Palais Bourbon

Arrondissement 7

National Assembly, 8 Place du Palais Bourbon

The existing Bourbon Palace that has been used as the Chamber of Deputies or National Assembly ever since 1815 was originally built between 1722 and 1728. It was then enlarged considerably between 1771 and 1789 under the neo-classical architect Marie-Joseph Peyre (who also designed the Odeon Theatre) before being nationalised in 1792 after its then princely owner had fled France.

Under the Directory the Council of Five Hundred began to meet in the Palais Bourbon. from January 21 1798. By then it had been modified to include a hemicycle theatre. Napoleon’s powerless Corps Legislatif also met there in a building that was now adorned by a new corinthian facade facing the Seine and on the opposite bank at the end of the Rue Royale, Napoleon’s Temple to the Glory of the Great Army (now the Church of the Madeleine).

At what is now the back, or south-facing side of the Palais Bourbon is the Square (Place du Palais Bourbon). In 1883 and 1884 Félix Fénéon published poetry by Paul Verlaine and the Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud from No. 8 in the Libre revue.

Many of those in LeftinParis were deputies in the National Assembly at one point or other in their lives: Jean Zay, Leon Blum, Ledru-Rollin,


Rue de Bourgogne

Arrondissement 7

Numbers: 4

Virtually the entire revolutionary left of the 1840s used to visit No. 4. This was where the Slav exiles lived and where Bakunin used to meet Proudhon, Leroux and many others. Bakunin was finally expelled from France in 1847.

After receiving threats to his life, in 1937 Jean Zay moved to the road that was so close to the heavily guarded Chamber of Deputies.


Rue de Verneuil

Arrondissement 7

Numbers: 46

The road was named after the Duke Henri de Bourbon-Verneuil, a son of Henry IV who was Abbott of the nearby St Germain-des-Pres abbey in 1640 when the road was first opened.

Jean Zay lived in a flat at No. 46 from 1934. His eldest daughter was born there in 1936, the year he became Minister of Education and Culture in the Blum Popular Front government.

There is now a rare plaque to a leftist on the wall outside the flat.

After facing increasing threats from La Cagoule, the undergorund fascist organisation, the Zay family moved to the Rue de Bourgogne.


Rue de Bourgogne

Arrondissement 7

Numbers: 4, 7/8, 28

Called after a grandson of Louis XIV, the Duke of Bourgogne (1682-1712), the road was opened in 1707. Running south from today’s National Assembly, the Palais Bourbon, on January 18 1798 it was renamed the Rue du Conseil des Cinq-Cents after the Council of Five Hundred had begun to meet in the Palais Bourbon.

On February 6 1934 there was a police cordon stretching across the road at Nos 7 and 8 to the rue St Dominique protecting the National Assembly from the extreme right demonstrators.

The music teacher and composer Adolphe Reichel (1816-1896) lived at No. 4 in the mid-1840s when Bakunin stayed with him. Bakunin was expelled from France in 1847, but Proudhon and Pierre Leroux visited him there often.

During the Occupation a Resistance group based at No. 28 (pictured) organised escape routes to Spain both for allied soldiers and later for the roughly 200,000 men over 20 avoiding the Obligatory Work Duty (Service du travail obligatoire) introduced by the Laval government on February 16 1943.

Plus d’informations


Le Champ-de-Mars

Arrondissement: 7

The Champ de Mars lies between Marshal Foch in front of the École Militaire (since 1939) and the Eiffel Tower erected in 1889.

Before the Military School (École Militaire) was built (1752 to 1760) the boggy area that today lies South of the Eiffel Tower was used for growing vegetables. In 1765 it was decided to use this mainly flat ground to practise manoeuvres, and to name it the ‘God of War Field’ (Champ-de-Mars).

During the French Revolution the area was renamed ‘The meeting field” (Champ de la Réunion). It was surrounded by a ditch and given an ornate entrance and used for national celebrations. The first, on September 20 1790, was to commemorate those killed by the mutineers and those who died in putting down a mutiny that had taken place at Nancy between August 5 and August 31 1790.

