Rue Houdon

Arrondissement 18

Numbers 15, 24

Louise Michel lived here at No 24 above what is now a café from 1865 to 1871 while running her own day school in the Rue des Cloÿs

This street changed its name at the French Revolution from ‘Petite Rue Royale’ – as a continuation of the Rue Royale which used to be the name of the current rue Jean-Baptiste-Pigalle. It was first called Rue Nationale and then the Rue de lÉgalité.

After the annexation of Montmartre to Paris in 1860 it was given the name of the French sculptor, Jean-Antoine Houdon, known as the ‘Sculptor of the Enlightenment’. In 1785, after the American war of Independence, Houdon travelled to the newly independent United States of America and sculpted a statue of George Washington.

He is known for his busts of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Napoléon Bonaparte.

Louise Michel moved here in 1865 at a time when she was beginning to secure a reputation as a feminist and republican.

During the Paris Commune, artillery was placed across the street between Nos. 1 and 2, its corner with the boulevard de Clichy, to protect the hill.

Auguste Renoir and Aline Charigot, who began modelling for him in 1880, lived at 18 rue Houdon at the time their first son, Pierre-Auguste, was born in 1885. They married in 1890 and had two more sons together.

Outside the Houdon Primary School at No 15 is one of the many plaques commemorating the deportation of Jewish children from Paris between 1942 and 1944. Carried out by French police these memorials were only put up after post-war Paris first elected a socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoë in 2001.

At No 15 a plaque on the outside of the school informs us that 700 Jewish children from the area were deported under the German occupation, and inside the school another plaque makes it precise: 13 children on the school registers of the 1940s were deported and never returned.

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