGob.

          1. re: Ptipois

            Channel your energy. Move here.
            Whatever you do, don't move to MuJuGu, otherwise known as Mumble-Jumble-Gumbo, otherwise known as rue Vertbois, the GMO of food fengshui.

              1. re: Parigi

                The Disneyland for foodies? That'll be the day.

                I still have Itinéraires, Prosper et Fortunée and le Treizième within hand's reach. I'm staying put.

      2. As an acronym? LOB, or load of bollocks, as they say, in France.

        1. Oh you stuck-in-the-mud types.... you gotta embrace change (sticking tongue out). While such wannabe-New York acronyms do seem ridiculous in Paris, "SoPi" is used frequently enough by Paris newspapers, mags, blogs, guides etc to give it a reality. Residents of this particular quartier may resent it but, for others, it's now a easily recognized and acceptable designation among both hipsters and the chattering classes. I use it and do make a distinction between the narrow Pigalle strip and SoPi. And incidentally, "Pigalle" is no longer the pejorative it used to be so I don't agree with the argument that SoPi is way for restauranteurs etc to distance themselves from the rapidly disappearing sleaze of the Pigalle strip.... but you gotta agree that the Pigalle strip (even when de-sleazed) and SoPi have very different tones and feel. But I only use SoPi when referring to restaurants and bars in that area... and maybe I subconsciously define the SoPi tone/ style of these eateries rather than the geography. When talking about real estate or neighbourhoods in general, I revert to Nouvelle Athènes, Pigalle, Saint-Georges, Rochechouart, etc.

          As to the Guardian's recs. Not unsurprising. Yeah, Kooka Boora has fab coffee but, with so many expats congregating there, sometimes unpleasantly crowded. Victor is indeed okay but no mention of Le Pantruche and Chloe's. And even though it's just a wee bit too far south to qualify as SoPi, I would have worked in a mention of Caillebotte. And what I think is a common feature of most of the restos mentioned and unmentioned in SoPi are the excellent price-quality ratios.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Parnassien

            ""SoPi" is used frequently enough by Paris newspapers, mags, blogs, guides etc to give it a reality"

            Now that's some argument. It literally knocks me out of my panties.

            1. re: Ptipois

              "It literally knocks me out of my panties"... hmmm, not an entirely convincing counter-argument. But there is a shop in SoPi that sells a line of SoPi clothes (with a SoPi logo). Maybe you can find a pair of replacement panties there.

          2. Wow that stimulated some traffic.

            I wondered if Parnassien (thanks for answering the question) was a loner and the Guardian had swallowed all the mad man ideas of the advertising world so I did a search for SoPi Paris and it seems its being used quite a lot (even the Paris tourist office) out there on the web:







            36 Replies
            1. re: PhilD

              There is what locals actually say, and there is what people repeat after each other on the net. The stupidest thing gets repeated on the net.See the 1,340,000 occurrences of the hopelessly comical spelling "bouillabaise"
              We are wel linto 2014. The Guardian is only now discovering that rue des Martyrs is hip. I rest my case.

              1. re: Parigi

                "The stupidest thing gets repeated on the net". Indeed, often. But in this particular case, you'll have to tell le Nouvel Observateur, Le Figaro, L'Express, JDD, A Nous Paris, Cityvox, Lefooding, etc etc etc that their repeated use of "SoPi" in articles and restaurant reviews is stupid too. Or maybe, just maybe it expresses a new reality that you refuse to accept.

                  1. re: Parnassien

                    I'm sorry Parnassien, we usually agree on things, but although I would probably qualify as being part of "the young crowd" with its weird ways of speech... I've never heard any of my friends use terms as "SoPi"... we usually talk about a neighborhood by the closest metro. (I'll ask my 20 years old sister if she's heard of such terminology, but I never heard her use it either)

                    1. re: Rio Yeti

                      Rio, I agree that the the "SoPi" thing is not universal and is mainly used by food writers, the trendy restaurant and shop owners in the area, and the bobo and non-bobo branchitude set that hangs out around rue Abbesses, les Batignolles, the Haut Marais, and parts of the 11th. The first time I ever encountered the acronym was an article in L'Express (not exactly a bastion of hipness) about 7 or 8 years ago and have heard it repeated over and over since then in eavesdropped conversations in my Haut Marais haunts and seen it in written form in lots of restaurant reviews, especially lefooding. And yes, the nearest métro is traditionally the easiest way to indicate neighbourhood but there are lots of exceptions and overlaps (including my own quartier in the 6th).

                      1. re: Parnassien

                        I'm a food writer and journalist, and I'd rather be caught dead than using the term SoPi. L'Express is not a bastion of hipness? Precisely. SoPi is a vulgar, shallow media creation, more cheap advertising than trend, no need to devote more language about it.

                        1. re: Ptipois

                          I'll bet you don't use Frisco either. ;)

                          1. re: mangeur

                            Mme Mangeur, no equivalence. You're not going to find the word Frisco in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area Guardian, or 7x7 but you will find SoPi in equivalent publications in Paris. Just like you're gonna find NoPa, South Beach, Media Gulch or other new/ recently made-up nicknames or names for SF neighbourhoods in Michael Bauer's reviews.

