Rue de Tournon

Arrondissement 6

Numbers 4, 5, 6, 10, 19, 33

This Paris street widens as you walk up it towards the Luxembourg Palace in the Rue Vaugirard. It was once the home of several of France’s wealthiest people who built small palaces outside the confines of the inner Paris wall.

But it also has a left history. André Gide lived at No. 2 for eight years, from 1875-1883.

Ledru-Rollin lived at the Hotel de Montmorocy in June 1848. Alphonse de Lamartine stayed in the same mansion.

Next door, Alexandre Ledru-Rollin at the Hôtel de Montmorency at No. 4, was followed to his home from the assembly on June 24 1848 and threatened with death after he was denounced for being too supportive of the workers’ insurrection. Sharing the same address at the time was Lamartine, another leading campaigner for the extension of the suffrage.

Jacques Prévert moved to the fifth floor of No. 5 for a year in the winter of 1910 when he was ten years old. Fifteen years later he married Simone Dienne, three years younger than him, whose family lived on the ground floor in 1910.

In 1840 Charles Fourier, the early utopian socialist, edited the revue in the offices of La Phalange (sucessor paper to the Phalanstère) at No 6.

During the 1848 revolution, the anarchist Bakunin stayed at the Republican Guard barracks at No. 10.

In May 1871 the barracks offered a different menu: it was where some Communards fighting in Paris’ National Guard were court-martialed during the bloody week.

The Foyot Restaurant at 33 Rue de Tournon before its demolition in 1938 was a favourite haunt of senators and Parisian personalities. It had been bombed in 1894 with the damage visible in the Rue de Condé on the other side of the restaurant shown in this photograph.

The Foyot restaurant that was bombed in 1894 where Laurent Tailhade, ironically a supporter of the ‘propaganda by the deed’ anarchist movement, lost an eye was also used by the painter Gustave Courbet and other Commune supporters in 1871.

A scandal broke out at Foyot shortly before Verlaine died when in rags he was invited to dine there by a symbolist poet and dandy.

The Communist and writer Louis Aragon was hidden during the German occupation by the bookseller Lucien Scheler in his flat at No. 19 in 1943.

Initially bits of the boggy land on a narrow country lane through Abbey land were sold by Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey to builders, and it was called the Saint Sulpice lane in 1517. The road was soon renamed Rue de Tournon in 1541, after Cardinal François de Tournon (1489-1562) who ran the abbey.

Under the Second Republic in 1849 the government decided to allow the road to take its current unique bell-shaped dimensions, running from 13.5 meters wide up to double that when opening up to the Luxembourg Palace.

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