Rue de Bruxelles

Arrondissement 9

Number 21bis,

Rue de Bruxelles photographed about 1900

Built in an area designated under Charles X as the ‘European district’ in 1826, the road’s name was intended to celebrate the close relations between France and Belgium after the 1820 Treaty of Kortrijk with the Kingdom of the Netherlands that defined Belgium’s borders.

Its only real historical signficance is that having done extremely well as a writer,  Émile Zola, occupied the whole of the ground and first floors of No. 21 bis.

Zola’s principal home, living with his wife Emilie for over 20 years until his mysterious death in 1902.

On two of the walls of the house were portraits of Zola and his wife given to them by Édouard Manet, and on others paintings by his childhood friend, Paul Cézanne. There is now a plaque to Zola next to the main entrance.