Rue Saint-Victor

Arrondissement 5

Numbers: 16, 24, 35

The now much shortened road was originally named after the nearby 11th century Saint Victor Abbey on the banks of the Seine whose walls it skirted. That was closed in 1790 during the French Revolution and then demolished and replaced by a huge wine market in 1811. the abbey site is now occupied by the Paris Global Natural Phenomena Institute (Institut de physique du globe de Paris) and by the Jussieu University campus.

Under Haussmann and the construction of the Boulevard Saint-Germain, the Rue Monge and the Rue des Ecoles the original road lost 75% of its length, and as a result of successive rebuilding, the pavement in places now has two levels

Paul Verlaine was put up by his mistress, Eugénie Krantz, at her flat at No. 16 in 1895.

The conference centre, the Maison de la Mutualité, was built at No. 24 in art-deco style in 1931. From then to the present it has witnessed many significant left meetings.

The Internatlonal Youth Congress against war and fascism took place at the Maison de la Mutualite on May 26 1933. Organised by Paul Langevin and others it aimed to build a common front against fascism.

On July 24 1934 Jacques Prévert held the festival of French anti-militarist songs at La Mutualite. On October 23 1934 under the chair of André Gide there was report-back meeting from the Moscow International Writers congress, with speakers including André Malraux and Fernand Léger. Malraux, Gide, Louis Aragon, Max Ernst, Bertolt Brecht, Aldous Huxley, André Breton and Ilya Ehrenbourg were among the 230 participants from 38 countries who attended the International Writers Congress in the Defence of Culture there on June 21 1935.

After the Second World War around 1,500 Algerians were arrested on April 1 1951 when they went to a banned meeting about Algerian independence at No. 24, the ‘Mutu‘.

Simone de Beauvoir chaired a meeting there on 26 January 1971 with speakers including Sartre, Jean-Luc Godard and Marguerite Duras in support of the banned Maoist newspaper, la Cause du Peuple.

In 1860 Émile Zola was thrown out of No. 35 for not paying his rent after staying in a room under the roof for a few weeks. During that time his friend from Aix-en-Provence, Paul Cézanne, visited him there.

A view Zola would have had of the St Nicolas du Chardonnet church before it got its1934 facade.

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