Friday Fun Facts – Parisian Street Names

Did you know?  Parisian street names were used to advertise businesses back in the middle ages…

Street names in Paris

Street name use began in Paris in the mid 14th century.  At first written on canvas and hung off buildings, then followed much later in 1761 by the now famous blue enamel plates. Before the numbering system came along, the only way to locate a home or business was by its street name.

The “Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche” (“Street of the Cat that Fishes”) is the narrowest street in Paris (1,80 meters – about 6 feet), and one of the oldest.  Ingenious store owners used creative names as a great way to advertise and help customers remember them their business.  The “Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche” refers to a business opened in 1540 of that same name.  It was taken from the proverb “Aller voir pêcher les chats” (To go see cats fishing), meaning to let oneself be easily persuaded.

Happy Travels,
-Girl Gone Gallic

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