Key dates 1831-1847

Chronology from Le Maitron of key dates in French labour history

Author: Stéphane Sirot, additional material by Michel Cordillot, René Lemarquis and Claude Pennetier with Steve Jefferys (italicised)


January 15 Blanqui and other student leaders are arrested for organising violent demonstrations near the Sorbonne and judged by its Academic Council.

February 8 The clockmaker Charles Béranger‘s ‘A proletarian’s petition to the Chamber of Deputies’ was published by Le Globe, established by Pierre Leroux.

February 14-15 Anticlerical and anti-Bourbon riots take place in Paris after a Legitimist commemoration of the murder of the Duke de Berry at the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois church opposite the Louvre. This was occupied by republican demonstrators who then marched on the Archbishop’s palace near Notre Dame, pillaging and wrecking it. These riots were followed later in provincial France.

March 2 Republican riots break on in Paris after the acquittal of prisoners charged with infringing restrictions on press freedom. Protesting workers march on the Palais Royal, the Louvre and on the Town Hall. The Russians eventually take Warsaw on September 8.

March 9 Republicans riot in Paris on hearing the false news that the Russians had seized Warsaw. The windows of the Russian Embassy were stoned and the crowd sang the Marseillaise.

March – June Demonstrations take place against the introduction of machines in factories in Nantes, Saint-Étienne, Bordeaux and Le Havre.

April 6-10 Trial of 19 republican members of the Friends of the People Society, including Godefroi Cavaignac, arrested during the December 1830 riots. They are all acquitted by the jury on April 15/16, giving rise to several working class demonstrations.

April 9-12 Riots of Lyon silk workers (canuts).

May 5 A Bonapartist demonstration takes place at the Place Vendome on the anniversary of Napoleon’s death.

June Serious rioting in the Saint-Denis district resulting from the tough economic situation. The repression was very severe with many victims.

June 1 The Philanthropic Society of Parisian Working Tailors is established.

June 14-16 Riots in Paris put down by the National Guard and regular soldiers. Particularly heated fighting takes place in the Faubourg Saint-Denis and Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle.

July 14 Working class riots. Republican attempt is made to plant an Equality Tree in the Place de la Bastille, at the Pantheon, in the Place de Grève and in the Place de la Concorde. The more than 1,500 demonstrators are dispersed by police dressed in disguise as workers. The publication Au Peuple is seized.

September 7 1,500 textile workers organise a demonstration, followed by riots in Paris that don’t end until September 17.

October The Saint-Simonian manifesto is published with a big propaganda campaign in the provinces.

October 30 The first issue of the Factory Echo (L’Écho de la Fabrique) appears in Lyon.

November The Saint-Simonians split. The most faithful will follow Prosper Enfantin to Egypt. Others, like Abel Transon and Jules Lechevalier, publicly turn to Fourierism.

November 14 Philipon draws and then publishes a cartoon of King Louis-Philippe as a pear. He is charged with ‘insulting behaviour towards the king’ and sentenced to six months in prison and a 2,000 francs fine.

November 20-22 The Lyon silk workers revolt; the negotiations conducted by the prefect fail; an insurrection takes place. Hard repression led by Marshal Soult with 10,000 troops takes place and the revolt finally ends on December 3.

December 15 Daumier‘s cartoon of Louis-Philippe Gargantua is published in La Caricature.


January 10-12. Trial of “The Fifteen” leaders of the SAP (Societe des Amis du Peuple). The accused (Auguste Blanqui, Bonnias, François, Guillaume Gervais, François-Vincent Raspail, Antony Thouret) defend themselves; they are found guilty and sentenced on 27 February, Blanqui was sentenced to a year in prison. The SAP was officially dissolved but it continued its activities.

February. Several newspapers are put on trial. A workers’ commission is set up within the SAP made up of Auguste Caunes senior, Gaussuron-Despréaux, François Sugier). Pierre Leroux and Jean Reynaud take over editorship of the Revue encyclopédique, organ of the neo-Saint-Simonians

February 6 The first cholera epidemic victim dies in Paris.

February 23 Daumier is sentenced to six months in prison and fined 500 francs for his Gargantua cartoon.

February 26 Chopin gives his first concert in Paris in the Pleyel‘s salon in the Rue Cadet.

March 29. Official announcement of a cholera epidemic in Paris.

