Le Petit Fer à Cheval: Just good

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Reviewed on 11/11/2010 | 2 Reviews

The long and winding rue Vieille du Temple makes a great walk: it cuts through a good part of the currently oh-so-fashionable Marais linking bustling Rue de Bretagne to the North and splendid rue de Rivoli to the south. In between it really is a Paris shopper’s heaven – and much more.

Small boutiques in scenic streets are lined up like a string of pearls – and what is best: you will neither starve nor die of thirst here because there’s lovely cafés and good bistros all around.

The little horseshoe

Once you’ve reached the street numbers above 20 you’ll be spoilt for choice. Yes, there is even a Columbus coffee shop here; but don’t you dare  walk in there while in Paris! Look around you: at 28, there’s „Les philosophes“, at 34, you’ll find L’étoile manquante and at no. 30, finally, there’s Le Petit Fer à Cheval (these three cafés cooperate and share a website.)

This café-bistro (the name means „little horseshoe“) is an old favourite. It’s small, it’s noisy, it used to be all smoke, and in the back of the bar you can have lunch and dinner throughout the day from 13.00 to 1 o’clock in the morning. The café opens at 9 and closes late at night. It’s a great place.

The horseshoe-shaped bar should be declared a cultural world heritage by Unesco, bringing the clients closely together and in direct interaction with the waiters. As you go round it (keeping to the left), you’ll discover a hidden dining area where the tables are so close that you’ll hear every breath your neighbour takes – and don’t be surprised if you have his elbow in your soup…

Paris like in films or dreams

So why would you go there? Because this is Paris like in films or dreams. Le Petit Fer à Cheval mirrors the city of today and the one from yesterday. It was opened back in 1903, when they traded Brazilian coffee and cocoa here. Later it became the first establissement in Paris to offer its clients restrooms entirely boarded with inox steel (they’re still in use).

Obviously, you don’t come here for the food. It’s neither terrible nor brilliant but it isn’t expensive either (the plat du jour is at 11 Euros, 15 US$). The salads can be ok and you can never go completely wrong with steak-frites as long as you order your meat „saignant“ which means „rare“. Just enjoy the scene while chewing. In fact, you won’t get much closer to Paris than here.

Le Petit Fer à Cheval
30, Rue Vieille du Temple
75004 Paris
+33(0)1 42 72 47 47
Open every day from 9h to 2h (a.m.), kitchen works from 13h to 1h15.
Métro: Hôtel de Ville  , Saint Paul  or  Pont Marie  
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Le Petit Fer à Cheval: Just good, 4.6 out of 5 based on 5 ratings

User reviews

  1. Muriel Berthelot 11 November 2010 Reply

    This part of Rue Vieille du Temple must be the world record of trendy bars and restaurant density

  2. Lupe 25 September 2012 Reply

    I rellay loved the Rodin Museum in Paris. It’s situated in a garden and an old estate home and so lovely to walk around in on a beautiful day. Versailles was another highlight for me. The little brasseries, bars, and lounges in the Bastille District are cool too. Ooh and you should walk down the Avenue Montaigne; so many haute couture names and major designers on this quiet tree-lined street just off the Champs Elysees, you’ll think you’ve died and heaven is a Vogue editorial spread come to life.

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