Tucked away in the north of Paris not far from Montmartre, the historic village-like neighbourhood of Batignolles is all-too-often overlooked by visitors. Well deserving of attention, this relaxed bohemian area is full of restaurants, independent design boutiques, wine cellars and gourmet delis that reflect the locals’ taste for la belle vie.
La Tout Petit
The heart of the neighbourhood lies in the meticulously preened 19th century Square des Batignolles with its small round Art Nouveau greenhouse, lake and graceful willow trees. Across the garden is the large white Saint Mary’s church located in the centre of the Place du Docteur Felix Lobligeois, which is where surrounding restaurants like local institution Le Tout Petit sets out its terrace in the summer.
No Youth Control
On the square, visitors will also find a branch of the high-end American fashion store, APC. The upmarket young concept store No Youth Control is nearby which sells gorgeous scented La Note Parisienne candles and Kaweco pens as well as other quirky finds from around the world. Louis Goulet, the shop's founder summarises the mindset of the locals: “We wanted the store to reflect Batignolles’ multiculturalism and travel,” says founder Louis Goulet. Other boutiques in the Batignolles include design stores like Blou, Irène Irène and Mobil Home.
Batignolles' bohemian heritage is evidenced by the prevalence of artists residences and galleries in the neighbourhood. Sculptress Marie La Varande works and leads classes in a small studio off rue des Batignolles and sums up the area's atmosphere: “I could never be anywhere else,” she says. “I love the pace of life in the Batignolles, as well as its arty history – for example its a little known fact that that the Statue of Liberty was assembled not too far from here.”
Sculptures in Maria La Varande's studio
It was in Batignolles in the late 1800s that French painter Edouard Manet formed the artists’ Groupe des Batignolles from which stemmed the Impressionist art movement. Manet is said to have lived most of his adult life at number 34 boulevard des Batignolles, and his good friend, writer Emile Zola, could often be seen writing at a café table in the area. He even gave his main character, Nana in the novel of the same name, a Batignolles address.
Rue de Levis in the lower Batignolles
Markets and food
Highlights include the indoor market that dates back to 1846 on rue Lemercier, as well as the Marché Biologique (organic market) on Saturday mornings that is set up along the boulevard des Batignolles.
The lively cobbled rue de Lévis in the lower-Batignolles area is full of high-end delis, chocolate boutiques, excellent fromageries, charcuteries and fruit and vegetable sellers.
On rue Legendre there is also Premiata Drogheria di Meglio, a high quality Italian deli and just of Legendre is the excellent L’ebéniste du Vin wine cellar along with and its sister fish restaurant L’ecailler de l’Ebéniste.
Where to eat
The popular bistro serving typical French pig bits La Tête de Goinfre is handy to keep up your sleeve, as is the homely Bistro des Dames for its idyllic back garden lined with tables. However, for something a little more upmarket, head to rue Cardinet close to the Martin Luther King park for the ultra contemporary neo-bistro Coretta named after Martin Luther King’s wife.