April 1 Revolt by prisoners at Sainte-Pélagie, supported by several sections of the SAP. One death. A protest by Parisian chiffoniers (rag collectors) begins against the official collection of refuse introduced by the authorities to try to halt the spread of cholera.

April 20 Leroux’s newspaper Le Globe ceases publication.

End April. Commissions for the Rights of Man are set up within the Friends of the People Society (SAP).

May 16 The banker, mine owner and President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) since March 13 1831, Casimir Perier, dies of cholera. He had visited ill patients in Paris’ principal hospital next to Notre-Dame, the Hotel Dieu. A conservative right-winger who had tried to keep Charles X in power he had accepted the position of prime minister only after Louis-Philippe had agreed to allow him to have more freedom of manoeuvre in government than the king.

June 1 Jean-Maximilien Lamarque dies of cholera at his house in the Rue St Honore. Promoted to General by Bonaparte in 1801, he again served with him during the Hundred Days of 1815. Exiled until 1818, he supported the liberal opposition to Louis XVIII and then Charles X. Elected a deputy in 1828, he reluctantly accepted the July Monarchy. His reputation was as someone who had fought both for the Republic and the Empire.

June 2 A large gathering of members of the Friends of the People (SAP) takes place at the funeral of the 20-year-old republican who posthumously become known as one of France’s leading mathematicians, Évariste Galois. He had been mortally wounded in a duel, and was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery.

June 5-6. Popular insurrection in Paris on the occasion of the funeral of General Lamarque. The last group of insurgents fight heroically around the cloisters of Saint-Merri in the Rue de St Martin. Casualities are very heavy: at least 150 are killed on the side of the insurgents, more than 400 are wounded and more than 1,500 arrested; 134 deaths and 326 wounded on the side of the police. A state of siege is declared in Paris that lasts until June 29.

Summer. Birth of the Society for the Rights of Man (SDH).

August 15 The first issue of La Femme libre (the Free Woman) appears. It was an answer by working class women to the Saint-Simonian ‘silence’ on the women’s question imposed by Prosper Enfantin. ‘Written and published by women’ from No. 17 Rue du Caire, it only gives the first names of one founder and one editor, .Jeanne-Désirée (Véret-Gay) and Marie-Reine (Guindorf). One other name appears in the single article in the first issue, that of Jeanne-Victoire (Deroin), a washerwoman who had become a teacher. Thirty-one issues of the paper appear until it ceases publication in 1834.

August 27 Daumier is imprisoned in Sainte-Pélagie.

August 27-28 Trial of the Saint-Simonians in the Court of Assizes in Paris for organising an illegal association and of publishing material offensive to public morality. Prosper Enfantin, Michel Chevalier and Charles Duveyrier are sentenced to one year in prison. Enfantin and Chevalier are imprisoned in Sainte-Pelagie on December 15.

23-31 October. Trial of the 22 charged with fighting on the barricade at cloisters of Saint-Merri. Charles Jeanne, who had been awarded the July 1830 decoration for his part in that insurrection, told the court he took full responsibility for his actions. He was sentenced to be deported, but instead, after being moved successively between various prisons he died in 1837.

November-December. Several groups of Saint-Simonian missionaries (forty people altogether) leave Paris for Lyon to build a ‘workers peaceful army’.

15 December. Opening of the trial of “The Association of Rights” against the SAP. The SAP is definitively dissolved, but the acquittal of the accused enables it to survive for some time.


25 January. La Tribune publishes the list of five great “patriotic” associations in Paris, into which the SAP and the SDH dissolve. Apart from the society “The sky helps him who helps himself,” rather far from the workers movement, the others, the associations for free public education and for the freedom of the press, played a considerable part.

1st February. Imprisoned in Sainte-Pélagie, Laponneraye publishes her Lettre aux prolétaires. It wil be followed by Deuxième lettre aux prolétaires dated 26 March. (The first of these letters will see the author be condemned on 27 June following).

20 May. Insurrection of the miners of Anzin.

July. Publication of the newspaper of Étienne Cabet, Le Populaire.

September-October. Reorganization of the SDH with the extreme left predominant, after several months of internal conflicts between the “Girondists” (with Francois, Vincent Raspail) and “Montagnards” (with Napoleon Lebon). Within the Society, a Propaganda Committee in charge of education and organisation of workers, is founded. It gathers Neo-Babouvists like Napoleon Lebon, Buonarroti and Marc Voyer d’Argenson, as well as workers like the tailor Alphonse Grignon and shoemaker Z Efrahem. Several of its members will be imprisoned in November as “instigators of combinations of workmen.” Important movements of the carpenters in Paris, tailors (who create a “national workshop” to provide work for the strikers), shoemakers and bakers. Creation of a Lyons section of the SDH. The SDH publishes its “Manifesto” in the La Tribune. Publication of Reflections of a Tailor by Alphonse Grignon, and On the Association of Workers of all Trades by Z Efrahem.

