Art Deco Luxury Living in Paris
Batignolles is an oasis of calm in the midst of a city of 11 million residents. Originally the site of country houses built for Paris' new bourgeoisie under Napoléon's reign, Batignolles has retained its village-like atmosphere to the present day. Living in Batignolles carries with it a distinct identity and a sense of belonging that is fiercely protected by those who call the neighborhood home.
Here, an ideal day begins with the simplest of pleasures—a perfect pastry and strong coffee enjoyed at the marble-topped bistro table of our private balcony. There's no shortage of excellent bakers in Paris, but we Batignollais are spoiled. Turn left at the corner and you'll arrive at La Fournée d'Augustine, winner of the esteemed "Best Baguette in Paris" award. If you're early enough, you'll stand a chance of scoring one of Pierre's almond-pistachio-chocolate croissants. Turn right at the corner and you'll arrive at La Fille du Boulanger. There you'll learn why the baker, Anaïs, was singled out by the President of France as one of the nation's exceptionally talented youth and subsequently presented to Queen Elizabeth II during her most recent state visit.
Batignolles is compact and ideally explored on foot. The main streets of the neighborhood—rues des Batignolles, de Lévis, des Moines, Legendre and des Dames—are lined with countless bakers, antiques dealers, florists, perfumers, cobblers, violin bow-makers, lingerie makers, and nearly every other specialized occupation you might imagine.
Though you'll rarely hear English spoken in the neighborhood, the Batignollais are warm, friendly and generally curious about foreign visitors. It doesn't take more than a few repeat visits for the baker to start slipping a free choquette or two into your bag.
Nearly any walk through the neighborhood ends up at the local park. The Square des Batignolles is one of Napoléon III's grand parks. After more than 150 years, this English-style garden is still one of the most impressive parks in all of Paris. Rushing water streams from a rocky grotto along flowered banks, finally ending in a large fish pond at the far end of the park. Flocks of wild birds, including some very rare duck and swan species make their homes alongside the water.
The Square des Batignolles is home to a tree collection that includes two of Paris' largest and oldest plane trees, a giant sequoia, honey locusts imported from America, a palm or two, and fruit and nut trees such as lemon, persimmon and hazelnut. Walking on the lawn is not permitted, but there are several play areas for children, including an old-fashioned carousel. Playful adults can try their hand at the very serious game of pétanque at one of the two large playing fields at the back of the park.
Batignolles is an ideal location from which to explore nearby areas of Paris on foot. Just a few blocks away is the all-night adult playground stretching from place de Clichy to place Pigalle. Here you'll find the brightly-lit spinning windmill of the Moulin Rouge, the fascinating Musée de l'Eroticisme, and innumerable bars, nightclubs and other businesses ready to cater to the hoards of tourists bent on staying out until dawn.
Montmartre lies just to the east. Crowned by the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre is one of the city's quirkiest neighborhoods. Though the hill's lower streets are overrun with souvenir stands, the upper back streets are filled with cafés, art studios, bookstores, museums, cemeteries, windmills, and Paris' only working vineyard.
Paris certainly isn't lacking for art, but many of her great treasures are amassed in the lesser-known museums arranged around the periphery of Batignolles. The extraordinary architecture, collections and tragic story of behind the Musée Nissim de Camondo should be on every visitor's "must see" list. The Musée National Jean-Jacques Henner is located just west of Batignolles, while the Asian art of the Musée Cernuschi and the stunning paintings and furnishing of the Musée Jacquemart-André are housed an easy walk away in the 8th Arrondissement. The Musée de la Vie Romantique encapsulates the artistic social world of George Sand, Frédéric Chopin, Charles Gounod, Charles Dickens and others in the Nouvelle Athènes district of the 9th Arrondissement just south of Pigalle.
Batignolles comes alive again in the early evenings, when parents can be seen walking their children home from school, young singles start gathering at the bars and restaurants along rue des Dames, bakers put out fresh batches of warm baguettes for customers on their way home, and children gather for a scooter frenzy or impromptu soccer in the open square facing the mairie.
A stay in Batignolles is a vision of what it really means to live a Parisian life!