Have you ever noticed these things on doorways around Paris?

Did you know there is a Paris curiosity that’s right under your nose?

Or, rather, right by your feet.

Yep, we’re talking about the chasse-roues, those iron, metal, and stone things – sometimes impressively ornate – that are installed on the bottom corners of the bigger doors across the city.

So, as you probably will too after reading this, I’ve spent days in Paris with my head down, absolutely fascinated by the intriguing little (and sometimes big) chasse-roues all over the city.

But first, what the heck is a chasse-roue (pronounced something like shass-roo)?

Well, it literally means “wheel chaser” and they were put in place to stop the wheels from damaging the walls as vehicles entered the buildings around Paris.

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These days they’re functionless, but nice to spot as you walk around the city. Wikipedia says they’re called “guard stones” in English, but I’m sticking with the much nicer sounding chasse-roues for now.

Apparently, the decorative iron ones show where the wealthier people lived, the stone ones suggest less wealthy residents.

Here are 38 that I spotted around Paris – mostly in the 4th and 9th arrondissements – with occasional appearances by Charlie the Wonder Dog, the mascot of The Earful Tower.

And just click the images if you wanna see them bigger.

 

 

 

The door knockers are pretty fascinating in Paris too, so if you’re done with chasse-roues, why not take a look at some of the cities best knobs and knockers here.

Oh, and follow us on Facebook for much, much, much more about Paris and France.

Lastly, if you’re a fan of the Earful Tower podcast and want to support it, here’s our crowdfunding page on Patreon, where there’s lots of bonus content waiting to be heard!

READ ALSO: 30 things about the Paris Metro that even the Parisians don’t know

7 thoughts on “Have you ever noticed these things on doorways around Paris?

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  1. Nice post! These things are still pretty handy, as they can be a good guide for getting (or stopping!) slightly over-wide cars down narrow entrance ways. There are some on the apartment building where we are, leading to an entrance tunnel paved with wooden cobblestones. We were told they were to lessen the noise from the horses hooves. Not sure if that’s true, but it’s a nice story!

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  2. Not in Paris, but in Sydney, wooden cobblestones (blocks) were used between the tram tracks and occasionally you will see them exposed around the Rocks, when the bitumen is broken. Roughly 6 inches long x 4 inches wide and 5 inches high, soaked in a tar or oil so that they are black in colour. I have a few of them. Geoff

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