Rue Championnet

Arrondissement 18

Numbers 24, 36, 43

The central bus depot of the wartime Paris transport company was based here

Louise Michel and Mlle. Poulin taught a class for 60 students at No. 24 in what was formerly rue Oudot in 1868. The street’s name had just been changed under Napoleon III in 1867 to Championnet, the name used by one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s favourite generals, Jean Etienne Vachier, but it was still called Oudot by the locals and in Louise Michel’s memoirs.

The site of the school is now entirely occupied by a huge extension of the original Bus Depot at No 34 by the publicly-owned Paris Transport Company. To imagine the kind of building Michel taught at, it’s best to look at Number 36.

A modern RATP office block now sits on the site of the old bus depot, stretching down to include Louise Michel’s school

The Central Bus Depot of the then privately-owned Paris Region Transport company (STCRP) was based at No. 34 rue Championnet. Its huge factory workshop employed between two and three thousand workers – and as soon as this Germans occupied Paris its collaborationist employers jumped at the chance to become a major site for repairs to German armoured vehicles and lorries.

The maintenance factory was the first target for a bomb (that didn’t go off) chosen by the French Communist Party in the summer of 1941, when the PCF started military resistance to the German occupation. Throughout the war resistance members within the workshop sabotaged the vehicles whenever possible.

On 28 November 1941, No 43, this hotel requisitioned by the German army, today the Hotel du Midi, was attacked by the PCF’s Special Organisation and Youth Battalion killing three German soldiers.