1st October. Creation of the Philanthropic Society of Tailors in Nantes. It will play an important part in the creation of a network of correspondents from Brittany to Bordeaux, as in Marseille. The Philanthropic Society of Tailors in Nantes is destroyed on 20 February 1837.

11-12 December. “Trial of the 27” (leaders of the SDH) accused of having planned a riot in July, marking the third anniversary of the “Three Glorious Days.”


Founding of the Association of Goldsmiths, which will continue to exist until 1873.

January. Law prepressing town criers.

February. Strike of Mutualist workers in Lyon, following a reduction in wages. The general strike will last approximately 10 days.

2 February. The first and only number of Libérateur, journal of Auguste Blanqui.

22 February. Following the strike of Mutualist workers in Lyon, adoption of a law prohibiting associations organised in branches of less than 20 persons.

9-14 April. Insurrection, initially of workers in Lyon and Saint-Étienne, and of a diverse character in Arbois, Épinal, Lunéville, Chalon, Grenoble, Vienne, Clermont-Ferrand, Marseille, Toulon. On the 11th, in Lyon, massacre in rue Projetée. On the 12th, in Paris, the arrest of 150 republicans, including the leaders of the SDH. La Tribune cannot appear. On the 14th, in Paris, massacre in rue Transnonain. In Paris as elsewhere, riots are quickly repressed and casualities are very heavy: more than 300 dead and 600 wounded in Lyon, scores dead in Paris; 2,500 arrested, of which half are in Paris, more than 2,300 charged.

10 April. Passing of law on associations, which requires official approval for associations split into branches of less than 20 persons.

June-September. Disorders and revolts in Sainte-Pélagie.

July-August. Creation of the Société des Familles by Hadot-Desages.

8 October. Publication of the first number of Réformateur of François, Vincent Raspail.

11 October. La Tribune reappears.


6 February. Members of the Cour des Pairs sign arrest warrants for more than 420 persons. The defense organised itself. Parisians appoint a committee (Godefroy Cavaignac, Guinard, Auguste Blanqui, Vignerte.), the Lyonnais another (Baune, Lagrange, Caussidière..). Dissension between those which preach a traditional defense (Jules Favre, Ledru-Rollin) and those who want instead to build a movement. On 17 April the list of the defenders chosen by the defendants appears in the press.

5 May. First session of the “April Trial”: after the withdrawal of charges, according to the Tableau drawn up by Caussidière and the Inventaire, 164 insurgents of April 1834 (including 87 Lyoneses) will appear before the Cour des Pairs. Defendants meet at Auguste Blanqui’s place.

8 May. Publication of the defendants’ protest.

11 May. Publication of the Lettre des défenseurs aux accusés d’April.

29 May-4 June. Trial of the defendants before the Chamber of Peers. They are convicted: Ulysse Trélat very severely, Michel de Bourges a little less, and some others.

12 July. Escape of at least 25 prisoners from Sainte-Pélagie.

28 July. Fieschi’s arrest.

3-8 August. First trial for the production of explosives (Eustache Beaufour).

13 August. Judgment of the Cour des Pairs on those accused in Lyon (72 convictions).

9 September. Law of September. Freedom of the press if forcefully restricted and it is made an offence to declare oneself a republican.

7 and 28 December. Judgment of the Cour des Pairs on those accused in Lunéville, Saint-Étienne, Grenoble, Marseille, Arbois and Besançon (25 convictions).


23 January. End of the “April” trial. 40 Parisians are condemned.

30 January-15 February. Trial of Fieschi.

19 February. Execution of Fieschi, Pépin, Morey.

8 March. Discovery of the “Explosives Conspiracy”; Armand Barbès and d’Auguste Blanqui arrested on the 11th.

25 June-11 July. Arrest, trial, execution of Alibaud.

2-10 August. “Explosives Conspiracy Trial.” Armand Barbès and Auguste Blanqui sentenced to prison.

17-23 October. “Explosives Conspiracy Trial” appeal. The majority of the setences are confirmed.


