Number 42-54, site of the Château Rouge
The most imposing building in the Rue de Clignancourt used to be the Château Rouge. It was built in 1780 with white stone and red brick by one of Paris’ tax collectors. Under the Empire it became the home of Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte . On March 30 1814 it was the place that he signed the capitulation to the allies.
The house and estate were sold off in lots in 1844, when the house and front garden were bought by a businessman who turned it into the Château Rouge Dance Venue outside the Farmers’ General tax wall around Paris. This was where the reforming monarchists and a smattering of republicans gathered at the 9 July 1847 banquet to hear political speeches against the government of King Louis-Philippe.
Alexandre Ledru-Rollin and others then toured the country making republican speeches at other oppositional pro-democracy banquets.
It was the banning of the 21 February 1848 banquet proposed for the Champs Elysées that triggered the 1848 February Revolution.
Louise Michel’s close Blanquist friend, Théo Ferré, lived opposite the Château Rouge at No 41, where the Vigilance Committee met during the Prussian siege of Paris from September 1870 to January 1871.
On March 18 1871, when General Lecomte failed to seize Paris’ canons further up the Montmartre Hill, he was first brought to the Château Rouge, then acting as the headquarters of the 18th Arrondissement’s Committee of Vigilance. In the afternoon he was taken back up the hill and shot.
During the Commune the 26-year-old Ferré was nominated Prosecutor, and in response to the growing number summary executions of Communards who surrendered to the Versaillais troops took place during the ‘bloody week’ May 21-28, on May 24 he authorised the execution of six of the hundreds of hostages held by the Commune at the prison of La Roquette. He wrote ‘especially the Archbishop’ of Paris (George Darboy) on the note.
Many Communards were executed at the Château Rouge, their bodies being buried in the grounds and only uncovered when a local school was built. Ferré was captured, tried and shot on the early morning 28 November along with two army officers who had defected to the Commune.
In 1881 a developer bought the building and park and built the 13 huge houses at 42-54 rue de Clignancourt and from 7 to 13b rue Custine.