From the 10th to the 14th century France’s principal Royal palace was on the Cité island in the centre of the Seine. Sometime in the early 12th century the ‘Great Tower’ was built on the North of the island, on what is now the Quai de l’Horloge. Beneath it prisoners were tortured and by the late 14th century it was turned into a prison.
In August 1815Marshal Ney was jailed there for supporting Napoléon during the One Hundred Days before Waterloo. Tried for treason by French lords on December 6 he was shot the next day near the Luxembourg Garden.
Wounded In the head during the May 12 1839 Insurrection of the Seasons, Barbes was taken to the Conciergerie’s infirmary.
After the failure of his attempted Boulogne coup d’État of August 1840, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte and his fellow conspirators were first jailed in the Conciergerie.
Many of those arrested but not shot during the June 1848 workers’ insurrection were imprisoned in this jail before being tried.
The road gets its name from the alms houses for the respectable poor whose income was too low to pay taxes – the ‘road of the too poor to pay tax bourgeois’. They were built where Nos. 32 to 36 are today, probably in the 17th century. Before then it was called the road of old pulleys (Rue des Viez-Poullies). Part of the the road was renamed the Rue des Francs-Citoyens during the French Revolution.
The road still shows off several of Paris’ oldest buildings and now separates the third and fourth arrondissements. At Nos. 14-18 you find the Carnavalet Museum of Paris’ historical collections the museum’s official address is at No. 23 Rue de Sévigné. No. 25 is the best-preserved 16th century Hôtel de Lamoignon, now a public library of the history of Paris. There are vestiges of the Philippe august wall at Nos. 31-33 and No. 57 and several other grand town houses.
When the SFIO and then PCF theoretician Charles Rappoport first arrived in Paris from Russia in 1895 he lived at No. 50.
The magnificent private mansion built on the site of the Hôtel de Guise at No. 60 was known as the Hotel de Soubise. It became the National Archives in 1794 and was saved from being burnt down by shell fire from the Versaillais troops attacking the barricade at No. 61, and by the 125th battalion of the National Guard of the on May 25 1781 by Louis-Guillaume Debock and André Alavoine. They were later pardoned for their support of the Commune because of their actions that day.
While he was studying at the Lycee Charlemagne in the 1880s, Leon Blum lived as a boarder in the Rue des France-Bourgeois.