The mutineers had imprisoned their officers when they held back some of their wages for alleged expenses they had incurred for laundry and shoes. When they surrendered, 22 were hung, 41 were condemned to 30 years as galley slaves and 72 put in prison. One was the last to be tortured to death in France using a wheel.

The biggest event in the Champ de Mars took place on July 14 1790.

The 1790 etching shows some of the nearly half a million people who heard La Fayette read the Constitution and Louis XVI swear to uphold it, exactly one year after the storming of the Bastille. A huge national alter was built In the middle of the parade ground where the oath was sworn..

Just over a year later, after Louis XVI’s abortive escape bid, it was where people were asked to come to sign the petition calling for the King’s abdication. And so on July 17 1791 it where the Mayor of Paris, Bailly, and La Fayette carried out the orders of the constitutional monarchists who controlled the Constituent Assembly. These were to disperse the crowd. The soldiers opened fire and then the cavalry dispersed everyone else.

On December 30 1793 a celebration of the retaking of Toulon from the English and the Spanish was held there, organised by the regicide painter Jacques-Louis David.

He organised an even bigger event in the Champ de Mars on June 8 1794, the Festival of the Supreme Being. This was Robespierre’s pet dream of replacing Christianity with a more egalitarian and rational religion.

Robespierre’s friend and supporter, the painter David, organised the anti-atheist Festival of the Supreme Being to inaugurate a new state religion. This festival took place just two months before Robespierre was himself guillotined. On the alter stood the tree of liberty, and in the foreground is the plaster statue of LIberty that was usually in the centre of the Place de la Revolution (Concorde).

From September 18 to September 22 1798 the Directorate organised the first exhibition of the products of French industry at the Champ de Mars. This was the precursor of the 19th and 20th century universal exhibitions that took place in 1867, 1878, 1889 (when Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley spent 6 weeks there), 1900 and 1937.

One of the jobs given to those enrolled in the 1848 National Workshops was to create flatten the terraces and plant trees on the Champ de Mars.

A March 1848 engraving of the work being done at the Champs de Mars show several hundred men working, resting and discussing how the job should be done, with red flags (not tricolours) behind them

On April 16 1848 a march of National Workshop workers on the Town Hall assembled there to demand a second postponement of the national elections after their success on March 17. This time they also sought a change of the provisional government to put Louis Blanc in charge. They were dispersed by the national guard on the orders of Ledru-Rollin.

The area was also used during the ten days from Louis-Napoléon’s December 2 1851 Coup d’État to execute prisoners. On just the one night of December 4 336 were shot without trial.

On May 21 1871 the National Guardsmen defending the canons parked in the Champs de Mars fought hard against superior numbers of Versaillais troops. Finally overrun, many (perhaps up to 1,500) captured defenders of the Commune were then shot.

In May 1905, Lenin travelled back from the London Third Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party through Paris and with several other delegates visited the Eiffel Tower.



Tour Eiffel / Eiffel Tower

Arrondissement 7

The symbol of Paris

Gustave Bonickhausen-Eiffel was allowed legally to drop the first half of his surname in 1880, just in time to borrow the idea and to win the 1886 competition to build the world’s tallest tower for the May 5 1889 opening of the Great Universal Exhibition in Paris.

Work building the Eiffel Tower started on January 28 1887 and it was finished on March 31 1889. Only one person died during its construction

Despite being the commemoration of the French Revolution in which, momentarily, the powerful had nearly lost control of events to the politicised workers of Paris, the Eiffel Tower rapidly became Paris’ symbol of modernism and over the next century and more, of Paris itself. It was the logical place for the first wireless telegraphic message to be sent from it to the Panthéon on November 10 1898.

Many left poets and artists have expressed their feelings about the Tour Eiffel in the Champs de Mars.

The Calligramme of the Eiffel Tower was published in 1918 in ‘Poems of Peace and War, 1913-1916’ by Guillaume Appolinaire
Two paintings by Delaunay

In 1975 Louis Aragon published this poem, La Tour Parle, dedicated to Robert Delaunay who started painting his famous Eiffel Tower series in 1908 and stopped only twenty years later. Two of them are shown above.

Vous du Métro

Dans le soir avec mes yeux phosphore orage / C’est moi que les collégiens de leurs mains ivres / Caressent sans savoir pourquoi / Ils lèvent leur front lourd les enfants des péniches

La balle échappe à leurs doigts gourds / Quand le fleuve en passant baigne mes pieds et chante

Voici voici la grande femelle bleue / La dame au corsage de jalousie / Elle est tendre elle est nouvelle / Ses rires sont des incendies

jeunesse de marelle où vas-tu sauter / Vois nos mains traversées d’alcool et de sang bleu / Laisse-nous respirer tes cheveux de métal

Mais accroupi dans mes jupes / Que fait près de moi ce régime de bananes

Paris paysage polaire / Mon corps de lévrier dans le vent chaud / Le sentez-vous comme il est rose / Comme il est blanc comme il est noir

Femmes léchez mes flancs d’où fuit FL FL / Le bulletin météorologique

Messieurs posez vos joues rasées / Contre mes membres adossés aux cieux / Où les oiseaux migrateurs / Nichent


Avenue Élisée-Reclus

Arrondissement 7

Named after France’s greatest geographer

A wealthy street close to the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River whose only claim to be in Left in Paris is because this naming took place two years after Reclus died in Belgium.

Why did France’s greatest geographer die outside France? The answer lies in the Paris Commune.

On 16 November 1871 Reclus was sentenced to deportation to a French colony for life, but after the intervention of English geographers in his favour this was commuted to perpetual banishment.

He went first to Italy, then he settled at Clarens, Switzerland, where he wrote many major books. In 1894 became Chair of Geography at Brussels University.

He had zero connection with wealthy Paris.

Five years after it was given Reclus’ name, the Avenue was truncated to its current 230m length. Exactly 330m of it were lopped off and renamed Émile-Deschanel. after a much more respectable Republican who had died the year before the Communard and anarchist.

Why? The Paris municipal elections of 1904 witnessed a considerable increase in the numbers of socialists, up from 20 to 26, and they became the largest single grouping – although the Boulangist nationalists won 21 seats to the Radical Republicans 18 and the Conservatives and monarchists 11 and the Right-wing Republicans 4. This was just enough to enable some left-inclined street naming.

But the 1908 elections saw the left on the retreat. There were just 10 Socialist Party councillors sit alongside another 11 independent socialists, while the Radical Republicans won 22 seats and the Right-wing Republicans 28 along with 9 conservative monarchists. The right-wing revenge was the truncating of Élisée-Reclus.

Nobuhito Nagaï’s study of the Paris municipal council electon results after the defeat of the Commune shows how the broad republican left (the two left columns) secured majorities from 1887 to 1900 and then again from 1904 to 1912, with the far-right present throughout


Rue de Lille

Arrondissements 7

Numbers 23, 45

The old Rue de Bourbon running parallel to the Seine was renamed the Rue de Lille in 1792 to commemorate the successful defence of Lille against an Austrian army, whose six-day bombardment of the town destroyed half of Lille’s houses.

After the 1814 restoration the street’s name reverted again to Bourbon before going back to Lille again in 1830. Unusually, it kept this name – even under the Second Empire, where Louis Napoleon often swept out names associated with the French Revolution of 1789-1794.

The street does four plaques, including one to Max Ernst, who lived at No. 19 from 1962 up to this death in 1976, but neither Friedrich Engels nor Karl Marx’s stays are acknowledged.

Engels lived at No. 23 from 1846 to 1847, where the police kept a close eye on him as he wrote reports of the emerging republican and democratic movement for German and the Chartist Northern Star papers.

