Quiet village charm meets culture & luxury
The 16th arrondissement of Paris is best known to tourists for its grandiose landmarks and museums, from the Place de la Trocadero to the Palais Chaillot– both offering dramatic perspectives of the Eiffel Tower. But it also boasts corners of quiet, residential areas that feel worlds away from the big-ticket tourist attractions and big-city bustle. The Passy neighborhood is one such place in western Paris.
If it weren’t just blocks away from the aforementioned sights and all their elegant pomp, you might think you’d been transplanted to a semi-sleepy, wealthy French village somewhere.
With its quiet residential lanes lined with handsome (and often lavish) buildings, small museums and collections, pedestrian market streets teeming with produce stands, bakeries and cheese markets, leafy squares and parks, Passy has a quiet, understated charm that’s all its own. It’s well worth a look as part of an exploration of the wider 16th district. Read more to learn what to see and do in the area, including where to shop, eat, and wander.
Orientation & Transport
The Passy neighborhood is situated on the right bank of the Seine, south and southwest from the Place de la Trocadero and east of the large wood known as the Bois de Boulogne.
Main streets: These include Rue de Passy, Rue de l’Annonciation, Rue Raynouard, Rue Duban, Avenue Paul Doumer, and Chaussée de la Muette (heading toward the Bois de Boulogne). Click on the custom map above to explore the area.
Getting There: The Passy district can be reached from the Metro stations Passy, La Muette, or Ranelagh (lines 6 or 9).
A Bit of Neighborhood History
Once an independent village on the outskirts of Paris, Passy has been prized since the mid-seventeenth century for its hot springs. Their discovery led to the development of spas in the area and drew wealthy and upper-class residents, notably from elsewhere in France and England, who often took up winter homes in the area.
In 1860, the village was annexed and incorporated into Paris, alongside many other areas. But the area’s small-town roots and independent atmosphere can still be intuited on a walk around its quiet residential lanes and market streets.
Several notable people have lived in Passy over the centuries. The novelist Honoré de Balzac had his home here for a period (see more on the museum below), as did Benjamin Franklin, who resided in the area during the nine years of the American Revolutionary War.
The painters Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, and Albert Gleize were also residents, and a prominent avant-garde salon called Les Artistes de Passy met in the area during the early 20th century.
What to See in Passy: Museums & Other Key Attractions
Passy is, as mentioned above, a fairly laid-back and tranquil area that’s largely residential. Yet it boasts a number of interesting museums and other sights, including the following museums and key landmarks. Try to make some time to see a few of these on a stroll through the neighborhood– but also reserve some time to wander around a bit aimlessly, discovering quiet little nooks amid the attractions below.
Maison de Balzac
This charming free museum is dedicated to the life and work of French novelist Honoré de Balzac, who lived in the house between 1840 and 1847. It was within its humble but picturesque walls that the writer authored works such as La Comédie Humaine (The Human Comedy), as well as several other novels.
Artefacts such as the author’s desk and chair (pictured above) as well as letters, manuscripts, artworks and other memorabilia, make up the intriguing collection.
More Info: See this page
Musée du Vin
This museum is entirely dedicated to the history of wine and winemaking, with a special focus on French traditions. Winemaking tools, historical timelines, and onsite tastings are among the draws at this museum, located at the bottom of a quiet street in Passy.
More Info: See our full guide and review here
Musée Marmottan Monet
One of the world’s largest and most important collections of paintings from impressionist master Claude Monet, the Musée Marmottan Monet is housed in a handsome mansion at the edge of the Bois de Boulogne. It’s one of the best small museums in the capital, though it’s frequently overlooked by tourists.
In addition to masterpieces (both well and little-known) from Monet, the collection also includes works from painters including Berthe Morisot, Gustave Caillebotte, Alfred Sisley and many others.
More Info: See our full guide and review here
The Passy Cemetery is a quiet, peaceful haven at the edge of the district; while it’s much smaller than the more famous Père-Lachaise and Montparnasse cemeteries, it’s worth a stroll, especially on a sunny day. The cemetery is the final resting place of famous figures including composer Claude Débussy and American writer Natalie Clifford Barney.
Getting There: 2 Rue du Commandant Schloesing, 75016 (16th arrondissement); Metro Passy
Jardin du Ranelagh
Built in 1860 during a period of mass city renovation led by the Baron Haussmann, this leafy park and garden is a haven of greenery at the edge of Passy. Elegant lanes bordered by flowers, numerous species of trees and plants, ornate statues and playgrounds for children make this a spot ideal for the whole family. It’s just a couple of minutes on foot from the Musée Marmottan Monet (mentioned above).
