A Walk in the Batignolles: a Little Village in Paris
Located in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, just west of Montmartre and the Sacré-coeur, sits the little village of Batignolles. Preserved in the northwest point of the city and separated from the classic tourist attractions of Paris, Batignolles is an area commonly overlooked by visitors. However, with it’s charming vibe, artistic history, English gardens and fashionable restaurants, it is not to be missed.
Walking the streets of Batignolles
At one time Batignolles was a slow moving village outside the city of Paris. In recent years it has risen as one of the hippest areas in the city. It is a hot spot for up-and-coming artists, trendy restaurants and enthusiastic night life. It is all this while still offering a homey feel.
Antique shops and boulangeries line rue Boursault in Batignolles
One of the best ways to get to know Batignolles is simply to walk. The wall to wall crowds of pedestrians fade away once you cross the train tracks and enter Batignolles. Children walk the streets and neighbors chat inside cafés.
It is a small neighborhood and can be walked through in less than 30 minutes. If you are visiting Paris and want to get away from the crowded streets and tourist traps, the quaint village of Batignolles is the place to be.
See the art of Batignolles
A colorful face painted on the side of a building in Batignolles
In the 19th century, Batignolles was a hub for culture and art. The “Group des Batignolles,” as they were later dubbed, were a group of impressionist painters who spend their waking ours in the village of Batignolles. The group consisted of painters such as Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Frédéric Bazille and others. They would gather at the Café Guerbois, currently located on Avenue de Clichy just a short walk from Batignolles. The famous Emily Zola also lived in the village of Batignolles.
Sketch of the Café Guerbois – Courtesy WikiMedia Commons
The modern Batignolles reflects this history with numerous art and photography galleries that can be found while strolling through Batignolles. Feel free to stop by and browse, or if you so desire, sign up for one of the art workshops offered in the neighborhood.
There is also a large amount of street art and museums. If you are interested in history I would suggest checking out The Grand Lodge of France. It is located next to the metro station Rome or Place de Clichy. It is open from Monday to Thursday.
Grab a bite to eat at a Boulangerie or Bistro in the Batignolles
French Pastries in a boulangerie near Batignolles
To start out your walk, you may want to grab a croissant or pain au chocolat to go from one of the many different boulangeries in Batignolles. Bread and pastries are a staple of french life, and here in Batignolles it is no different. There are easily two or three boulangeries standing on one street, making it difficult to know which is the best. My advice: try them all.
Le Tout Petit Bistro, located at the center square of Batignolles just across from the church.
There are plenty of quaint restaurants and cafes in Batignolles. More and more trendy food spots are popping up everyday. You can find everything from classic French cuisine to Thai restaurants and at a surprisingly cheap rate. Le Bal Cafè is one that I personally recommend. It acts as a café and a place to find new contemporary art. It is open everyday from Wednesday to Sunday and is located at 6 Impasse de la Défense. The coffee is strong and the atmosphere is sweet.
Feed the ducks at the Square des Batignolles
Intersected by multiple little waterfalls that run themselves through the diversified trees, is the park of Batignolles. It is located just beyond the main square and is filled with quacking ducks, laughing children, benches and a river. Just walking through this park makes you feel as if you are entering into a painting.
The park was originally built to resemble an English garden, hence the waterfall, river and lake. Due to the cities ban on walking or sitting on the grass, there are an impressive amount of ducks, geese, swans and, sometimes, even chickens that have claimed this park as there home. This is a perfect place to have picnic if the weather permits . Just don’t sit on the grass…
Check out the organic food market
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If you are interested in open air markets, Paris is the right city for you. There are different markets happening everyday throughout the city. What makes the market in Batignolles different, however, is that is all organic.
Here you can find a wide range of fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats at reasonably affordable prices. If you are looking for a fresh place to buy all your necessities than this is the place to be. The market is only open on Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM. For more information about the market click here.
Have a drink and check out the nightlife
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After your long day of walking through Batignolles, you may want to find a place to have a drink and watch the locals. Intermingled with the easy living of village life is a quick-paced nightlife with no shortage of bars.
If you want to hang out in a cozy neighborhood atmosphere, check out The Be Bop Bar. This bar is primarily populated by locals, hence it’s very mellow vibe. The servers are friendly and there is a wide range of drinks. It’s interior decoration is reminiscent of the old vintage rock and roll era.
Go check out the L’ébéniste de Vin if you are interested in something more classy. It sits right in front of the center square with a view of the church. It is a wine bar and therefore there is no end to the variety of selection. It can be a little costly, but if you are in the mood for a beautiful romantic dinner at the heart of the little village in Paris, this is the place to be.
Other Neighborhoods of Paris
Don’t be to sad when you leave Batignolles and return to Paris! There are plenty of neighborhoods to discover within the city, each offering something different and new. Check out our other blogs on the neighborhood of Le Marais and the Latin Quarter.