Rue Saint Benoît

Arrondissement 6

Numbers 3, 5, 7, 13, 16-18, 26, 28, 38

The street was named after Saint Benoît, the founder of the Benedictine religious order that created the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey (and whose first church dates from 558).

During the Orléans monarchy the oppositional clandestine newspapers Moniteur Républicain (the Republican Instructor) and L’Homme libre (The Free Man) were printed by the Blanquist concierge of No. 26, Antoine Fomberteaux, who was arrested there for possession of gunpowder in October 1838.

In 1839, Etienne Cabet also lived in the street after his return from exile in England.

During the Commune the mainly Proudhon-influenced Paris members of the International Working Men’s Association used to print leaflets at the Claye printshop at No. 7.

The same address was used by Lucien Rameau in 1941-1942. He clandestinely printed anti-Vichy leaflets in the secret Communist Party bookshop and print works based there.

The buildings at No. 16-18 used to be a girls’ school and are now a mixed nursery and primary school. In 1871 it was the meeting place of the ‘Union des Femmes pour la défense de Paris et les soins aux blessés ‘ (The Women’s Paris Defence and Wounded Relief Union), attended by Elisabeth Dmitrieff and Nathalie Le Mel.

The second of Gaston Gallimard’s publishing house offices were located at No. 3 from 1912-1921. Among the authors who passed through the door were Guillaume Apollinaire, André Gide, Marcel Proust and Paul Valéry.

In 1935 Jacques Prévert lived with Jacqueline Laurent on the 7th floor in the Hotel Montana at No. 28.

A third floor apartment at 5, Rue Saint Benoît became Marguerite Duras‘ permanent home and the 20th century equivalent of a ‘salon’ for intellectuals and artists from 1942 to 1996.

In 1943 Duras’ flat was where Francois Mitterrand turned towards the resistance, joining the network the Antelme and Duras were involved in.

This was also the address where her husband, Robert Antelme, was arrested and deported by the Germans on 1 July 1944.

In February 1948 Boris Vian began converting the French to Be Bop at the Club St Germain at No. 13.. Americans who played there included Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington.