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SoPi recomendations

  • PhilD Mar 29, 2014 10:14 PM

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?

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/201...

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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

              IMNSHOYAAW!

              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:

            http://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-p...

            http://www.bonjourparis.com/story/sop...

            http://hipparis.com/2013/09/19/a-day-...

            http://hipstersinparis.com/tag/sopi/

            http://www.departures.com/articles/pa...

            http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/201303...

            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

                  See above.

                  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.

                                    http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/a...

                                     
                                  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, it's already BelMen.

                                                    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 newcomers.to 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.

                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                  Sartre said: bobo, c'est les autres.

                                    2. The hipster new naming convention is spreading (like padlocks) and we have it in Hong Kong as well. SoHo (south of hollywood rd has been around for a long time, NoHo is newer and is occasionally used.

                                      But we now have PoHo (Tai Ping Shan/Possession Rd) and SoJo (south of Johnston Rd), I have only seen these in hip magazines and all of them are new coffee/restaurant areas. Some of them are quite useful, or would be if anyone used them.

                                      It will be interesting to see if SoPi does establish itself as a name in Paris, new names do stick, for example Silicon Roundabout in London seems to be getting recognition.

                                      And sa s a matter of interest has the Haut-Marais always been called this or is this also a relatively new designation, or is is a re-adoption of an old one?

                                      34 Replies
                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        As far as I can remember, le Haut-Marais as an appellation didn't appear before the place was gentrified, i.e. became a real-estate haven, so let's say the 1990s. That's actually how most of the stupid nicknames begin as opposed to the older quartier names like La Mouffe or La Butte aux Cailles.

                                        The area now called Le Haut-Marais didn't really exist before except as part of Le Marais, period. A large zone extending from the rue de Rivoli, some say from the Seine, to the place de la République, limited to the East by the boulevard Beaumarchais and to the West by the boulevard de Sébastopol. The epicenter being around rue du Temple-Archives-Turenne and place des Vosges. Instead of Haut-Marais there were smaller quartiers named Quartier des Enfants-Rouges and Mont-de-Piété. Sainte-Avoye was the narrow strip between what is now boulevard de Sébastopol and rue Beaubourg; interestingly enough the rue Rambuteau now runs through the former quartier named Marché Saint-Jean, so it already was quite busy as a shopping area.

                                        1. re: PhilD

                                          In HK, those names are really used. Here, the socalled sopi is an invention that did not catch on, which makes its use so embarrassing.

                                          1. re: PhilD

                                            In NYC at least, it's not hipsters coming up with new names for neighborhoods, it is definitely the media and real estate agents.

                                            1. re: chompchomp

                                              Exactly what I've been saying. Same thing in Paris. If you're hip, you are not burdened with this personal geo inferiority complex.

                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                I would argue that the very rich have a much more detrimental impact on the soul and identity of a neighborhood than hipsters. It's in extremely affluent neighborhoods where I see a frightening global homogenization of taste and demands. The seared salmon you get in a rich enclave of NYC will be prepared exactly like the one you'll get in London, Frankfurt, etc. Local coffee shops disappear, as do family-run butcher shops. As mockable as hipsters can be, they're at least adventurous eaters and typically have some respect for the traditions of the neighborhoods they adopt. (Their endless quest for "authenticity" is in fact one of their more mockable traits.)

                                                1. re: ccferg

                                                  “I would argue that the very rich have a much more detrimental impact on the soul and identity of a neighborhood than hipsters.”
                                                  Why would that be an argument ?

                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                    Not an argument with you, Parigi. I think we're on the same page here.

                                                  2. re: ccferg

                                                    I'm not sure that either the very rich or the authentic (as opposed to the posing) hipster has a particularly positive effect on a neighborhood. Maybe we just leave it alone? Visit, enjoy and try to leave only virtual footprints?

                                                    1. re: mangeur

                                                      As a tourist, mangeur, I promise you that I leave an invisible footprint. I'm just always curious what trends are happening in the cities I visit. One very disturbing trend in the US-- it's been going on for a while now -- is "fun" cuisine. I don't know who to blame for this. (I don't think it's hipsters). Here's a review in this week's New Yorker of a popular new spot in Tribeca: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/reviews...

