Going home always feels like a buttery kind of experience. Like a concentrate of places and people you most cherish… Only lighter. Without the downsides of a routine.
When I first moved to Paris, the distance, the cold, the over encompassing greyness of the sky and un-Mediterranean lifestyle made it hard for me to feel at ease. But as the years went by and I met cultured, kind-hearted, passionate friends, the city turned into a second home.
I love being there as a tourist, strolling through the streets my heels once stroked with haste. Wasting time there, when you used to never get a chance to, and when everybody else is in a hurry, truly feels like a blessing.
This series about the Batignolles area is dear to my heart. Because before it became my neighbourhood I already loved the way it had regenerated into a lively and eclectic place, the way the new park and its edgy buildings melted into the more traditional Haussmannian setting, and suffused it with some much-deserved posterity. I loved it even more when I moved into my (then) boyfriend’s place, supposedly for two months, and started hitting the best bakery I know, making it a daily routine.
Now that it also holds the memories of my fast-planned and beautifully untraditional wedding, I am more than happy to share tips about cafes and boutiques that will make you feel like a true Parisian when you visit them.
Even if you have no intention of staying more than 200 feet away from the Eiffel Tower, the Batignolles area is too trendy a place to shop for you to miss out on! Local designers made affordable, brilliantly set up La French Touche has a delightful selection of leathery purses, tee-shirts with the cutest prints, and in-style jewelry. If you have children or are expecting, Les Loulous des Batignolles has everything you need, candies at the door included! That’s where I bought Noisette’s first IKKS PJs. Des Petits Hauts (rue Legendre) and Vicente A. (rue des Batignolles) are full of costume tops and fashion blouses. The devil really is in the detail … I have also heard a lot about the white and golden jacket I have been wearing lately I got it from Noa, rue Des Moines is also worth the trip.
FOOD & BEV SECOND
Boulangerie Basso/rue Sauffroy/ is by far my favorite bakery in Paris. Their brioche and cranberry or walnut ‘petits pains’ made my Parliament days smoother. From their almond croissants to their éclair, there is not one thing that isn’t worth the trip. Let alone the baker’s smile and comforting words if you’re having a bad day!
If you want your non-expecting friends to get the most of the Parisian experience, take them to L’Ebéniste du Vin where cheese platters will simply be perfectly tailored to their glass. I always knew my hometown, Bandol, produced fine roses, but had no idea it also had some of the best reds I was ever to taste… until I met their team of experts a few years ago!
Chez Irene & Bernard /rue de la Jonquière/ is your go-to Parisian brasserie. I spent countless evenings there recovering from a hard day at work over a goat’s cheese almond-sprinkled salad and some good wine. The burgers and day pies are served with the best fries in town. Tiramisu is to die for. And most importantly, the brasserie has such a neighbourhood feel you will make it your own in no time.
If you’re more into fooding, try Coretta/151 bis, rue Cardinet/, named after Martin Luther King’s wife. It is situated right next to the new park, allowing you to rest after an evening walk. Staff is young yet service is outstanding. I loved the seabass and its emulsion of artichokes. My only regret: not trying their immoderately big and fluffy brioche!
If you’d like to pamper yourself, meet stunning Julie, living proof of the quality of products Flash Beauty Bar/10, rue Bridaine/ will use on you! She knows exactly what your face, hands and feet most need. Her facials and OPI treatments will make you feel like a queen in no time.
Salon 17 /46, rue des Batignolles/ saved my hair a couple of years ago when it was going through some ungrateful fro-like phase. Naima runs this salon so well she does not even need a website! Keratine treatments are actually protective there so if you tend to frizz and want to discipline your hair for the summer months in Dubai, you might as well plan your trip now!
Right behind the Paroisse Sainte Marie Batignolles, a white-walled church surrounded by little cafes and paved streets, you will find the entrance to Square des Batignolles, a heavily duck-populated small park where Parisians like to take their kids, or read on a bench. Even when it rains! The towering plane trees planted in 1840 are particularly refreshing when coming from our desert lands. Further down the road, the more recently created Parc Martin Luther Kind is full of life. Children go there to roller-skate, poets to read on the lawn, young parties of friends to play or drink champagne. The park is a perfect example that urban regeneration can work and bring people together!
SLEEP LAST / ONLY IF NECESSARY
Batignolles is the perfect area to have a few drinks before heading to the 9th arrondissement to go out. If you need a place to stay though, Art Hotel Batignolles is at the heart of the neighbourhood, affordable, tidy and quite modern for the area. Rooms are small, but don’t forget you are in Paris!