Originally this was the principal road through the farm belonging to the Bishop of Paris, annexed to Paris in 1722, and the section called rue Cambacérès was named differently from the rest of the street in 1865.
It was another street renamed under Louis-Napoléon’s search for greater legitimacy in the eyes of both republicans, Bonapartists and freemasons.
Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès (1753-1824) was an aristocrat who supported the French Revolution and became president of the Convention and the Committee of Public Safety in 1794. In 1796 he was elected president of the Committee of 500, the lower chamber under the Directorate. In 1799 he became minister of Justice and supported Bonaparte’s coup d’état of the 18 Brumaire (1 November 1799).
Cambacérès’ next promotion saw Napoléon Bonaparte name him Second Consul in 1800. He is a major editor of the March 1804 French Civil Code, known as the Code napoléonien.
President of the Senate on 18 May 1804 he presented its confirmation that Bonaparte is Emperor of the French. The same day he becomes the ‘Archi-chancellor’ of France, number two after the Emperor.
In 1806 he became the Supreme Chief of the ‘Modern French Rites’ of freemasonry and is Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France from 1806 to 1814.
At the Restoration he is stripped of his royal title of Duke of Parma, but instead calls himself Duke of Cambacérès.
Back in the days in 1795 when the whole street was still called rue de la Ville l’Évêque the young Philippe Buonarroti came to meetings at No. 54 (now 26 rue Cambacérès) of the Lycée politique, the future Conspiracy of Equals (Conjuration des Égaux) with Gracchus Babeuf. This was the home of André Amar, a former member of the French Revolution’s Committee of General Safety (Comité de sûreté générale).