In Paris’ 17th Arrondissement, a neighborhood called Batignolles, there is a small plaza, Place De Levis, that knocked me out.
It’s in a bourgeois neighborhood that’s well off the tourist path. It’s small; I’m guessing about 200’ by 500’, ringed by a hodgepodge of stores and dotted with street furniture. Nothing fancy at all, really modest.
But I think it’s the perfect small urban open space.
The surrounding buildings frame it well, even curving at the corner.
It’s got a fountain, benches, a news kiosk, handsome Parisian street lights, and boxes of trees. There’s a bike rack.
An allée of trees frames a zone for dedicated pedestrians. The pavement is a little different there.
Around the corner is a car-free street of food markets, bakeries, produce, fish, cheese, all the stuff a Parisian needs.
Benches face two directions.They can double as play equipment.
At one end it’s anchored by a café and a fruit and vegetable stall.
There are fliers.
Plus there’s a newsstand and the poster kiosk, so there are plenty of ways to get the news.
There are a lot of reasons to be there: a pharmacy, a daycare center, a bank with an outside ATM, a driving school, a café, a small storefront for electrolysis (“Body Minute”), a real estate office. I saw two motorcyclists kissing while a few feet away a group of school kids admired a pet rabbit.
There’s a stand where this woman sells hats and socks.
I bought a really nice wool cap for 20 euros (about $24).
Of course there’s street art…
including the PacMan variety found all over Paris.
On weekends dads bring their kids to practice soccer.
That’s the one thing that’s prohibited: