Paris - Ile De France Section
La Petite Russie - La Butte aux Cailles
La Petite Russie is located on the northern side of La Petite Alsace in La Butte aux Cailles district.
The establishment of industries and factories such as the Manufacture des Gobelins, the Say sugar refinery and automobile factory Panhard attracted a population of workers and employees in the district.
In the 1900’s, transportation and housing were so expensive that workers struggled to find affordable housing close to their their work place.
Many workers associations, cooperatives and factories therefore started to built housing estates in order to accommodate their employees.
La Petite Russie is one of these housing estates built in the early 20th century.
It consists of sixteen small white terraced houses laid out in two rows of eight, back to back.
What make them so unusual is that they are built on the flat roof of an old taxi depot!
In 1912 the Société des taxis Citroën was in full expansion.
The owners were looking for a maintenance and storage hangar for their vehicles.
Once the depot built, the question was where to accommodate their drivers as these were indeed subject to late nights and early starts.
The cost and the scarcity of building land in this area in full development gave them the brilliant idea of erecting dwellings on the roof-terrace of their taxi depot!
So now you wonder why this residence was named La Petite Russie!
Cité Citroen renamed La Petite Russie
Many Russians fled their country during the Revolution of 1905 and came to France.
Most were from an educated background and knew how to drive a car, so were hired as drivers.
In 1917 they were joined by White Russians (the supporters of the Star).
Many officers of the Tsar army fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution were among them.
It was at this time that the Cité Citroën became known as La Petite Russie.
The estate is now a private residence for artists.
It's not really visible from the street (you indeed have to peek between two buildings to catch a glance of it!)
It can only be visited once a year during the open days organised by the local artists (often the 2nd weekend in June from 2pm to 8pm).
Directions: 13th district - No 22 Rue Barrault
Metro: Corvisart or Glacière on Line 6
Coordinates: Lat 48.828509 - Long 2.346857