Things are changing fast in northwest Paris. The Clichy-Batignolles area is undergoing an ambitious regeneration makeover. Plans include a new Paris Law Courts complex designed by Renzo Piano, which will reach a height of 160 metres. Located between the bustling Place de Clichy and the quiet, middle class area around Parc Monceau, the neighbourhood preserves its multi-faceted charm, combining a village feel and green spaces with a contemporary edge. Clichy-Batignolles is furiously up-and-coming, with more and more hipster hangouts cropping up. Come with us on a tour of this buzzing district with a working class soul.
Gourmets in the area know where to go: Rue de Levis. There’s plenty on this street to whet the appetite: a charcuterie, a cheese shop, a butcher’s, a dairy, a baker’s, a wine cellar and more. And, as the street is largely pedestrian, it’s the ideal place for a leisurely food shop: you can linger as long as you like in front of the colourful stalls.
A veritable Paris institution, the Batignolles organic market on Boulevard des Batignolles is one of the most reputed ones in the city. There’s even a stand selling aromatic herbs where you can sip a glass of fresh herb juice. Another place to buy super-fresh produce is a shop called Au Bout du champ (open until 10pm), where you can choose from a selection of fruit and vegetables picked that same morning at farms in the Paris region.
Fans of pretty pastries will enjoy a visit to Beauty Cakes, a very girly cake shop devoted to cupcakes. Munch delicious cookies at Scoop Me a Cookie.
A culinary revolution is taking place in northwest Paris: excellent restaurants are opening left, right and centre. Rue des Dames is the local foodie paradise, with restaurants to satisfy any culinary craving: tapas-style dining at Franqette; the new-wave bistro Gare au Gorille; hearty fare in an easygoing atmosphere at Caves populaires and Tourbillon.
Coretta in the vicinity of Parc Martin Luther King is a smart, trendy bistro serving creative modern cuisine. Not far away, chef Sergio Dias Lino conjures up inventive versions of traditional French dishes at L’Envie du Jour: well worth a visit. Other places to try are the trendy brasserie Café Dad, the steakhouse Le Bœuf Volant and the Italian restaurant Viola. For Sunday brunch, Sans Gêne is your best bet.
Sit back and sip a drink in a vintage setting at La Légende, a former brothel converted into a New York-style bar. Le Bloc is perfect for your morning cup of coffee; it also serves lunch and dinner, and turns into a cocktail bar in the evenings. We love its edgy post-industrial decor. Similarly, L’Endroit, a quiet little bistro by day, with people coming from all over for the tasty burgers, metamorphoses after dusk into a late night bar where you can party into the small hours.
If you veer off behind Place de Clichy, there’s a feast for the eyes in store for you. Tucked away in a small cul-de-sac, at a remove from all the bustle, is Le BAL, an arts centre devoted to the documentary: photos, videos and feature films. A cabaret in its previous incarnation, in the Roaring Twenties, these days Le BAL comprises exhibition spaces, a bookshop, and an organic café and restaurant serving delicious fare. It also has a pleasant terrace: the perfect place to sit back and relax. It’s definitely one of the best-kept secrets around here.
A walk in the park
While you’re in the area, don’t miss the legendary Square des Batignolles. Designed in the naturalistic style of an English garden, it is a delightful spot with a grotto, a river, a waterfall and a miniature lake. The district now has a new green space, Parc Martin Luther King. It is a very contemporary public park, laid out around three themes: the seasons, sport and water.