|These pigeons will be your guides to the delights of Paris's 17th Arrondissement.|
I would advise you to begin around Avenue de Clichy, perhaps with the Cité des Fleurs. This area of Paris isn't exceptional architecturally, but it is quite different from other parts of Paris. There are more townhouses and less of the typical seven storey buildings, because Haussmann didn't really bother with the 17th. When this area became part of Paris, areas of land were sold to developers who had fairly free reign with what they built on them. The Cité des Fleurs is best known for the fact that the inhabitants have gardens. These are mostly hidden behind high fences, but the street nonetheless has a nice vibe to it.
The area just south, Les Batignolles, tends to pop up in discussions of 'Paris's remaining villages'. It does feel a little like a village, self-contained and easy on pedestrians, but it also feels a lot like Melbourne, where I grew up. I tend to think of Les Batignolles as a miniature Parisian Melbourne, complete with stylish cafes where one can spend a lot of money on organic brunches. I would advise beginning with lemonade and caviar d'aubergine at the Lebanese food stand in the market before strolling through the little park where elderly men play boules beside the railway line (and if you think this sounds more like France than Australia, you haven't played lawn bowls in Windsor) and then across to the southern half of the arrondissement.
Right at the edge of Paris is Edouard François’s ‘Flower Tower’, a social housing project completed in 2004. The tower aims to extend the garden it sits beside vertically, and the plants on the balconies both allow residents aspects of a garden in a small space and create a screen for privacy. I like it, but it's always credited as the building which made François an important figure in the green architecture movement and, well, putting a lot of pot plants on balconies doesn't seem that revolutionary? I might be missing something, though... perhaps that the best ideas don't have to be mind-numbingly complex as long as they're beautiful.