                            1. re: Parnassien

                              True enough. But I cringe when you put Pti and Michael Bauer in the same conversation...

                              1. re: mangeur

                                Oh, yes, that's what made me cringe.

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  Let me try to wriggle out of this one by saying that a year of living in SF left me with the impression that Bauer was the loved/ hated demi-god of the food scene. I was using his name, um, figuratively for all SF food writers (whose names I can't remember). Pti is, has been, and always will be my culinary goddess (despite my occasionally heretical ways).

                                  I will make a suitable sacrifice of atonement.

                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                    Relax. You could have named any of those "names and faces we've grown to know and love" in the Paris blogosphere and garnered the same response.

                                    Ptipois, as I have posted elsewhere, exemplifies that extraordinarily rare characteristic: intellectual honesty.

                                    1. re: Parnassien

                                      Parnie, no need for sacrifice. Like Chimène in "Le Cid", I'll tell you "Go, I hate you not."
                                      Or the foodie version: "Gigot, I hate you not."

                                      Mangeur, now I'll run into a mousehole and hide.

                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                        But I thought sacrifice was part of the foodie identity... crossing Paris for just the right blend of coffee, making pilgrimages to boulangeries in distant quartiers for a croissant, waking up at 4am in San Francisco so you could telephone (for an hour... or for days) in the vain attempt to make rezzies at some Paris hotspot canonized by the NYT. Being a not yet fully-fledged earnest foodista, I was hoping that a little sacrifice would make me better.

                                        1. re: Parnassien

                                          You should not confuse foodista with followista.

                                  2. re: mangeur

                                    Thank you Mangeur, much appreciated.

                                  3. re: Parnassien

                                    Not true! A segment of locals always have called it Frisco, and because this working class segment is in direct opposition to the rich techies transplants currently running roughshod over the place, its starting to get some traction. Good enough for the hell's angels, good enough for me.


                                  4. re: mangeur

                                    I'll bet you don't use Frisco either. ;)
                                    Nor Philly

                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                      Nope, never Frisco. I've never said Philly either, but I'm not sure if the residents are as adamant about that. But Parnassien is right that new designations for neighborhoods crop up -- and ultimately become part of the vernacular -- in cities like NY, Paris and London. I had never heard Tribeca (NYC) until about 15 years ago. In Paris, though, I like anchoring a neighborhood to the nearest metro stop.

                                      1. re: ccferg

                                        Please do not compare Tribeca with SoPi.
                                        I think Noho was the last tolerable nickname but then with the Soha, etc. not so much. To put the overuse in perspective it has JUMPED THE SHARK. See? SOOOOOOOOOO played.Indeed.
                                        The nickname , Tribeca, goes back much further than 15 years ago.You not knowing of it does not equate to any lack of significance. Been around and used by any NYers(or anyone) for much, much longer.
                                        Also, Tribeca and Soho make sense for multiple reasons. The current trend of putting No or So in front of some other letters is obnoxious and stupid. We do not need to rename every 2 blocks in any city. Most neighborhoods have names and so do streets.

                                        The French love developing Brooklyn(starting from Williamsburg, moving outward with the others). I hear them all over.Some aspects of their love I do not understand. Parisian hipsters are not equal to their American counterparts. This is a good thing. The biggest difference is the lack of ink in Paris. It is so nice not to see it. I have found it is such an eyesore that it lowers my quality of life.Also, Williamsburg is not so hipster any longer. Much as 'hipster' isn't hipster just a watered down version. Check 5 years ago and the wackiness was at least interesting enough to laugh or marvel at in some cases. Now you have to go to at least Bushwick(maybe borderline E Williamsburg or would that be EWill?) and can keep going east if you like though it is still hairy way out there. I do have my own nickname for Williamsburg amongst some friends and that is Billyburg. Open source license on that one.
                                        And while some aspects of the food scene have improved greatly due to BK gentrification and hipsterism if Parisians will steal the nicknaming technique then send back some real food shops and restaurants to NYC. And the service for them in particular.
                                        Example:Yeah, it's cool that you are selling nicely raised animals and all and not commercial horrors but you did not invent breaking down a carcass and I don't need the bloody attitude about it.Plus, I probably know more about your 'craft' than you do. This is typical BK.

                                        Depending on the criteria used to claim that 'parts of Paris are like Brooklyn', overall, I would say there is not so much similarity. A few people wearing somewhat similar clothes does not make it so. The bones of Paris are far too different from those of the hipster now gentrified areas of Brooklyn to be clones. The land, architecture, etc. would not allow it. Again, I am thankful. Brooklyn is cool and some parts of the vibe are great for easy fun and I wear painted on jeans and all but I love Paris and do not care for it to become a worse version of Brooklyn.
                                        I have been to many, many cities and observed the current 'hipster' populations of them all, lately, but none of them are extreme enough to represent properly. Personally, this rare breed was only from Brooklyn or Berlin. Everything else, fugazi. And now, as I said before, people think everyone who wears somewhat tight pants and some ink is a proper hipster but there is more to it than that.
                                        There is much about the original hipster movement I do not care for(to put it mildly) but better than having every dope wannabe riding a skateboard around the city and causing problems because they have no clue what they are doing.
                                        Also, more interesting and fun than the stroller set that invades the area.