April-July. Inflammatory post campaign, with 7 proclamations from the “Printworks of the Republic,” the first being entitled Au Peuple. Arrests (Antoine Fomberteaux). Reorganization of the Société des Familles is reorganised under the name of “Pelotons” and launches publication of the Moniteur républicain.

8 May. Amnesty to mark the marriage of the Duc d’Orléans, but missing or escaped prisoners are excluded.

June. “Les Saisons” replaces the “Familles.”

November. First number of the Moniteur républicain, dated “3 Frimaire year XLVI” according to the Republican calendar The 8th and last number is published in July.

8 November. Discovery of a plot against the King (Aloys Huber, Laure Grouvelle, convicted in May 1838).


August-September. Publication of four numbers of L’Homme libre, followed by the arrest of the printers (Eugène Fomberteaux, Jean-Baptiste Guillemin, Lecomte Minor). Trial in June 1839, accompanied by a new publication which is swiftly repressed (Joseph Béchet, Stanilas Vilcoq, trial in November 1839).


12-13 May. Attempted insurrection by Armand Barbès, Martin Bernard, Auguste Blanqui and the Société des Saisons. Barbès, woundd, is arrested; the other two manage to elude the police, until 21 June and 14 October respectively. There were 77 killed and at least 51 wounded on the side of the insurgents, 28 and 62 on the other side. More than 750 are brought to trial.

11 June-12 July. Trial of the first group of the May insurgents (19 accused). Faithful to the traditions carbonarists and of the secret societies, Armand Barbès and Martin Bernard refuse to defend themselves. Bernard is condemned to deportation and Barbès to death. Without his knowledge, his sister obtains from the king, the commutation of his sentence to life imprisonment, commuted again to deportation on 31 December.

14 October. Arrest of Auguste Blanqui and five of his comrades. Charges against the five others will not be pursued.

November. The Saint-simonist workers (Jules Vinçard, L.-J. Vannostal, …) create La Ruche populaire with the Fourierists (H. Fugère, …) and the “Democrats” (J. Gilland, …) who successively withdraw. Publication will be stopped in 1842, before being continued again by L’Union from 1843 to 1846.

28 November. Explosion d’une machine infernale (Pierre Béraud).

December. Formation of Nouvelles saisons (Henri Dourille, Lucien Delahodde).


January. First edition (without the name of the author) of Voyage en Icarie by Étienne Cabet, giving birth to the Icarian communist movement, which will become more and more extensive until the decision to leave to found a Communist colony in Texas is taken at the end of 1847. Formation of the “Egalitarian Workers,” a neo-Babouvist communist tendency.

13-31 January. Trial of the second group of May 1839 revolutionaries (34 accused). Like Armand Barbès and Martin Bernard, Auguste Blanqui refuses to defend himself. Condemned to death on 31 January, on the intervention of his wife, and without his knowledge, like Barbès, on 1st February his sentence is commuted to deportation. He will join Barbès and the others in Mont-Saint-Michel.

27 April. Amnesty for missing and escaped prisoners, not amnestied in May 1837 (Godefroy Cavaignac, Édouard Colombat, …).

11 May. Message from the French Socialists to the Congress of English Socialists.

June. P.J. Proudhon launches his celebrated maxim: “Property is theft.” Beginning of important strike movement by boy-tailors, which becomes extensive during the following months and extends to other branches of industry (Henri Troncin).

1st July. Communist banquet in Belleville of which J.-J. Pillot is the principal organiser. Anxious, the government scours all France in pursuit of militant revolutionaries.

Beginning of September. Almost 30,000 workers are on strike; more than 400 arrests.

September. Publication of the journal L’Atelier, written entirely by workers. It will appear until July 1850. Publication of Louis Blanc’s L’Organisation du travail, and it will see nine editions up to 1850. This material will cause furious debate, which will continue thorughout the Second Republic.

15 October. Darmès’s attack on Louis-Philippe. The trial will bring to light the existence of secret societies of communists.


14 March. Launch of the Populaire of Étienne Cabet.

22 March. Law limiting child labour in factories. Children under the age of eight are forbidden to work, limitation of the working day to 8 hours for 8-12-year-olds and 12 hours for 12-16-year-olds. Night work (9pm-5am) is forbidden for children under 12 years, and for all ages, 2 hours counts as three.

May. Richard La Hautière launches the journal La Fraternité.

