Sign the Petition to Save Les Pipos

The residents of one neighborhood in Paris are fighting for their lives—the lives they’re used to in their close-knit community, a way of life that is fast disappearing. And this fight is centered around a small, unassuming bistro called Les Pipos.

Click to sign the petition to save Les Pipos.

For over 130 years, the residents of this 5th arrondissement community have gathered within these walls to share some beaux moments. Owners have come and gone, the name has changed, but the bistro itself, and the neighborhood—the Montagne Sainte Geneviève district—have not. It’s for this reason American director Woody Allen chose this Left Bank village for his film Midnight in Paris, and Les Pipos for his downtime during filming.

From the outside, Les Pipos doesn’t look like much, but as soon as you enter, you understand its appeal. The centerpiece of its cozy interior is an ornately carved bar, installed in 1946. The mosaic floor, too, dates from the Second World War. The panelling and staircase? Much older. The walls are covered in old photos, posters, and other memorabilia, marking the years—and the clients who have passed through this place.

The ornate, zinc-top bar at Les Pipos dates from the Second World War. ©Lisa Anselmo
The interior of Les Pipos dates from just after the Second World War. But some of it, like the paneling, is 100+ years old. It’s quiet at this hour, but after 6pm it comes alive. ©Lisa Anselmo

Click to sign the petition to save Les Pipos.

Though steeped in history, Les Pipos is not stuck in the past. A favorite with the locals, it’s bustling nearly every night. You need a reservation for dinner here. The impressive collection of wines draws serious connoisseurs; live music packs them in on weekends. It’s a gold mine.

But none of that matters in a city where profit is king. Gentrification and rising rents are pushing out the thriving small businesses that serve our daily needs. In their place, faceless chain stores. Our local communities are being transformed into transient commercial zones, and Paris is losing its soul.

If the landlord of Les Pipos has his way, the soul of this neighborhood in the 5th will be gone, too. Word is he wants the bistro out, maybe for a high-paying retailer, and is in negotiations with the bistro’s owner.

The clients of Les Pipos aren’t taking this lying down, and have launched a petition asking the city and UNESCO to intervene and landmark the site. It’s unclear what can be done, but the more signatures they get, the bigger case they can make. So add yours.

A detail of the ornate bar at Les Pipos. ©Lisa Anselmo

Places like Les Pipos seem eternal, untouchable. But they’re not. Nothing is sacred when cities put profit over people. Small businesses and the vital communities they serve are the casualties in this fast-grab economy, which rewards only the biggest players. Please sign to the petition to save Les Pipos—and help save local community life in Paris. A translation of the French petition is below.

Les Pipos 2, rue de l’Ecole Polytechnique, 5ème

Click to sign the petition to save Les Pipos.

English Translation of the Petition:

Caught up in a juicy real estate deal, Les Pipos, one of grandfathers of the Parisian bistro, is on the verge of disappearing permanently.

In the heart of the Montagne Sainte Geneviève district, this bistro has seen since the end of the 19th Century—its artists, writers, politicians, artisans, workers, who have embodied a lifestyle that is emblematic of Parisian heritage.

Les Pipos remains a place where people from different generations and backgrounds gather. We meet here, we talk, we exchange. It’s the soul and pillar of the neighborhood for those who live here, find themselves here—and for many others, who seek out the village spirit of the area, and the lifestyle that continues here.

“Bistros are a place of sharing, mixing, which enables our city to be different from other capital cities,” rightfully said Madame Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris. It is in this spirit that we seek to preserve this last neighborhood bistro so emblematic of Parisian culture.

Thus, with the support of The Association for the Inscription to the Intangible Heritage of UNESCO of the tradition and way of life of bistros and terraces of Paris, we ask the Mayor of Paris, as well as the Ministry of Culture, to move to protect this establishment so that this gathering spot of more than a hundred years continues to be a place that brings a diverse community of Parisians together.


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