Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
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.
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…
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