July. Publication of L’Humanitaire, a materialist-communist journal (J. Gay, J.-J. May, Page, …).

1st August. Beginning of publication of the Fourierist journal La Démocratie pacifique.

13 September. Quénisset’s attack on the Duc d’Aumale. His trial will be turned into a trial of the Société des Travailleurs égalitaires.

October. Following the publication of a petition by M. Carles et Mme Augusta Carles, sister of Armand Barbès, written by Fulgence Girard with the agreement of Auguste Blanqui and other prisoners, a press campaign begins on behalf of the political prisoners (Journal du Peuple, Le National, later La Réforme), which will culminate with debate in the Chamber of Deputies.

1st November. Creation of the Revue indépendante (Pierre Leroux, George Sand).


November. Publication of Théodore Dezamy’s Code de la Communauté, the most advanced theoretical work of French Communism of the period.

December. Resurgence of unemployment. 150 000 Parisian workers are unemployed.


End May. Publication of the first edition of Flora Tristan’s L’Union ouvrière de. Close to the ideas of Fouriersists and especially the Owenites, she made contact with a large number of workers (Jules Vinçard, Agricol Perdiguier …). Flora Tristan was active preparing for a Tour of France destined to popularise her project to set up local circles of the L’Union ouvrière. Exhausted, she died at Bordeaux in November 1844.

5 July. Tocqueville’s report on the prisons, favourable to solitary confinement.

10 July. The Parisian Typographers’ Society, created in 1839, and the print employers chamber sign the first wage agreement, the first true collective agreement.

29 July. Creation of La Réforme (Auguste Ledru-Rollin).


February-December. The press campaign in support of political prisoners intensifies and is prolonged until December, buoyed by debates in the Chamber around the prison laws. (April-May).

31 March. Beginning of the miners’ strike in Rive-de-Gier (Loire), lasting more than two months, against working conditions imposed by the company. It is a failure.

14 August-18 October. French forces defeat the Algerians at the Battle of Isly and to celebrate and counter the unpopularity of his foreign policy, especially his visit with the Queen of England, Louis-Philippe grants the political prisoners pardons (remise de peine – which does not constitute an amnesty and deprives them of the possibility of recovering their full rights as citizens), while putting it about that an amnesty will be proclaimed at the time of the marriage of the duc d’Aumale. Armand Barbès, Martin Bernard, Auguste Blanqui and some 32 others are excluded from the pardon.

9 December. Auguste Blanqui, transferred since 18 March to Tours, where he remains in hospital, is given a pardon. He refuses it and it is never ratified by the royal court.

29 December. Creation in Paris of Conciliation Boards for the metals and related industries.


January. La Réforme launches “The Workers’ Petition” in the workshops of Paris.

9 January. Publication of the Le Fraternité in Paris, (Brige, then later on Savary, Mallarmé, etc).

9 June. Beginning of a strike of the Parisian carpenters for wage increases. For the first time, the military are placed at the disposal of the employers.


30 March. Demonstration of workers in Saint-Étienne, repressed by the troop: six dead.

22 May. Demonstration of clothing workers at Elbeuf for the destruction of machines which are causing unemployment.

July. Théodore Dezamy dissolves the Communistes égalitaires. The following year there are efforts to continue it.

August. New economic crisis approaching a food shortage.

30 September. Demonstration in the suburb of Saint-Antoine against increases in the price of bread; troops intervene. The rioters are to be imprisoned.

21-23 November. Grain riots in Tours, to be followed by the arrest of members of the workers’ unions (Jean-François Béasse, Étienne Bonnin, Pierre Boucher, Louis Desmoulins, Eugene Vieillefond).


13-14 January. Peasant riots in Buzançais (Indre); the crowd puts to death a landowner who had killed a rioter. Three rioters will be tried and executed on 16 April.

26-29 April. The trial at Blois. Blanqui is acquitted but refuses to be set free. He will remain in Blois until February 25, 1848.

8 June. Proclamation of the preliminary opposition of the Peasant banquets.

27 June. Riots caused by the raising of prices of the bread in Mulhouse; repressed by troops; there are several deaths.

9 July. First reformist banquet in Paris.

31 August-7 September. Popular riots in rue Saint-Honoré in Paris.


Key days in 1830

Chronology from Le Maitron of key dates in French labour history

Author: Stéphane Sirot, additional material by Michel Cordillot, René Lemarquis and Claude Pennetier with Steve Jefferys (italicised)

January 19 The first extreme cold period of the year that began on December 6 1829 ends.

