I actually first heard about Cour des Petites Écuries from a guy I went on a single date with and literally never saw again. Nevertheless, the Passage des Petites Écuries and Cour des Peties Écuries are unique hidden gems in a less frequented touristic area of Paris. Buzzing and vibrant, the 10th arrondissement is more of a residential area of the city and, as well as being home to the likes of Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, highlights of the Parisian district include Canal Saint Martin and the Triumphal arch of Porte Saint-Denis.
A history of Cour des Petites Écuries
The name of the court is quite literally translated as ‘the courtyard of the little stables’ and heralds back to a time when Paris ran on horsepower. The name derives from the fact that the secret Paris passage lies close to the Rue des Petites Écuries, which in turn was once situated close to the royal French stables.
Close to the metro stations of Château d’Eau and Strasbourg Saint-Denis (both metro stops of which can be found along line 4), the court can be accessed through two ever-open doorways: 61 bis, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, and 18, rue d’Enghien. Today, Cour des Petites Écuries is also linked with Passage des Petites Écuries, a narrow lane filled with graffiti and little of architectural interest.
The courtyard was constructed in 1769 and horses were kept there. Following the industrialisation of Paris, the street was transformed into a delightful residential area with four-storey buildings and a wide selection of pubs, bars, and restaurants.
How to visit Cour des Petites Écuries
Today, thanks to the fact that the entrances are tucked away on bustling and busy streets (the doors are quite hidden, unless you know where to look. In actual fact, the first time I tried to visit with a friend, we actually ended up passing the doorway by accident before eventually locating it!), the Cour des Petites Écuries is a truly ‘local spot’ with few tourists or international visitors.
Every Friday and Saturday night, the bars truly come to life, with people spilling onto the streets and lively crowds chatting among friends and smoking (after all, it is Paris!) Several of the bars are particularly affordable; we personally visited Bar O P’tit Paris where a generous glass of wine cost €4.
Another popular bar among those who are trying to go out on a budget is Tribal Café. At both of these establishments, Happy Hour is extended well beyond the usual 7 PM. With this being said, due to the residential nature of the street, the outside terraces are closed at 22:45, with the only seating available after this time within the bars themselves.