A stroll through the village of Batignolles
Starting point: M° Place-de-Clichy (17th district)
Take rue Biot. At no. 5, you will find a theatre called "L'Européen", which used to be a "café-concert" (music-hall), where artists such as Fernandel, Mireille and Trenet would regularly perform.
No. 21 has a façade decorated with niches and statues.
Take rue Lemercier, one of the oldest streets in the village of Batignolles-Monceau, named after the physician who developped it. Its houses show different styles, like an older one, at no. 2, with a door decorated with sculpted griffins, or a late 19th century neo-Gothic building (1899), at the corner with rue Hélène.
Turn right onto rue Hélène. In spring, a lovely Japanese cherry-tree cheers up the small garden at no. 8.
Take avenue de Clichy on the left. At no. 47, cour Saint-Pierre represents an oasis of peace in this bustling, noisy neighbourhood. Artists have set up their workshops here. "Terre de Sienne" organizes drawing and painting courses.
A stone's throw away, you will find another quiet spot, square (public garden) Ernest-Chausson, where bamboos and hydrangea have been planted.
Continue along the avenue, then turn left onto rue La Condamine (the great mathematician and explorer) and left again onto rue Lemercier. At no. 28, a black gate delimits Cité Lemercier, a private alley lined with pretty little houses, each of them with its own garden. It is a charming place, pervaded with a quaint country atmosphere. Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel lived at no. 11 at the beginning of his career.
Go back to rue Lemercier. Different architectural styles can be found here, such as the Art Déco buildings at nos. 53-55 or the contemporary one at no. 62.
Turn left onto rue Legendre, then left again onto rue Nollet, another one of the neighbourhood's oldest streets. As a child, Paul Verlaine lived with his parents at no. 10. Have a look at no. 76, built in 1906 and decorated with vine-leaves. The poet Max Jacob kept his "salon" at no. 55 from 1928 to 1934. At no. 53, there is an Art Nouveau brick and tile façade, with delicate wrought iron balconies. No. 44, at the corner with rue La Condamine, has a fine balcony, too. Turn left onto rue Truffaut (not the film director!). No. 28 is a remnant of old Paris: a former hôtel particulier (private residence) stands at the far end of a paved courtyard.
You will find the same kind of building at no. 22. Its niches contain a statue and a bust. No. 20 has a pretty little garden.
Turn right onto rue des Dames (named after the nuns of the former Montmartre convent), until you get to rue des Batignolles. It has always been the high street of Batignolles, lined with all sorts of shops. At no. 34, a photographer's shop has a very original window, filled with old Chantelle tailor's dummies and vintage cameras, surrounded by black-and-white pictures.
Several rolling shutters have been nicely decorated by local artists.
Turn right onto rue Bridaine, where you will notice two fine façades. No. 11 has bow-windows and is covered with ceramic tiles; no. 7 was designed, in the Art Nouveau style, by Verdonnet in 1902.
Turn left onto rue Lamandé. At no. 15, an eagle marks the entrance to the former Polish School. It was founded in 1842 with the purpose of educating the children of the 1830 and 1863 insurgents. The school was moved here under the Second Empire and remained open until 1922. It is now a students' dorm.
Reach place du Docteur-Félix-Lobligeois by taking rue Legendre on the left.
The square has a pleasant suburban air and is dominated by the church of Sainte-Marie-des-Batignolles, built in neo-Greek style in 1828 and enlarged in 1851.
Behind the church lies one of the most charming of the city's 19th century public gardens, the square des Batignolles, designed by Alphand in 1862.
Turn left onto rue Cardinet and cross the bridge over the railway tracks. Turn right onto passage Cardinet, a quiet little street that leads to rue de Tocqueville, near the corner with rue de Lévis.
Rue de Lévis retraces the pathway which, in the 8th century, linked Argenteuil with Paris. Buildings at nos. 21, 23, 25 and 27 date back to the 18th century. Next to the Richard company, that supplies a great many Parisians cafés with coffee, the "salle de la Réunion" could be found, under the First Empire, at no. 8. Famous speakers, such as Blanqui, Gambetta or Louise Michel, gave fiery speeches there.
Their audience has been replaced with flats...
Turn left onto rue des Dames. Some older buildings remain, like the two vine-covered pavilions at no. 108, at the entrance of a paved courtyard, where a neo-classical building can be seen.
Do not miss, a few steps away, the entrance to passage Geoffroy-Didelot.
Created in 1843, this alley has retained the charm of a village street. Nos. 7 and 8 have very nice sign-boards. The artists of "Atelier du Passage" have painted the faces of some of the street's shop-keepers or residents. Another artistic shop-window belongs to "Villa", at no. 3, that displays its "azulejos" (colourful tiles characteristic of Seville and Portugal).
Once you get to boulevard des Batignolles, turn left. At nos. 82-84 push the door and enter a large courtyard. An alley leads to a small, tree-shaded classical building.
On the boulevard you will find one of the city's best known theatres, the "Hébertot", which was previously called "Théâtre des Arts".
On the left of the theatre take rue de Chéroy to rue des Dames. Turn left, then right onto rue de Saussure. At no.. 8, an old stable is now a garage. Nos. 7 and 9 are typical examples of the architectural style of 19th century Parisian suburbs. Notice the sober façades at nos. 20 and 22.
Turn right onto rue Legendre and then right again, after the railway tracks, onto rue Boursault. Laid out in 1844, it runs parallel to the railway tracks and leads directly to boulevard des Batignolles. Some of its façades will draw your attention, like those in the Art Nouveau style. The nicest one, however, is at no. 62, designed by René-Auguste Simonet in 1901. It is a mix of Art Déco and Art Nouveau.
The fire-station is nicely decorated with bricks and mosaics.
From boulevard des Batignolles you can enjoy a clear view of the Sacré-Coeur. The Chaptal School is on your right, in a large neo-Romanesque/neo-Renaissance brick building, with square towers at the four corners.
End of walk: M° Rome