February 7 The government decides to seize Algiers.

February 8 The second extreme cold period of the year that began on January 24 ends.

February 15 The Globe set up by Paul-François Dubois and Pierre Leroux becomes a daily.

February James Fazy and Antony Thouret‘s newspaper La Revolution first appears.

May 16 Charles X dissolves the Chamber of Deputies after 221 deputies voted against his ministers.

May 25 The French expeditionary force of 38,000 soldiers embarks at Toulon to attack Algiers.

June 23-July 19 The new elections give outright majority to the liberal opposition to Charles X with 274 deputies out of 428.

July 5 Algiers is taken and Algeria becomes a French colony. This colonisation without consulting the British leads their ambassador to not give support to Charles X during the July Revolution; the expedition also weakens the number of loyal troops based in and around Paris. The news reaches Paris on July 9.

July 25 Under Article 14 of the 1814 Constitutional Charter that allowed the King to rule by decree, Charles X signed four decrees at St Cloud to restrict press freedom to cut the number of voters (by excluding patents from the possessions that counted towards taxable wealth), to dissolve the new Chamber of Deputies and to set up a new reactionary government.

July 26 The new ordinances were published, sparking a protest letter signed by 44 journalists from 12 newspapers who met in the National office in the Rue St Marc. They included Leroux of the Saint-Simonian Le Globe and Thiers of the constitutional monarchist Le National. Four newspapers (Le National, Le Temps, Le Globe and Le Journal du commerce) decide to go ahead and publish the protest letter, Thousands of copies are then distributed in the streets.

July 27-28-29 The ‘Glorious Three days’. Barricades across Paris. Louis-Philippe replaced Charles X in August.

July 27 The Commerce Law Court declares the ordinances restricting the electorate of the merchant and commercial classes was contrary to the 1814 Charter and was not obligatory. In the printing districts a large number of print workers found themselves unemployed, and angry, unleashed a Paris-wide insurrection threatening the government and ministers. A big crowd gathered in the gardens of the Palais-Royal and are cleared by mounted troops. In the early afternoon, after troops killed one man and wounded three others, the first barricade was built in the Rue Saint-Honoré, turning over a builders’ rubble cart that had been waiting for the troops to pass.

That night barricades were built across Paris, using paving stones and tree trunks where they could be cut. Meanwhile Charles X’s new military commander, Marmont, the hated Duke of Raguse, dispersed his 15,000 troops to key places such as the Place du Carrousel, the Place Louis XVI (Concorde), the Bastille square, the Place Vendome and the Pont Neuf.

July 28 As Paris students, workers and shopkeepers armed themselves fighting took place near the Town Hall that Marmont attempted to retake, and in the Rue Saint-Denis and Rue Saint Martin in an effort to clear Rue St Honoré. By early afternoon the troops were cornered and fraternisation was beginning. But Charles X rejected proposals to negotiate.

The Town Hall was occupied and the fearful government ministers escaped back to the Tuileries Palace. At nightfall Marmont organised a difficult retreat to a defensive rectangle stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Louvre, with the Rue St Honoré and the Seine its north and south limits. Altogether some 800 insurgents had been killed and 4,500 wounded in the fighting, while 200 soldiers were killed and 800 wounded.

Large numbers of Parisians spent the night building still more barricades which in some places were every 20 metres apart, making it very difficult for the troops to move their artillery. Eyewitnesses suggested after the event that there were 4,000 barricades built in total during the July revolution.

July 29 The Louvre, the Tuileries Palace, the Rue de Babylone barracks are all taken by the insurgents. Printworkers destroy the mechanical presses of the Royal Printworks. The kings’ troops retreat to the Bois de Boulogne. Lafayette is named commander of the National Guard (that had been dissolved in 1827). At the Town Hall he declares that ‘the Royal family has ceased to reign’.

July 30 The republican club called Friends of the People is set up by Étienne Arago, Auguste Blanqui and others as a response to the call made by the constitutional monarchists Laffitte, Thiers and nearly all the 50 deputies still in Paris for the Duke of Orleans to become the ‘lieutenant-general’ of France.

July 31 The last attempt to prevent Lafayette from transferring power to Louis-Philippe fails. Lafayette gives his support for the new Orleans monarchy from the balcony of the Town Hall.

