The 17th is made up of very different but equally charming districts such as Ternes, Batignolles, Épinettes, Martin-Luther-King and Champerret. An arrondissement in a constant state of flux, it is both working class and trendy, filled with shops and cultural venues, and family and community-focused. This particular blend makes it unique.
Built on a railway brownfield site, the eco-district Clichy-Batignolles is a vast and very innovative sustainable development project. The Martin Luther King park is its most outstanding feature. With a surface area of 10 hectares, this park conceived by the landscape architect Jacqueline Osty was designed around three themes – water, sport and the seasons. The park also has two ecology-focused community gardens. From here one can glimpse the new Paris courthouse, an architectural feat by the architect Renzo Piano. The environmental solutions employed in the building make it a perfect fit within this urban development project. And, thanks in particular to the extension of Line 14 of the metro, the new district is well served by public transport.
The Square des Batignolles is the second largest green space in the arrondissement after the Martin Luther King park. With its lush greenery, grotto, waterfall, river and miniature lake, it is a bucolic setting. The square has some of the tallest trees in Paris: 4 of its plane trees are more than 30 metres high.
In the Pereire-Malesherbes district, at the bottom of Boulevard Pereire (entry point in front of 34 Boulevard Pereire or in front of 116 Rue de Saussure), an iron staircase leads down to the Petite Ceinture green path, which has replaced the former railway line of the same name.
Another must-do walk in the area is the Promenade Pereire. No many Parisians know about this walk, which spans a little over a kilometre between Porte Maillot and Place du Maréchal Juin. The section between Rue Lebon and Rue Bayen is dedicated to roller skating and roller blading.
Tucked away between the Legendre-Levis and the Epinettes-Bessières districts, the Batignolles district is one of the most village-like areas of Paris. Popular with Parisians for its peace and quiet and trendy shops, it is liveliest around Place du Docteur Felix-Lobligeois. This little pedestrianized square with a church at one end is lined with bistros, restaurants and terraces. The local architecture is mainly composed of Haussmannian buildings. The area is dotted with street art, the biggest work being a mural by William Mackendree on the corner of Rue des Dames and Rue Biot. The Batignolles covered market, known for top-quality produce, is also covered with street art.
Further north, three other markets worth visiting give the capital a bucolic feel. Ternes is the oldest covered market in Paris, dating to 1852. In the Courcelles-Wagram district, the Poncelet market in the street of the same name is known to be one of the finest in the capital. And the bustling Berthier market at Porte de Champerret is very popular with local residents.
The Epinettes district provides welcome relief from the teeming streets around La Fourche-Guy Moquet. Formerly a working-class area, it has retained the pretty passages, courtyards and islands of greenery that give it the feel of a small village. The district’s main attraction is the Cité des Fleurs, an unusual location where the air is filled with the scent of flowers. Created in 1847, this bucolic street is only a few metres from the Brochant metro station. Besides its beautiful gardens, it boasts some magnificent 19th-century façades.
The 17th has a particularly varied cultural offer. Its many cinemas, museums, cultural centres and show venues reflect the multi-faceted nature of the arrondissement.
At the Cinémathèque Robert Lynen, the oldest in France (1926), a film is considered an educational tool, an entertaining show and a cultural artefact. The arthouse Cinéma des Cinéastes is an iconic cultural venue and forum. The Club de l’Etoile near Place de l’Etoile is another institution. Formerly an Italian-style theatre, it now organizes private screenings, a film club, films in concert and premieres.
A few metres from the outer boulevards, the Centre européen du Judaïsme (European centre for Judaism) is a religious, cultural and institutional space, with a synagogue, exhibition areas and the offices of the Consitoire, which is responsible for Jewish religious life in France. It provides an opportunity to learn about the history, festivities and culture of the Jewish community in France.
In the Malesherbes district, the Musée national Jean-Jacques Henner displays most of the works of the artist, who won the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome award for painting in 1858. A short distance from the museum, the three Dumas statues on Place du Général Catroux pay tribute to three generations of this illustrious family – Alexandre Dumas, Alexandre Dumas, fils and the General Dumas.
In the Ternes district, the café-théâtre Le Grenier has hosted comedy dinner shows for the past four decades. The Palais des Congrès de Paris and the Ateliers Berthier, the second theatre of the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, are two of the most prestigious show venues in the capital.