                                                      I sure hope this doesn't take hold in Paris.

                                                      1. re: ccferg

                                                        I read the NYorker article and didn't get what's "fun" but we're now swamped with "fun" stuff; first it was hamburgers, then cupcakes and cheesecake, then hot dogs and now grilled cheese; not forgetting the never-ending use of balsamic oil and truffle oil spray.

                                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                                          John Talbott, I like hamburgers and hotdogs as much as the next person, but I'm really tired of seeing them on menus at places like the restaurant described in that New Yorker article -- restaurants that allegedly have a serious cook in the kitchen and charge high-end prices. The "creative" preparations tend to be all over the place in terms of technique, ethnicity and ingredients.

                                                          1. re: ccferg

                                                            "I like hamburgers and hotdogs as much as the next person, but I'm really tired of seeing them on menus"
                                                            I don't think we disagree.
                                                            I cringe when I see "American" food items on Parisian menus and tend to write-them off without entering; but what I was saying, inelegantly as ever, is that the spate of places serving only hamburgers, hot dogs, cup cakes and grilled cheese sandwiches has become tiresome.
                                                            We went through this with single food item places a decade ago with Rouge Tomate, Pomze, Eggs & Co. etc., and I sincerely hope they've gone away. Except the opening of Dessance (all desserts all day) this winter shattered my hopes. Oh well.

                                                        2. re: ccferg

                                                          The "fun" factor bothers me much less than a difference of … attitude.
                                                          Here is my generalization du jour: reading all these quests for a croissant or a crêpe that take one schlepping cross town, or the defense of "best" as opposed to "favorite", I am struck by how many visitors (am not naming the country) seem to think of food as a crusade, an attainment, while the French think of eating and drinking as enjoyment, no more, no less.
                                                          I do see this crusade-vs-enjoyment attitude again and again on this board and just can't get into it.
                                                          It's a lovely morning in Paris. Get a croissant and enjoy it ! Let the NYT and religious missionaries mope about whether it is the absolute godly best.

                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                            You're right Parigi, but you have to admit that this "crusader philosophy" is also why Chowhound has become such a great source of really good eats.
                                                            I am as puzzled as you by some of the posts sometimes, and yet I am guilty of the same kind of research when I go to a foreign country... When I went to Japan, I didn't search for "the best" sushi, but I definitely tried to get a "very high quality" sushi experience there, and the place I searched for it was Chowhound...
                                                            I am going to South Korea soon, and although the Chowhound board is a little dry on that part of the world, I will still thoroughly search it... not expecting "the best" barbecue or "the best" bibimbap... but at least a "Chowhound highly recommended one".

                                                            1. re: Rio Yeti

                                                              I don't either want to "eat dumb" in a place like Barcelona or Naples, and I do some homework on the eating scene. That's not what I mean by crusading.
                                                              By crusading I mean an attitude that considers food to be more than food.

                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                Yes but the line between one and the other is narrow and different for each individual ;)

                                                                1. re: Rio Yeti

                                                                  I tend to disagree with that idea. The limit between searching with an adventurous approach and gregariously, lazily crusading for an imaginary "best" seems pretty clear-cut to me. We're not talking degrees here but totally different approaches.

                                                                  If you really don't want to "eat dumb", you seek advice but ultimately you have to do your own search. Asking to be led to the "best" this or that is like being led by arrow signs to the canned peas department in the supermarket. And how can you ever know what the "best" should taste like if you don't try other samples of the same specialty as well?

                                                                  1. re: Ptipois

                                                                    Agreed.

                                                            2. re: Parigi

                                                              There are plenty of very well-established competitions and awards in the French food industry for recognizing 'the best' in everything from poultry to baked goods to workers/ artisans. Maybe it isn't that surprising that the average NYT-toting visitor with a casual interest in eating well while in Paris mistakes these rankings for visit-planning tools.

                                                              No disagreement though about the general sentiment that a mandatory checklist of 'bests' is a horrible way to travel.

                                                              1. re: shakti2

                                                                Indeed, even if competitions and awards regularly distinguish the top of the batch in definite categories of foods and beverages *for a given period of time*, generally a year or the time span between some fairs and festivals; and do not determine the absolute best in anything.

