Rue Jacob

Arrondissement 6

56, 44, 40, 14, 10, 2

The outside of the Cours Desir during the great flood of 30 January 1910

This old narrow street running parallel to the Seine has both an international and a significant left history. It also used to flood when the Seine got very high, as it did in 1910.

In 1783 the British embassy was located at No. 44, and this was where Benjamin Franklin negotiated the American Independence Treaty from Britain. He refused, however, to sign it on British territory, so on September 3 1783 he and John Adams signed the treaty at the York Hotel where Franklin was staying at No. 56.

No. 44 became the Hôtel d’Angleterre and then the Hôtel Jacob, and this was where Hemingway and his wife Hadley stayed at first on their arrival in Paris on 22 December 1921.

Anne Pingeot used to live at No 40, where she was visited very regularly by the French deputy and future president, François Mitterrand.

Louise Michel spent her last years from 1897 to 1904 at No. 2. The Cronstadt hotel was then demolished in 1944 leaving a little garden.

Louise Michel lived in the building that once occupied this small garden site from 1897 until leaving for her last speaking tour in 1905.

In 1832 the independent Saint-Simonien, Pauline Roland lived in a flat at No. 10 with Pierre Leroux, who was then a foreman at the Panckoucke printers where the paper he helped found, Le Globe, was being printed.

After returning from exile in Belgium in 1862, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon returned to Paris and lived in an apartment at the back of the courtyard of No. 14 rue Jacob. An earlier resident, Richard Wagner, who stayed there from 1841-1842, has a plaque to his memory on the wall.

A view of an old entrance into No. 10 rue Jacob taken from the courtyard inside No. 12

At the end of the Second World War some leftist writers who had organised together before the war in the October Group led by Jacques Prévert, set up ‘Le Bar Vert’ (Green Bar) at No. 10. The first ‘American bar’ in Paris it stayed open all night, and it attracted many literary names including Raymond Queneau, Roger Vailland, Maurce Merleau-Ponty Juliette Greco and occasionally Jean-Paul Sartre.

The inside court of the Cour Desir during the great flood of 30 January 1910

Simone de Beauvoir went to the private Catholic secondary school at the Institut Désir at Nos. 37, 39, 41 and 45. The school’s buildings were partly taken over to build a new Medical Faculty in the the early 1950s and it moved away.

No. 60 used to host the Restaurant Michaud (later known as the Comptoir des Saints Pères), frequented by the ‘Lost generation’ of the 1920s such as Hemingway, Joyce and Scott Fitzgerald.