Getting There: 1 Av. Prudhon, 75016 (Metro La Muette)
Where to Shop & Wander in Passy
While Passy lacks the glitz and glamour of shopping areas elsewhere in western Paris, it offers ideal stomping grounds for food lovers in particular, and also offers a good number of shops and boutiques dedicated to fashion, homeware and accessories.
Marché Couvert de Passy (Covered Market)
This neighborhood covered market is open rain or shine (in my case, I retreated inside during a downpour) and offers a charming glimpse of everyday life in Passy. Vendors sell everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to fish and meat, bread and pastries. Take a stroll and stock up on a couple of goodies for a snack or a casual lunch.
Getting there: Place de Passy, 75016 Paris (Metro La Muette)
La Grande Epicerie de Paris
This gourmet supermarket is a veritable temple to fine foods and wines, with floor upon floor of beautifully presented, tempting looking products. The pastry counter is lined with artful and scrumptious French patisseries, while the bread section boasts a dizzying selection of breads, from baguettes to sourdough to focaccia.
Other aisles glint with neat heaps of fresh and exotic fruit, while upstairs you’ll find a mouthwatering selection of sauces, biscuits, sweets and other grocery items ideal for gifts or for bringing home. Downstairs, wine and cheese sections complete the gastronomic paradise.
Getting there: 80 Rue de Passy, 75016 (Metro La Muette)
Rue de Passy & Passy Plaza
For clothing, accessories or home items in the area, a stroll down Rue de Passy is in order. Passy Plaza (53 Rue de Passy) is a shopping center that harbors a variety of boutiques, including Uniqlo, L’Occitane en Provence, Nocibé perfumery, and Zara Home.
Meanwhile, boutiques on the street include designer and upscale standalones from Agnès B (7 Rue de Passy) and Tara Jarmon (#51), as well as more mid-range options such as Benetton (#71) and COS (#60-62).
Where to Eat & Drink in Passy
As you’ll probably have already gleaned, Passy is an excellent destination for food lovers. From bakeries to mid-range brasseries, concept restaurants and high-end tables, there’s plenty of choice for all palates and preferences.
Rue de l’Annonciation
This mostly-pedestrian market street is one of the best places to both soak in some local color and find something delicious to eat. Lined with casual brasseries ideal for lunch, restaurants, produce stands and gourmet shops (from cheeses to specialty bakeries), Rue de l’Annonciation lies at the vibrant heart of neighborhood life in Passy.
Some places to beeline to on Rue de l’Annonciation include Huitres et Saumons de Passy (#17), a seafood restaurant serving oysters, fresh fish and seafood platters and boasting a pleasant terrace. Aux Pains de Manon (#31, pictured above) is bakery and casual restaurant offering superb breads, pastries and light meals, while Aux Merveilleux de Fred (#29) is specialized in light, airy pastries, or merveilleux, offered in several delicious flavors and formats.
This Michelin-guide restaurant is a gastronomic destination in the area, with chefs offering a menu that creatively re-invents French traditional dishes– to beautiful effect. Reservations are recommended.
Getting there: 31 Rue Vital, 75016 (Metro La Muette)
Le Bistro Mavromattis
This Greek and Mediterranean-style bistro is the more casual sister table to Mavromattis, a one-Michelin starred restaurant in the Latin Quarter. The food is reputed to be delicious, authentic and fresh, and the bright dining room is always pleasant. Reservations are recommended. There’s a gourmet grocer and wine cellar downstairs.
Getting there: 70 Ave. Paul Doumer, 75016 (Metro La Muette)
Housed in a building called La Gare that once served as a local train station, Andia is an ideal spot for weekend brunch or a long lunch on a rainy, blustery day when you need some warmth. Inside the enormous, glass-roofed dining room abounding with plants and decorated with warm paper lanterns, try delicious (albeit a bit pricey) Chiléan and Asian-fusion dishes.
Ceviche, deliciously seasoned and smoked salmon skewers accompanied with seasonal vegetables, chips and guacamole, and a variety of creative cocktails are all on the menu. The vibe is relaxed and friendly, and you can sit for as long as you like.
Getting there: 19 Chaussée de la Muette, 75016 (Metro La Muette)
For more on where to eat in the 16th, see this page at Paris by Mouth.