Rue de l’Éperon

Arrondissement 6

Number 2

A very old street that first appears on the records in 1267. It finally got its present name (‘spur’ in English) from a shop sign in 1637.

Its principal claim to fame is at No. 2, the Lycée Fénelon. This was the first secondary and higher school for girls in Paris. It was set up in 1892 in 19th century buildings used to prepare young men to enter the competition for the elite École normale supérieure.

It was named after the Archbishop of Cambrai (François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon known succinctly as Fénelon, 1695-1715) who had written extensively on women’s education.

The Lycée became entirely mixed in 1979.

Among its better known students was Simone Weil and while some sources suggest Simone de Beauvoir was a student there, others (more probably in my view) suggest this was one of the Lycées where she taught. Another teacher there, notable for the wrong reasons was Marcel Déat (1894-1955), the fascist whose political career ended up as Minister of Labour and National Solidarity under the Vichy government in 1944.

PLACES