From June to August 1849, while fighting the fearful French government’s stringent conditions for granting him exile after his May expulsion from Germany (he had to live in Morbihan in Brittany), Karl Marx and his family came back to Paris secretly and lived at No. 45 under the name of Meyen in two rooms rented to a person called Ramboz.

Ironically, directly opposite the rooms lived in by Engels and Marx, stood the Orsay Palace. This was built between 1810 and 1838 and its ground floor became the central building of the French State Council (Conseil d’État) in 1840, while its first floor housed the French Exchequer Accountants (Cour des comptes) , two of the most important legal and financial institutions of the French state. The palace was burnt down during the Commune on the night of 23 to 24 May 1871, and the Gare d’Orsay was built on the site to transport visitors to the 1900 Universal Exhibition.

Ordered by Napoleon to serve as a barracks and headquarters of his Overseas Department, the Orsay Palace was burnt down in 1871. Today the site is partly occupied by the Orsay museum.

Further along the street there was a very important barricade erected across it at No. 50 during the Commune – and made famous by Émile Zola in his 1892 novel la Débâcle (The Downfall), the penultimate novel in the Rougon-Macquart series.


Rue Montalembert

Arrondissement 7

Number 7

The swish Hotel Pont Royal occupies much of this short street opened in 1913 off the Rue de Bac leading to the Pont Royal. It was given this name in 1924, after a theoretician of liberal Catholicism, Charles de Montalembert (1810-1870).

In October 1944 this hotel was where Lucie Aubrac was lodged with her children while a delegate to the National Consultative Assembly, before moving to the Rue Marbeuf in January when her husband Raymond was abruptly fired from his job as Commissioner of Marseilles because of his pronounced left leanings.

From the 1930s the basement bar at the Hotel Pont-Royal was used by Gaston Gallimard (1881-1975), head of the Gallimard publishing house as a discrete meeting place with intellectuals and writers such as Hemingway, Malraux, Gide, de Beauvoir, Camus, Sagan, Sartre and many more in the 1930s and 1950s.

in 1928 Gallimard purchased the effectively adjacent 5, Rue Sébastien-Bottin (at the time 43 Rue de Beaune) as his new headquarters. As managing editor of La Nouvelle Revue française (NRF) from, 1911 to 1940, Gallimard gave Gide the literary editorship and was the first publisher of Malraux and Sartre.

In June 1940 Gallimard moved to the South of France trying to please the Germans by leaving a writer, Drieu la Rochelle, who espoused ‘Socialist Fascism’ as Editor of the NRF. Accused by the Germans of employing Jews and communists La Rochelle fired them.

The Gallimard press was accused of collaborationism during the Occupation and La Rochelle committed suicide in March 1945.

In 2011, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Gallimard publishing house, the section of the street Rue Sébastien-Bottin that included No 5 was renamed Rue Gaston-Gallimard.

Two minutes from the Hotel Pont Royal is the publishing house Gallimard, now in a street named after its founder


Avenue de La Motte Picquet

Arrondissements 7, 15

Numbers: 2

Demonstration September 1973 against Pinochet

Named in 1884 after Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de La Motte the road was first opened as the Avenue de l’Ecole Militaire in 1680.

The Chilean embassy was in a prime location at No. 2. It had previously been the private mansion of the Tour-d’Auvergne family.

Built in 1907 for Prince Henri de La Tour-d’Auvergne it was rented to the US Embassy until 1929 and then sold to Chile to become its Embassy

This is where Louis Aragon was allowed to take refuge for a few days on August 28 1939 by fellow poet and Communist, but also a diplomat there at the time, Pablo Neruda. Aragon had been attacked in the street by the extreme right-wing after the French Communist Party had been banned on August 25, two days after the Hitler-Stalin ‘Non-aggression Pact’.

In 1971 Neruda was named Ambassador to France, and he lived at No. 2 until the fascist coup in Chile in 1973.

The police attacked demonstrators protesting against the appointment by Pinochet of a new ambassador to France in March 1974

Jean Jaurès lived at No. 19 in the 1890s.