                                                                1. re: shakti2

                                                                  I agree there are better restaurants, better food, because we compare. "Best" is very different and is still the word used by people with lazy brain and no respect for language.

                                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                                    It's also part of the "fear of missing out" syndrome that has become so prevalent in the US. It does seem sad; when these people find themselves at a restaurant that they fear isn't "the best," their evening is ruined. Like you, food is only part of the dining (or travel) experience for me. And as much as I enjoy good food, and talking about it, I hate being in the company of people who have to critique (often negatively) every morsel on their plates.

                                                                    1. re: ccferg

                                                                      For us, it isn't fear of missing out, but rather fear of disappointment. I can't get over feeling personal insult when served a miserable meal. But the real problem is that one man's superb is another man's miserable! Hence my mantra of "read between the lines, then read between them again".

                                                                2. re: Parigi

                                                                  But it is a balance especially if you have limited time. Its great to have the time to meander and discover, but even then its galling to find the place just around the corner is the one with the great reputation.

                                                                  I have this habit of having to put my nose into every bar in a place when I arrive, and usually end up back at the first one. It maddens my wife but I think I have advanced FOMO.

                                                                  Getting a feeling before I arrive for the places with the best reputations helps with the process and has cut down the walking, but I still check out the options. Trust me the Marais already had a lot of bars 15 years ago when we first stayed there...!

                                                                  Blindly, heading for the one best spot is madness. Partly I feel many people are insecure with their ability to select, or know what is the best, so they need to be told. Berthillion is "the best" ice-cream in Paris so if that's where you go, you get bragging rights and the comfort of knowing your choice was safe. Now to me the best ice-cream in Paris is the best looking place nearest me when I need an ice-cream..!

                                                                  However, a word of caution when reacting the "best" posts. Those that are for "THE best restaurant in Paris" are fair game, but I think we should give latitude to those that ask for "the best restaurantS in the 7eme" - the emphasis is important. I remember I once asked for the best burger in Frisco ;-)) that was open after 11:00pm near the Cow Hollow. I got very helpful replies and enjoyed a great burger at Nopa.

                                                                  1. re: PhilD

                                                                    'Even then its galling to find the place just around the corner is the one with the great reputation.'

                                                                    See, this is where some of us differ completely. If I had eaten well at a sensible price at the 'wrong' place, I'd be delighted at the serendipity. Reputations and 'reading between the lines' of well-written reviews is all very well but I would be sad if they limited my ability to fully enjoy my own experience, on the spot, in the moment.

                                                                    1. re: shakti2

                                                                      I don't see that as contradictory it is simply having better information and being able to selectively use it. I often find the "best" place only to walk past it to the one that takes my fancy. The galling part is when the you miss that gem that is highly favoured....and genuinely good...simply because you did not research well and had no idea it was there.

                                                                      I well remember a trip to Rome when I was too busy to do the research and found myself struggling to find good food areas let alone great restaurants. Hard to believe in such a food city/country - but in an unfamiliar city, with hordes of tourists, baking heat, limited italian, and a untuned (for Italy) food radar - it was tricky. We definitely found some gems but had too many misses for a city like that.

                                                                      I am not taking about a "Foders Top 5" instead it is a carefully curated list from knowledgeable people on this board.

                                                                      For example when I was in the Pays Basque I used Parig's great thoughts on restaurants in the region to guide me. I would have not enjoyed a visit to Chez Mattin in Ciboure, without the advice as it is hidden away and some way from the busy restaurants on the front.....I suspect it may also have been one of her "best" recommendations ;-)

                                                                      1. re: PhilD

                                                                        I don't think anyone is disputing that some intelligent homework and effort are good ideas. In fact, there's obviously a lot of pleasure in comparing notes about good eats with like-minded folks, off- and on-line, hence Chow.

                                                                        What I'm finding striking are the expressions of forlorn desolation 'feeling personal insult' 'galling' etc etc - presumably this is after a traveller has already made their pick from the best of their 'carefully curated list from knowledgeable people'.

