Paris Neighborhoods: Batignolles
Tue 30 Aug 2011
A restful park.
“Yeah, well, get lost!” my teen shouts at me in a fit of anger. So I do. It’s one of my favorite activities, in fact—getting lost in Paris. Last week I had an hour to spare between appointments, so I took her advice and simply strolled. Within minutes I found myself in Batignolles, one of my latest favorite neighborhoods in Paris.
A quaint village church in the heart of the city.
From the Rome metro station, I turned left on the rue des Batignolles, enjoying the surprising sunshine. Much like in my own neighborhood, there is a large timber-framed church at the end of this street, making the walk particularly picturesque and giving the entire area a village feel. Like any self-respecting village, this street has bakeries, tabacs, magazine shops and a hardware shop that is packed so full the stacks of merchandise seem to be pressed down from the rafters, threatening to rain down on the unsuspecting visitor at any moment.
Some memory-inducing jars.
As I headed up the street, I was drawn to the joyously colorful Délire et Écrire (32, rue des Batignolles; 01 42 94 87 79), a stationery shop where three cheerful salespeople helped me select a few gifts for the young girls in my life. Point Bar looked enticingly chic, and I imagine this is something of a hot spot in the evenings. But it was too early for a break. My energetic spirit was immediately rewarded by the neighboring La Fournée d’Augustine (31, rue des Batignolles; 01 43 87 88 41), an award-winning bakery. Seeing the antique grain jars in the window jogged my memory. My friend Truffaut, from Washington, DC, loves this area so much that he bought a flat on the neighboring street. He has already given me a trip of the area, just north from where I now stood, so I knew that La Fournée had some particularly tempting pistachio-flavored pain au chocolat.
Nostalgic inspiration for contemporary portraits.
Across the street, Un Olivier à Paris is a creative florist with bouquets I was severely tempted to lug with me through the city. The nostalgic window display at the local photographer’s shop, a few reasonable antique shops, another award-winning bakery—I understood how Truffaut had fallen under the area’s charms. To sweeten the deal, there is an organic market here on Saturday, running along the boulevard des Batignolles.As you finally arrive at the church, there is a lovely terrace on a wide, pedestrian-only street that leads to an idyllically landscaped park, the Square des Batignolles. The terrace is part of an Italian chain restaurant, Fuxia, and although I try to avoid chains, this one sits on some prime real estate. It offers exceptionally fresh, original recipes and some grocery goods to take home for a tasty souvenir of one of the great neighborhoods in Paris.
Point Bar Batignolles
Un Olivier à Paris