The 17th is a large, outlying Parisian arrondissement, that, while never first on any visitor’s list, deserves a detour – if only to check out the quaint and hip Batignolles nabe. Parc Monceau, stradling the 8th and the 17th, is a breath of fresh air in a posh setting, a nice place to chill out if you enjoy watching preppy Parisians in their natural habitat. Further west, The Ternes quarter feels like a giant Haussmannien sleepy dorm: the only draw here are the well-manicured buildings and grandiose boulevards leading to the Arc de Triomphe, not a far hop due west to the Jardin d’Acclimatation (an adorable, French-style amusement park), and the Fondation Louis Vuitton.
The Batignolles quarter is the main reason to come all the way to the northwestern corner of Paris: it’s an authentic, quaint area chock-full of hip restaurants, cafés, and shops. Trendy bars dot the streets around Place de Clichy, while the area by Pont-Cardinet train station is part of a sustainable eco-district surrounding Martin Luther King Park: don’t miss HoBa, a cool snack bar with a view perched atop the middle of Martin Luther King park. You can spend a whole day here criss-crossing the streets and enjoying a mostly tourist-free experience.
If you prefer quiet elegance for strolling among the Parisian trees, choose the Parc Monceau area, south of Batignolles. Hipsters choose the Parc des Buttes Chaumont (way east in the 19th), and parents who don’t mind their children getting their Bonpoint and Jacadi highbrow white frocks scratched and muddy, choose Parc Monceau. This area straddles the posh 8th arrondissement, and it shows.
This deader-than-dead part of the 17th is best left unvisited: The 17th is, generally speaking, almost completely lacking in redeeming qualities (see Batignolles, above, for the exception), so this zone is truly the pits. If you do find yourself lost around here, head quickly northeast for some fresh air in Parc Monceau, or head southeast for some not-so-fresh car fumes at the uber-famous, congested Place de l’Étoile and its proud Arc de Triomphe. You might die run-over by a speeding, enraged Parisian on a moped, but at least you won’t die of boredom.