                                                                        Also the numerous posts seeking to validate restaurant choices months in advance of a planned visit - how do you optimise pleasure when you can't react to the weather, the day's other activities, your mood, and that of your companions ?

                                                                        These feelings are what I understand Parigi to mean when she says 'crusade vs. enjoyment' and for me anyway, they would be incompatible with travel for pleasure.

                                                                      2. re: shakti2

                                                                        I think you misunderstand my intent. A review may be brilliantly written, but if my taste is not the same as the writer, I may well not enjoy the experience. As you say, it is all about enjoying your own experience, not trying to duplicate that of the writer. Finding food that makes your heart sing applies to hot dogs and tacos and andouillette just as much as it does to sit-down fare. It's not about "eat and tell" but eat and rejoice!

                                                                        1. re: mangeur

                                                                          Mangeur, well said as usual. -- Jake

                                                                3. re: mangeur

                                                                  I have to disagree, I may be wrong, but didn't the hipster LBGT community change the Marais into he vibrant shopping and restaurant area is is today?

                                                                  I have seen how many areas revitalise as the hipsters move in. They arrive because of the low rents for flats and business space, galleries etc. Small businesses open to service them (coffee, bakeries, wine bars etc), the area starts to buzz - often enhanced by the mix of immigrants and hipsters.

                                                                  It then becomes a destination place to live, gentrified and then eventually pricing out the hipsters and the nice little restaurants etc. Isn't Bellevue one such an area in Paris...?

                                                          2. re: PhilD

                                                            Re le Haut Marais,

                                                            I have a feeling the names for neighbourhoods in the 3rd and 4th have been pretty amorphous and overlapping over the years. I and my contemporaries have called most of the 3rd "the Haut Marais" for as long as I can remember. Occasionally the name Nord Marais is used by some and (Ptipois, cover your eyes) even the acronym NoMa. My mother remembers that the term "Haut Marais" was occasionally in use back in the '70s to differentiate it from the then very suddenly trendy Marais. My grandmother says no, the northern bits of the 3rd never had a common name and were split into individual quartiers i.e. Enfants Rouges, Temple, Arts-et-Metiers with special names for specific enclaves like Petit Wenzhou (I suppose, the original rue Volta Chinatown). The far northern tip was considered part of République. She also insists that Le Marais was an appellation that was known but little used until the late '60s and instead people commonly referred to the smaller component quartiers like Beaubourg, Saint Gervais and Saint Paul. But then my grandfather says the Marais appellation was very much in use and referred to a well-known seedy area between the rue Turenne and the Beaubourg (so much smaller than today's notion of the Marais) and including an Algerian quarter with doss houses and lots of "interesting" bals musettes as well as a Jewish quarter. And yet another opinion from an ancient neighbour who grew up on the rue des Mauvais Garçons (hmmmm) and, back then, he always identified himself as from the quartier St Gervais, not the Marais (which for him, was synonymous with the quartier juif). And another twist, I'm also noticing more and more references in articles/ blogs to the quartier Saint Gervais... some seem to use it as a synonym for all of the western half of the 4th while others seem to be just talking about area between the river and rue Rivoli/ rue St Antoine with some overlap with the St Paul quartier. The 3rd and 4th each have 4 well defined administrative quartiers and, while their names have historical origins, the boundaries do not always reflect popular notions of what is where or what it should be called. And, as far as I know, neither Marais nor Haut Marais are official designations.

                                                            1. re: Parnassien

                                                              I hope you're getting this down, Parnassasien, in something other than CH because it's good history. I'm getting a little hesitant to say anything on this thread, but isn't SoPi shorthand for "South of Pigalle"? As a Parisian, I'd probably be more upset that the new nickname of my neighborhood was based on ... uh.... ENGLISH than the fact that the media -- or hipsters -- were giving it a new hip name.

                                                              1. re: ccferg

                                                                Well, with 30 million tourists a year in a city with only 2.5 million residents, I'm not sure our proprietary rights are all that important. And so many of the hipster-type Parisiens are wannabe Americans anyway. And like I said above, I and maybe some others use "SoPi" to define a style more than a neighbourhood.

                                                                1. re: Parnassien

                                                                  That tourist-resident ratio IS an odd dynamic.