Rue Saint Dominique

Arrondissement 7

Numbers: 14, 27, 49, 62, 102

The 2.5 kilometre road was named Rue Saint-Dominique in 1631 after the Dominican order set itself up on what had been a long path leading to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey complex.

The Hotel de Brienne at No. 14 (see entrance above) had been bought by Louis XVIII in 1817 to house the Ministry of War. In April 1871 Gustave Cluseret installed the Central Committee of the National Guard in the War Ministry. Its last meeting there took place on May 23.

The Ministry of Public Works at No. 62 was the location of efforts by the Paris Commune first, on May 10 1871, to discuss workers’ conditions and second, on May 15, to create an enquiry made up of 11 trade associations and the Women’s Union into abandoned workshops.

At an unknown location in the road a barricade was erected rapidly on May 22 1871 when the news arrived that the Versaillais troops had entered Paris. This was one of the 900 estimated by Robert Tombs (1971) to have been erected by the Commune’s defenders.

After the April 4 1894 bombing in the Rue de Conde, the police searched Félix Fénéon‘s office at the Ministry of War in , finding enough evidence of his complicity to put him on trial with the others in the August show trial of 30 anarchists.

The Ministry of War also was where Alfred Dreyfus was arrested on October 15 1894. The campaign for his innocence was largely responsible for creating the unity of the left in the early 20th century.

Charles Marville’s (1813-1879) photographic studio was at No. 27. We have used several of his pictures to illustrate Leftinparis since he was the photographer contracted by Haussmann to take pictures of the streets that would disappear in the remodelling of Paris.

On January 6 1927 Aragon and a comrade from the same Communist cell , Benjamin Péret, signed up to the La Famille Nouvelle workers’ cooperative at No. 101. This was also where in 1932 Aragon organised meetings of the Association des écrivains et artistes révolutionnaires (the AÉAR ).

In 1929 No. 28, a huge early 18th century mansion belonging to La Rochefoucauld d’Estissac was bought by the Chemical Industry Foundation and turned into the Maison de la Chimie (Chemistry House).

This was the venue for the trial by German court martial of 27 Resistance fighters from the PCF’s Youth Battalions (16) and Special Organisation (9) from April 7 to 14 1942. The 28th fighter arrested, the Catalan communist Conrad Miret i Musté, was tortured to death at the Santé prison on February 27. All except four were shot at the Mont-Valérien fort on April 17. One of these, a 22-year-old Polish-origin Jewish woman, Simone Schloss, was guillotined on July 17 1942 in Cologne. Her name is among the list of those shot on the plaque on the wall at No 28 opposite the Maison de la Chimie.

At the end of the German occupation De Gaulle set up his Provisional Government on 25 August 1944 in the War Ministry. This was where he dissolved the Paris Resistance movement on August 28 1944, calling the 20 major Resistance leaders ‘secondhand officers’.

In November 1972 a meeting called by the lawyer Gisèle Halimi in the offices at No. 102 of ‘Choose – A woman’s cause‘ (Choisir – la cause des femmes) with some of the women who had signed the Manifesto of the 343 declaring they had had an illegal abortion. Among those who had signed were Simone de Beauvoir, Catherine Deneuve, Marguerite Duras, Jeanne Moreau, and Françoise Sagan.

The meeting helped organise the legal defence of the five women who were tried at Bobigny on November 8 for having supported a 16-year-old who had had an abortion after being raped. De Beauvoir, president of Choisir, gave evidence attacking the 1920 law that outlawed abortion and made any mention of it in the press illegal. The action and publicity surrounding this trial was a key turning point in the campaign to legalise abortion in France.


Rue de Sèvres

Arrondissments 6, 7, 15

Number: 11, 17, 22, 24

As early as the 14th century the 1.5km-long road from central Paris towards the village of Sèvres six miles away (nearly 10km) got its name. The name was later made famous by the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres (the porcelain factory) moved there in 1756 at the demand of Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, and then bought by the king three years later.

