Read the Signs: Rue des Degrés

Read the Signs: Rue des Degrés

Discover the shortest street in all of Paris!

Blink and you’ll miss it. The shortest street in Paris is barely a street, but rather a staircase located a few metres from the Porte Saint-Denis in the Sentier district. At just 5.75m long and 3.3m wide, a dozen or so steps connect the walkway in front of the former moat which ran along the city walls at the time of Charles V, now Rue de Cléry, to one of the former bastions of said walls, now the Butte Bonne-Nouvelle.

The origin of the name, dating back to the 1650s, refers to the gradation between the two levels, hence the ‘street of degrees’. The difference in the levels that required climbing the stairs is attributed to the mounds of refuse and debris accumulated by denizens just outside the wall. The mound in fact became almost the same height of the Paris city walls – quite an accomplishment. Besides being an Instagrammable curiosity, there are no homes on Rue des Degrés, not even windows. Yet the tiny street does have a claim to fame: a plaque reminds us that it was here that Baron de Bratz and his cohorts tried to help Louis XVI escape his fate on the morning of January 21, 1793.

From France Today Magazine

Lead photo credit : Rue des Degres, Paris © William Jexpire WikiCommons

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