Tucked behind Place de Clichy, the Square des Batignolles is a peaceful repose for parents and children alike. Befitting of its construction as a jardin à l’anglaise, an English garden, the architecture and landscaping is winding and whimsical. One of the 24 parcs created by Jean Charles Alphand during the second empire of Napoleon III, the square hosts a magnificent display of foliage including a giant sequoia. Willow, ash, and hazelnut trees shade the winding stream and its duckling inhabitants. This enclosed garden is an excellent space in which little ones are easily minded while older siblings play ping.
The Square is a green space for all. Adults find a place to relax, browse the occasional brocante and watch the villeards play a game of pétanque. For my fellow students, this is a personal favorite place for a jog, stretch, and snack from the stand.
Activities for kids:
For the animal lover: The Square is home to an array of fairy-tale fowl. A stale baguette proves the ticket to an afternoon outdoors.
For your budding naturalist: Create mini-lessons: bring a journal, crayons, and Ziploc bags for leaf, flower, or feather “specimens” encouraging your child to draw and gather what he sees. And you can practice French by reading about the Square’s wildlife on the plaque by the entrance.
For the train enthusiast, always on-the-go: the Square borders the RER train tracks leaving Paris going west, providing a safe distance by which to watch the locomotives rumble. Pick up or print out a schedule for the conductor in-training, bring a watch that the child can hold. Check to see if the trains are on time and if so how long it takes the train to reach your spot.
All children will love the swings, carousel and change of scenery from the Luxembourg Gardens or Tuileries. Designed with winding paths beside the ponds and streams, the Square des Batignolles is the hidden fantasy land of the 17th.
Address: Access from Place Charles Fillion or Rue Cardinet