A broad tree-lined road just to the south of the Farmers’ general tax wall, it was opened by a royal decree in 1833, and named after an early 18th century peer of the realm who had a rare reputation for honesty in his post as Prévôt des marchands de Paris (Paris’ Prefect for Commerce, the equivalent of today’s Mayor of Paris).
Its most remarkable building is a huge, historic secondary school, the Collège-lycée Jacques-Decour, where Lucie Aubrac was nominated to teach in 1946.
The school was originally founded in the 15th century as the Sainte-Barbe college of Paris University. Its current building was moved there by Haussmann and constructed between 1867 and 1876 on the site of the old Montmartre abattoir.
The name was changed in 1944 from Rollin (the name of an 18th century historian) to Jacques Decour, the resistance pseudonym of Daniel Decourdemanche (1910-1942), who had taught German at the Lycée since 1937.
Decourdemanche had joined the Young Communists and then Communist Party. His first book called Philisterburg after teaching in 1932-33 in Germany denounced the risks of nationalism and racism.
He was 32 when he was shot in May 1942 after the French police who arrested him passed him over to the Germans for his role in the Association of Revolutionary Artists and Writers that had been headed by Louis Aragon.
Every year his goodbye letter to his parents is read in the school where his parting words were:
I consider myself a little like a leaf that falls from a tree to help become soil. The quality of the soil depends on that of the leaves. I am talking about French young people.