This week I decided to check out a quartier that is tres close to me: Les Batignolles. This little neighborhood is squeezed between the bustling Place de Clichy (south), the door of St. Ouen (north), and the chic 17th Wagram and Malesherbes (to the west). Les Batignolles have a calm and charming feel, though at first glance the place seems like the mecca of MacLaren strollers, perfect families, and bountiful organic markets. But first impressions are meant to be broken. This neighborhood may not have the hype that the Marais, Canal St. Martin, and Belleville have going for them, but Les Batignolles is home to it’s own bobo attitude. There is a good mix of lively bars, hip restaurants, and exclusive shops. This area is branche—but not overly so. You get the village vibe with tiny streets and hidden art gems, while still preserving a sense of community with the quaint church and mairie that can be found near the beautiful square.
It goes without saying that the first thing I look for in a new quartier is top notch nourriture. You’re resident gourmande is happy to report that The Batignolles has an array of restaurants that cater to the most varied of tastes. First up: Les Puces des Batignolles (110 rue Legendre). The clientele is very bobo, the servers are super chill, and the food is inventive. Upon entry you’ll salivate over the dessert pyramid, but won’t want to miss their fries or their prawn spaghetti. The decor is trendy while still being homey, the prices are reasonable, and you can bring anyone here–friends, family, or dare I say lovers! If burgers and brunch are your thing, don’t miss Le Club des Cinq (57 rue des Batignolles). This retro resto evokes memories of my (wannabe 50s) childhood, with vinyls, an old fashioned library, and kid doodles (Babar anyone?!). The burgers are their claim to fame, but I may become a devotee of their risotto shells….to die for, I tell you.
On the more exotic spectrum of culinary delights we have Buzkashi (7 rue des Dames). This is a great place to test out Afghan food! Their dishes are excellent quality while still being mild enough for Afghan foodie newbies…that would include myself! The decor is hip with a bohemian edge, and this is a great place if you’re looking for vegetarian friendly dishes. If you’re in the mood for sushi, Bar a Sushi Izumi (55 Boulevard des Batignolles) is the place to go. My friend, who is the biggest sushi snob in Paris, swears by this place and hikes over from the 11th just to get a taste of their fatty tuna, eel and wagyu beef. This Japanese restaurant is even featured in the Michelin guide. In the little puffy man we trust. To round off the restaurants, Aux Couleurs du Monde (118 Rue Truffaut) packs a colorful punch. The menu has everything from thai salad, to tacos, to cheese quesadillas, to fish Lao. Best of all the cocktail menu doesn’t skip a beat and the selection of beers can’t be beat!
Speaking of beer….Les Batignolles is bustling with beer bargains! Le Cube (63 rue de Dames) has a weekly beer night and monthly whiskey evenings. La Legendre (100 rue Legendre) is a former brothel converted into a charming little New Yorker bar, where vintage instruments and old posters fill a room crowded with huge armchairs. The servers and friendly and they make a mean cocktail in addition to hosting concerts, exhibitions, sports matches. For another thematic and lively time, head to West Bar (61 rue Legendre) where you’ll find decor intended to pay tribute to James West of the TV show The Wild Wild West. The atmosphere is cozy with dim lighting, and a mojito or blackberry kir are sure to hit the spot.
If you’re looking for nightlife in Les Batignolles, there are a few spots to check out. There is the Caves Lechapelais (7 rue Lechapelais) which offers dancing and drinks in an underground cellar. I’m pretty claustrophobic and this place is a little too Catacombe-y for my liking, but some people are really into the underground cave scene. The Karambole Cafe (10 rue Hegesippe Moreau) is cozy and minimal in decor, and offers an awesome selection of music–everything from house to electro to Dubstep. This place is laid back, makes a mean mojito (if you couldn’t tell, I like rum…), and it’s all about delivering underground music as well as independent labels.
As a relatively ‘artsy’ and somewhat boho neighborhood, Les Batignolles offer several super cool shopping gems that can’t be found elsewhere in Paris. First up is La Fausse Boutique (32 rue Pierre Fontaine), where you’ll find a new kind of concept store. It’s a retail space that sells everything from accessories, to ready-to-wear limited edition shoes, to games. The store carries products that are made exclusively by young French designers. They even carry one of my friend Hélène’s jewelry line (Sur les toits de Paris) here! Crazy! Another cool concept store is Blou (77 rue de la Legendre), which was founded by Julien and Nicolas, two designers passionate about interior design and art. The shop had a ton of awesome homegood decor, and I’m personally obsessed with all of their lighting fixtures. If you’re looking for a unique place to pick up gifts for your girlfriends (orrrrr yourself 😉 check out Desordre Urbain (96 rue Nollet). Same as La Fausse Boutique, Desordre Urbain features jewelry, clothing, handbags, and decoration that is made by up and coming young designers. French Touche (1 rue Jaquemont) is another great stop for personalized gift and cute knick knacks. Originality is the name of the game for many of these Batignolles stores.
Les Batignolles is quainter and more community centric because there are lots of families that live in this area. The neighborhood offers several parks, the biggest of which is the Square des Batignolles; it also happens to be the biggest park in the 17th. It offers playgrounds for kids, ponds to feed the ducks, and trails for runners. The Parc Clichy-Batignolles- Martin Luther King (147 rue Cardinet) is another park which I’ve recently discovered for running. Their concept focuses on the seasons, water, and sports. There are several reflection ponds, and with the changing seasons comes changing athletic opportunities. This park is an extension of a 200 million euro project to further develop the Clichy Batignolles area. You can read more on the project here. With plans of greater and greater development and ingenuity, it looks like Les Batignolles are slowly but surely carving out their place in this city.
Tell us: What are your favorite things to do and see in Les Batignolles?!