One of the largest underground newspapers circulating in the Northern Zone, Défense de la France, during the German Occupation was printed at No. 11. It was printing 450,000 in January 1944. The niece of Charles de Gaulle, Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz, was one of its supporters. One of those involved in the printing, Jacques Grou-Radenez, was arrested and died in deportation on November 12 1943.

Marc Bloch the Left historian who founded the Economic and Social History Annales lived in a flat at No. 17, above the then Lutetia swimming pool, from 1936 to 1940. Initially used exclusively by the adjoining hotel it was requisitioned by the Gestapo in 1940. In 1945 it became a centre for returning concentration camp inmates and then a public swimming pool. until it was closed in the 1970s. The Lutetia swimming pool is now a Hermes shop.

A rare plaque for the Leftist was put on the first floor wall of the building because of his wartime role leading the resistance in Lyon, after he was sacked from his job as Professor at the Sorbonne University for being a Jew.

On the right, above the Hermes shop at No. 17, a plaque remembers Marc Bloch

The huge establishment at No. 22-24, Le Bon Marche, the French equivalent of Harrods, has been catering to wealthy French Parisians and tourists since 1852, just 11 months after the December 1851 coup d’état when Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte seized power.

Jacques Prévert worked as a salesman there in March 1916, before being fired for having ‘turned a salewoman from the right path’.


Rue Vaneau

Arrondissement 7

Numbers 1b, 22, 23, 26, 38

A 12 metre-wide street originally built in 1826 under a royal decree, it was initially named rue Mademoiselle because of its proximity to the building that became the Matignon Palace/Hôtel , now the official residence of France’s prime ministers. The owner of the huge Hôtel at 55 rue de Varenne at that time was Mademoiselle Louise-Eugenie, the younger sister of Louis-Philippe. The name was changed to rue Vanneau (with two nn’s) in the initial democratic phase of King Louis-Philippe in October 1830.

The street was again renamed in 1873, as the right-wing Republican government sought to use name changes to reinforce its shaky legitimacy. So from rue Vanneau it became rue Vaneau (with one n) in honour of a student killed attacking the Babylone barracks during the Glorious Revolution on July 29 1830.

Although Karl Marx lived at both No. 38 and No. 23 in 1843-1844 and his first daughter, Jenny (who later married Charles Longuet), was born at No. 38 there is no commemorative plaque on either address. The offices of the review that had brought Marx to Paris, Annales franco-allemandes, were at No. 22.

Another left literary figure to have lived in the road was Félix Fénéon. He was still living with his parents at No. 26 when he got his first job at the Ministry of War in 1881 and soon afterwards began writing art criticism, book summaries, short stories and even a first draft of a psychological novel for a monthly journal that ran from October 1883 to March 1884.

The photograph above is from 1905, some 60 years after the Marx family lived a little further down the street.

You will see a plaque on 1b, rue Vaneau, where André Gide lived on the sixth floor from 1928 and died in 1951, and where he hid Albert Camus in another flat in the building in 1944.


Rue de Varenne

Arrondissement 7

Numbers 12, 24, 56, 57, 77

This street is best known for No. 57, the Matignon Palace. The hôtel Matignon has been the official home of French prime ministers since 1922. In 1914, then the Austrian Embassy, it had been sequestered by the government who then bought it and what was Paris’ largest private garden in 1922.

The left’s prime ministers are few in numbers: only Léon Blum, Pierre Mendès France, Michel Rocard reported on in Left in Paris spent a few years there.

Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet rented a flat at No. 56, the Hôtel Gouffier de Thoix, from 1960 until Aragon’s death in 1982. The town house was built for the sister of the mistress of England’s Charles II between 1719 and 1727. Nationalised as the goods of foreigners during the French revolution, and then rented out, today it is used by the prime minister’s office.

From 1960 Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet used their flat in the Hôtel Gouffier de Thoix at No. 56 as their Paris base, while spending much of their time at the old Villeneuve watermill that Aragon bought for Elsa in 1953 in the ancient Rambouillet forest to the West of Paris.

Under the Occupation, the German Military Court was based at No. 12.

The painter Eugène Delacroix lived at No. 24 in 1820.

Nearly a kilometer long this street is filled with huge 18th century private houses that have become government buildings, embassies and the house at No. 77, now a museum, where Rodin lived, in the hôtel Biron. This was built for a former wig-maker who became a housing speculator in 1727-1728, and was sold to the hero of the 1745 battle of Fontenoy, the General Biron in 1753. His nephew ended up on the guillotine in 1793.

Under the restoration the building was given to the catholic girls school, the Ladies of the Sacré-Cœur, and then taken back by the state in 1905. By then it was nearly falling down and scheduled for demolition.

77 rue de Varenne around 1900,. It was then a convent school. This was shortly before it was returned to the French state after the 1905 legal separation of the Church from Government.

Several artists then moved in temporarily, including Matisse and Jean Cocteau, as well as Isadora Duncan’s Dance School.

In 1908 Auguste Rodin moved in. In 1916, the year before his death, he promised to give his entire works to the state if it transformed the building into the Musée Rodin, and this was then voted on by the National Assembly and by the Senate. Rodin died in 1917.

Most probably the street’s Varenne name comes from a corruption of the French word garenne meaning a hunting reserve, suggested also by the nearby Rue de Bellechasse (the ‘great hunting’ street. In the 16th century the area was part of the forest attached to the Louvre Palace. it was originally cut through in the early 17th century, got its name in 1651 and was extended to its present length in 1850.


Avenue de Villars

Arrondissement 7

Number: 11bis

11bis Avenue de Villars

A short but very wide road close to the Military School it was opened around 1780 and named after the 18th century duke and French Marshal Claude-Louis-Hector de Villars.

It is noteworthy here solely because it was where Louis Aragon‘s mother gave birth to him at No. 11bis, being ‘modernised’ in the Google Street picture of 2019 shown above, but still looking quite ‘posh’.

It is quite probable that Louis’ 57-year-old politically important father, the politician, prefect and deputy judge, Louis Andrieux, paid for the 24-year-old Marguerite Toucas to live there in 1898 to give birth to his illegitimate son.


Quai Voltaire

Arrondissements 7

Number 29, 27, 7

In 1791 the owner of the huge house at No. 27, the Marquis de Villette, a gay friend of the enlightenment philosopher and writer who had died there in 1778 , renamed the street Quai Voltaire. Villette had supported the 1789 Revolution and renounced his nobility. Elected to the Convention in 1792, Charles Villette argued for the banishment of Louis XVI, but died of what was then described as ‘melancholia’ (langeur) aged 57 in July 1793.

Alongside the plaque on No. 27 remembering Voltaire is another recalling the meetings that took place there of the leaders of the national and local police groups of Résistance Libération-Nord. This was initially the name of a clandestine newspaper, established after SFIO and non-Communist CGT trade unionists signed the Declaration of Twelve opposing the Vichy regime and the dissolution of the trade unions on November 15 1940. It became a resistance organisation in November 1941 and in 1943 was one of the eight resistance movements represented on the National Resistance Council.

29, Quai Voltaire is where Daniel Stern (Marie d’Agoult) lived in the Hôtel de Mailly-Nesle after her 1839 breakup with Franz Liszt. She ran a republican literary salon there, and in 1844 Karl Marx used to attend.

No 7 Quai Voltaire is another well-plaqued house (three). It was the home of Hubert de Lagarde, founder and head of the Resistance Eleuthère network of the Forces Françaises Combattantes . A plaque tells how he was arrested by the Gestapo on June 15 1944. This was only a few days after he had protested against the appointment of a Communist to head up the now merged FFI (French Forces of the Interior). He was tortured and then deported to Buchenwald before dying of dysentery on January 25 1945.