Rue Saint-Gilles

Arrondissement 3

Numbers: 12

If you happened to look like Gustave Courbet, or other well-known supporters of the Commune, on 24 May 1871 you could have been shot on the spot by the Versaillais troops – as happened to one unfortunate man in the 2nd arrondissement at 11, Rue de la Banque.

It was very dangerous to have even the closest resemblance to France’s best known painter in 1871

Courbet himself went into hiding at a musical instrument maker friend of his at No. 12 Rue St Gilles. This was where he was arrested on June 7 1871. The building had formerly been the Venice Embassy in Paris, and since very few people know this, I can also let you know that Jean-Jacques Rousseau spent a year working in the French embassy to Venice in 1743 to 1744.

No 12 St Gilles the former Venice embassy in Paris

In 1640 the narrow road was named after a statue of Saint Gilles placed at the end of the road, initially called the New St Gilles road.

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