                                        Follow up note, I do not use Frisco(SF, usually,do I ever even say San Fran, I don't know) but I would say Philly if it were significant enough to ever come up in any of my conversations.

                                        And now I have come upon the term 'biologically tanned leather'. Sounds like something someone in new Brooklyn might be selling. Will have to research.

                                        1. re: dietndesire

                                          Thanks for a brilliant post and for your sincerity.

                                          Tribeca as a name was already in use back when I lived in NYC in the early 80s, and even then it was old news. So was Soho, which felt even older. The area below Pigalle and above rue Lamartine already has a name, it is called La Nouvelle-Athènes (because of the flourishing of neoclassical architecture built in a short period of time) and has been so since the early 19th century. Infinitely more stylish and trendier than SoPi.

                                          1. re: dietndesire

                                            "The biggest difference is the lack of ink in Paris."

                                            Maybe "less" ink, but unfortunately no "lack" of it...

                                            1. re: dietndesire

                                              I hope you understand that I in no way wanted to find the Brooklynization of Paris when I was there this month. My daughter (NOT a hipster) and I were simply curious as tourists whether Brooklyn's hipster counterparts existed in Paris, and, if so, where they lived. I apologize for not knowing Tribeca was an older name (I'm not a New Yorker), but it certainly got more traction in the past two or three decades when real estate people started marketing it, and when the rich and famous began inhabiting it.

                                        2. re: mangeur

                                          If you ever hear me using it, please shoot me right on the spot.

                                      2. re: Parnassien

                                        I digress, but as you know, folks do that on my threads regularly. I'm curious that rue Abbesses is on your list of trendy hangouts. I didn't catch that vibe at all -- and neither did my 26-year-old daughter, who lives in freaking Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When I was there for coffee in the morning, and even for drinks at night, I was surrounded by what looked like regular folks. In fact, my dauhter was curious where the Williamsburg counterparts live in Paris. On Abbesses they didn't look like Park Slope types (more bobo than hipster) either.

                                        1. re: ccferg

                                          You know, there's a lot of buzz about some parts of Paris becoming like Brooklyn but in fact, that really eludes me. Of course we do have some hipster spots or our own, but Paris has its own brand of hipsterism and its trendy areas have their own atmosphere, whether one likes it or not. In the end it is Paris, not Brooklyn, and it never will be Brooklyn.

                                          I should know, I used to live in Park Slope.

                                          1. re: ccferg

                                            Abbesses is in many ways a vestigial hotspot. The trendies that haunted it have now migrated to SoPi and the Faubourg St-Denis. But it still has a certain allure for all style groups.

                                            And totally agree with Pti... no Brooklyns in Paris despite the rather scattered profliteration of copy-cat Brooklynesque places in recent years. But even the wannabe Americans end up being quite French. I personally enjoy the Faubourg Saint-Antoine/ Aligre quartier in the 12th and adjoining parts of the 11th a lot for its ethnic mix, foodie karma, trendy/ non-trendy styles, and excellent restos. And for that artsy feel, the Haut Marais in the 3rd.

                                            1. re: Parnassien

                                              I can't imagine the hipster neighborhoods of Brooklyn duplicated in Paris, and I'm relieved to hear that isn't happening. But I have heard that the young chefs in the two cities have established a deep connection, and that's probably not a bad thing -- even for Paris. Now you've got me excited about exploring those neighborhoods in the 11th and 12th.

                                              1. re: ccferg

                                                Actually young chefs - and older chefs too - establish connections all over the world, it's not just a Brooklyn-Paris connection. It is really worldwide.

                                                1. re: Ptipois

                                                  I don't know, as a Baltimorean I especially despise the whole New York-ish SoPi thing...grates on my Baltimore nerves. We just don't do that here. and I wish that that particular New Yorky thing would stay away from my second home...
                                                  I shudder to think what the NYT will call my favorite par tof Paris. Stay out of Belleville/Menilmontant NYT! :)

                                                    1. re: sistereurope

                                                      Too late indeed.

                                                      But the world turns too. To claim some sort of insider status, the old nickname Ménilmuche has been revived by the Ménilmontant.

                                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                                        Well, that's ok I think, and Ménilmuche doesn't grate in the same way as BelMen. That is simply awful. Any why not MenBel?

                                                        1. re: sistereurope

                                                          Don't fret. If you give me an arrondisement, I'm on my way. If not, I just look it up on Googlemaps.

                                              2. re: ccferg

                                                "On Abbesses they didn't look like Park Slope types (more bobo than hipster) either."
                                                So while we're off topic, sort of, today we ate at Hai Kai on the Canal St Martin aka CaSm and in goofing around the internet to define the largely pousette-pushing/jogging outfitted clientele came across a website called Bobosvientdouble which gave as key words to Hai Kai both Bobo and hipster. I've been accused here of going to hipster places but never been labelled a Bobo, so now I'm thoroughly confused.

                                    2. The original comment has been removed