The 17th arrondissement (district) of Paris is a quiet, residential area in the northwestern corner of the city that has been largely overlooked by tourists-- but is increasingly popular with locals. As young families and artists have been priced out of more centrally located neighborhoods, the quiet, leafy 17th is attracting a new generation to the area, resulting in restaurant and bar openings, a new nightlife scene, and pleasant areas for walks and picnics.
It's not all sleepy, though: taken as a whole, this is a district of contrasts. The "gate" to the 17th is the formerly seedy Place de Clichy, a metropolitan eighteenth-entry square that's bustling and noisy, in contrast to the quiet "Batignolles" neighborhood to the northwest, full of quiet squares, markets and sleepy residential streets.
Getting There & Getting Around:
If you don't object to a short walk, get off at Metro Place de Clichy or Blanche (Line 2) and walk to Boulevard des Batignolles, before exploring the surrounding streets to get a full sense of the area.
Main Attractions in the Area:
- Place de Clichy: In close reach of Pigalle and the famed Moulin Rouge, this enormous Haussmannian square still retains something of the grandeur of 19th-century Paris to it. While a large cinema, numerous chain restaurants and other 21st-century fixtures have taken away somewhat from its old-world charm, Clichy still gives visitors a distinctive sense of the excitement, and at times seedy energy, that animated the area during the "Belle Epoque"-- the decades around the turn of the 20th century.
- The Batignolles neighborhood: Former stomping grounds of nineteenth-century artists and writers including Emile Zola and Edouard Manet, this leafy neighborhood fell out of favor in the 20th century, but is enjoying an noticeable revival at the moment. Trendy new restaurants, shops, bars and cultural centers are opening at a steady pace, including along major streets such as Rue Legendre, Boulevard des Batignolles and Rue des Dames. Hip young Parisians, bored with the overcrowded, overpriced Marais and Bastille and finding arty hubs like Belleville a mite too grimy at times, are finding the laid-back atmosphere and quiet charm of the 17th to be a new draw card. The neighborhood is also home to lovely parks and squares, including the eponymous Square des Batignolles. On the weekends, a local organic food market on nearby Boulevard des Batignolles makes the area feel like the village it was until very recently, when it was annexed into Paris.
- Parc Monceau: Heading further west and closer to the area around the Champs-Elysées, this stunning park is one of Paris' prettiest, and most regal. Steeped in history, the Romantic-style park was established by Philippe d'Orleans, cousin of Louis XVI. It features an informal, sprawling layout whose gardens are nevertheless of notable beauty, particularly in the spring. Statues of famous French figures including the writers Chateaubriand and Guy de Maupassant and the musician Frederic Chopin grace the gardens (Metro: Courcelles; the park's main entrance is on Boulevard de Courcelles).
Bars, Restaurants & Nightlife in the 17th
The nightlife scene is evolving at a rapid pace in the area, so please do note that while details were correct at the time this article was published/updated, they may change at any time.
- For before-dinner drinks or an aperitif, places we like in the 17th include The Popular Caves (22 rue des Dames; great for well-mixed cocktails and a good selection of wines), and right next door, Le Comptoir des Batignolles (20 rue des Dames)-- offering a balanced menu of on-tap beers, good wines and solid cocktails.
- For relaxed bistrot-style fare and ambiance, try Gaston (11 Rue Brochant, metro Brochant). Serving traditional brasserie dishes such as meat terrines, pork filet mignon, and whole roasted chicken with roasted vegetables, the desserts here are reputed to be especially delicious, and the wine list is very respectable.
- For a more avant-garde, gastronomic meal in the 17th, visit Coretta, an restaurant lauded by local foodies and regularly cited as a model of Paris' new French gastronomic scene. Focusing on fresh local ingredients, and creative flavors, the dishes here are simple but innovative with an unusual focus on vegetables, and the service is remarkably friendly. (151 bis rue Cardinet, Metro: Brochant)