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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

la Cour Saint-Pierre de Batignolles

Updated: Feb 16, 2020


J’ai lu récemment de Batignolles, une quartier dans le 17ème arrondissement qui a devenu populaire avec les jeunes créateurs et artistes. Cette article a dit que Batignolles était un quartier ouvrier qui deviens « branché » au cause des artistes jeunes qui cherche les ateliers moins cher de Montmartre, par exemple. Donc hier j’y suis allé pour découvrir Batignolles. Franchement, pour moi, ce n’était ni intéressant ni branché. Il y a un jolie petit jardin, Place Batignolles, et un marché intérieur et bien sûr des boutiques, restos et bars, mais pas quelque chose de spécial. J’étais déçue, quand j’ai vu une porte de fer fergé et les mots « Cour Saint-Pierre. » C’est une impasse pavée parsemée de verdure et petites bâtiments bas. Enfin, quelque chose qui m'a intéressé!

I recently read about Batignolles, a neighborhood in the 17th arrondissement that is popular with young artists and creative types. This article said that Batignolles was traditionally a working class and ethnically diverse neighborhood that has become trendy because of young artists moving there for inexpensive studio space, at least when compared with neighboring Montmartre. So yesterday, after meeting a friend for lunch, I crossed the river to the 17th to discover Batignolles. Frequently when I set out to discover a new neighborhood, I find that I’ve actually been there before, but didn’t know what it was at the time. In fact, this is the essence of “flâneusing,” my made-up word for my exploratory wanderings around Paris. It derives from the noun “flaneur,” traditionally a male stroller or saunterer, but more recently the feminine “flâneuse” has become acceptable to use. See Lauren Elkin’s Flâneuse: Women Walk the City, Farrar, Straus et Giroux, 2016. I therefore think of myself as a flâneuse who much enjoys flâneusing. But I digress. Back to Batignolles.

I had not been there before and I confess, I was honestly underwhelmed. There is a pretty little park, Place Batignolles, and a tired-looking indoor market. And yes there are boutiques, bars and restaurants, but nothing seemed particularly special. I was disappointed. That is, until, just as I was strolling up the busy Avenue de Clichy, lined with Franprix, Office Depot, Tati and all manner of outlet and déstockage stores , I saw a wrought-iron gate with the words “Cour Saint Pierre” at the top and stopped….at last, my interest was piqued. I saw a narrow, cobblestone street lined with small low buildings and an abundance of potted plants and flowers.

La Cour Saint-Pierre est située dans l’ancien quartier de Epinettes, un hameau autrefois rattaché au village des Batignolles. A l’origine cité d’artisans, il est dit qu’autrefois les chevaux du champ de course de l’Hippodrome de Montmartre y paradaient avant de courir. La cour a conservé la physionomie d’une cité artisanale du XIXe. Dans la seconde moitié du XXe siècle, la cour attire les artistes peintres, musiciens, écrivains et photographes. En 1990, la Cour est menacée de démolition, mais les habitants font résistance and parviennent à la sauver. Aujourd’hui l’association Cour Saint-Pierre veille sur ce petit coin de paradis en plain Paris. C’est vraiment comme un petit village.

Cour (courtyard) Saint-Pierre is located in the former neighborhood of Epinettes, a village that encompassed the village of Batignolles. Originally home to craftsmen, it is said that the racehorses of the Montmartre Hippodrome paraded in the courtyard before racing. The courtyard still looks like a 19th century artisan neighborhood. And in the second half of the 20th century, it's charm and character attracted artists of all sorts, painters, musicians, writers and photographers, to set up their workshops there. In 1990, the courtyard was threatened with demolition, but the inhabitants resisted and organized to save it. Today the Association of Cour Saint-Pierre watches over this little corner of paradise in the middle of Paris. It is truly like a small village.

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