This could be renamed the Batignolles food street, as both sides of the road are lined with restaurants symbolising the new image of the quartier. Meat-lovers should book the bistro-like Gaston, whose friendly owner, Rachid, serves traditional dishes such as oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in a rich red wine sauce) or aged prime rib with a béarnaise sauce (lunch menu €20). For more veggie-friendly dishes (plat du jour €10-€12), there is the casual Bar Pignon, while Formaticus is a fromagerie that serves sharing plates from its long list of cheeses and Le Costaud des Batignolles is part modern art gallery, part restaurant.
The ideal introduction to Batignolles is to grab a pavement table at Dose and order a flat white, or its signature filter coffee. This self-proclaimed “Dealer de Café” is part of a wave of local cafes with a focus on barista skills, which are finally opening up in Paris – and offering an alternative to the bitter “express” many neighbourhood places serve. The location is perfect, opposite the entrance of the Square des Batignolles park (see below), so the clientele is a mix of parents with kids, shoppers taking time out from the nearby boutiques, and students and clubbers who roll up around midday for organic ginger juice, chocolat chaud and croissants.
• Flat white €4, hot chocolate from €3.50, pastries from €1.50, 82 Place du Docteur Félix Lobligeois, dose.paris
Square des Batignolles
More of a sprawling park than a simple square, this is the prime green space in the Batignolles, created in 1862 as a landscaped jardin à l’anglaise. A stream runs through manicured lawns, past statues and sculptures, then into a large pond filled with red Japanese carp and scores of ducks. It’s great for a picnic, and perfect for kids, as there are playgrounds, skateboard slopes and an old-fashioned carousel with wooden horses. In the early evening, older locals gather to play pétanque before going to a nearby bistro.
• 144bis rue Cardinet, paris.fr
France’s first museum dedicated to street art is in a corner of the Batignolles, just by the péripherique ring road. It is in an IT college, and visiting is not easy (compulsory guided tours every other Tuesday 6pm-8pm, free, online booking essential) but it is worth the effort. This display of the private collection of Parisian gallerist Nicolas Laugero Lasserre spans 150 artworks by some 50 graffiti artists from across the world, including Invader, Shepard Fairey, Monkey Bird, Lek and Banksy. The college is worth a visit in itself: it’s open 24 hours a day, with facilities for students to sleep and shower on site, no fees, and no professors. Instead, there are just hundreds of students, day and night, huddled over computer screens, with the street art taking up most of the wall space.
• 96 Boulevard Bessières, art42.fr
Dorothée Beucher’s quirky concept store is typical of the shopping jewels to be found on the Batignolles’ narrow streets. You won’t find famous-name designers or global brands in this neighbourhood, but this eclectic boutique is a goldmine of clothing, accessories, jewellery, ceramics and objets handpicked by Dorothée from more than 50 lesser-known French designers. A few minutes walk away, on rue Boursault, is a similar French-style concept store, Les Passantes, but here you can also take a break from shopping – ordering tea and homemade cakes in its chic salon de thé.
• 96 rue Nollet, desordreurbain.fr
Ask anyone in the long queue that invariably forms outside this hole-in-the-wall joint and they will say it serves the best kebab in Paris. Don’t be fooled by the name, this isn’t a restaurant – there’s not even a bar to eat standing up at. But the Square des Batignolles is a two-minute walk away, perfect for a picnic. The secret here is the quality of the veal that is prepared each day by the owners, brothers Ozlan and Erlan, marinated for 24 hours, then served from 11am till 9.30pm. It’s worth putting up with the long queue for a memorable €6.50 doner kebab.
• 43 rue des Batignolles, no website
Rue Legendre is one of the busiest streets in the Batignolles, lined with fashion and vintage boutiques, casual diners and wine bars. One address not to be missed is this stylish furniture store, which resembles a designer apartment. It has made a name for itself by picking up eyecatching fittings and fixtures from the 1950s, 60s and 70s – chairs, sofas, mirrors, cupboards and lamps – restoring them and showcasing the finished items in-store. Next door is the minuscule Cinq Août, a recently opened secondhand shop specialising in vintage designer outfits, while down the street at number 78, Bloomy Star has a tempting selection of affordable handmade jewellery.
• 108 rue Legendre, chezmobilhome.com
Opened a few months ago, this smart, minimalist restaurant is set to be the new gourmet reference point in the Batignolles. Chef Thibaut Spiwack worked with celebrated chefs such as Alain Ducasse before opening his own restaurant, and it seems likely that the 2020 Michelin Guide will give him his first star. Although the evening is reserved for a gastronomic five-course tasting menu (€75) lunchtime is the perfect time to try Thibaut’s creative cuisine (three courses €29). Expect creative cocktails and a fine selection of organic and biodynamic wines, house-baked bread, seasonal locavore ingredients and dishes such as tuna tatami with strawberry and basil sorbet, or roast hake on a bed smoked potatoes.
• 80 Boulevard des Batignolles, anona.fr
Marché des Batignolles
The Batignolles covered market dates back to 1846, when this neighbourhood was a rural village. Although the present premises are an ugly 1970s concrete construction, there is a buzz about it the moment you walk amid the crowded stalls. Apart from the tempting fish, cheese and charcuterie on offer, there are affordable sit down lunches at several cosmopolitan canteens: Lebanese meze at Edgar; set menu Japanese at Onigiriya; and Senegalese maffé (peanut stew) and yassa (spicy marinated chicken or fish) at Madame Absa’s stall. Every Saturday morning there is also an outdoor organic farmers’ market on nearby Boulevard des Batignolles. It’s picturesque, but also more expensive.
• 96 Rue Lemercier, parisinfo.com
Les Caves Populaires
The long, winding rue des Dames is the place to discover Batignolles’ nightlife. It is packed with popular bistros and cafes, and wine and cocktail bars that serve until the early hours. Les Caves Populaires stands out with its distinctive red facade and 1920s mosaic. A favourite daytime hangout for locals, who play cards and talk politics at the traditional zinc bar, the place gets busier at night with partygoers stopping off on a bar-crawl. It’s a good place to try fashionable natural wines and artisan ales at affordable prices, and it also serves generous plates of charcuterie and cheese.
• 22 rue des Dames, on Facebook