August 7 The Chamber of Deputies voted 219 to 33 to offer the vacant throne to Louis-Philippe d’Orléans on condition that he undertakes to respect an amended 1814 Charter which he does at the Palais-Royal that evening.

August 9 The official proclamation of the establishment of the July Monarchy and Louis-Philippe 1 takes places two days at the Palais Bourbon in front of the two chambers of deputies and of lords.

August 14 The new Charter becomes law. The suffrage is extended to another 250,000 French men, of whom 58,000 pay the higher taxes required to become eligible to stand as a deputy.

July-November Strikes take place for higher wages and the reduction of the working day in Rouen, Darnetal, Paris, Roubaix and Limoges. Some printing and weaving machines are borken.

October 17-20 Considerable unrest in Paris breaks out as the trial of Charles X’s ministers is announced. Posters appear on the walls again in the workers’ districts inciting citizens to arm themselves to reconquer the rights they have again been denied. Demonstrators occupy the Palais-Royal and then march on the Vincennes Chateau where the four ministers were imprisoned.

November 4 Charles Philipon launches the weekly satirical newspaper La Caricature that becomes increasingly critical of the July Monarchy for failing to live up to its promises, and published many of Daumier’s drawings.

December 15-21 The trial of the ministers takes place before the Chamber of Lords at the Luxembourg Palace. They are sentenced to life imprisonment.

December 21-22 A new wave of poster proclamations aimed at ‘the People’ and calling on the workers’ districts to take action and demanding an elected assembly representing these districts renewable every year. Some very violent worker and student demonstrations take place followed by a large number of arrests.




The rise of Republicanism, Socialism and Feminism. Key dates

On August 7 1830 Louis-Philippe agreed to a new Constitutional Charter. This promised freedom of the press and declared that censorship would never be re-established. Within weeks there was an explosion of papers with political cartoons.

On November 4 1830 Charles Philipon launched a weekly newspaper, La Caricature, whose four pages of text were accompanied by two of lithographs.

A month later the government reacted. On December 4 1830 it restored the stamp duty tax on newspapers and re-introduced censorship. Philipon’s response in the Foam of July cartoon above showed Louis-Philippe blowing bubbles of many of the unfulfilled promises in the Charter: popular elections, mayoral elections, an end to ‘jobs for the boys’.

Philipon was acquitted for this cartoon but was arrested again. On November 14 1831 he first drew Louis-Philippe as an image transformed into a pear. He was jailed for a year in January 1832 at Sainte-Pelagie prison, where he was joined by Daumier for his cartoon, Gargantua.

Daumier’s 1831 cartoon showing Louis-Philippe demanding ever more in taxes while excreting increasingly authoritarian laws earned the artist six months in prison

The Orléans monarchy deceived those who had hoped the relatively bloodless July Revolution would lead to a constitutional monarchy and deeply angered the Republicans who had been sceptical from the outset. At the same time, industrialisation was beginning to transform small bits of France, particularly its major towns and Paris. The scene was being set for the re-emergence of French radical republicanism and its more edgy components, socialist and feminist thought and organisation.

The slow growth of an increasingly impoverished urban working class, the much more rapid growth of a wealthy upper class of merchants, financiers and of the lawyers on whom they depended, coupled with the spread of literacy and connectivity through railway travel all occurred against living memories of revolutionary democracy, secularism and of Napoleonic modernity.

The young who had been the first to support the insurrection and even to die in 1830 were the first to experience disillusion. The change of King had neither removed aristocratic privilege nor did it guarantee a free critical press.

Many workers were resisting the commodification of their lives that followed the development of huge workplaces in which they had no rights to collectively resist or to make collective demands.

Many young middle and working class women not only experienced the same disenfranchisement that their male peers did, but considered that the enlightenment and French Revolutionary calls for full male franchise, freedom and democracy should also apply to their gender.


Rue Beaubourg

Arrondissement 3

Number 62 (site of 12 Rue Transnonain)

On the site of No 62 on April 14 1834 the dozen occupants of a house in the now demolished Rue Transonain were massacred in their beds by King Louis-Philippe’s troops

In 1830 Louis-Philippe was presented the crown of France by the timid reformers who had been pushed into presiding over the downfall of Charles X. But they were not able to suppress the republican pressure to get rid of the monarchical system of privileges and power that was particularly strong in urban areas.

In Lyon on 9 April 1834 a demonstration protesting against new authoritarian laws inhibiting press freedom that was organised by the Society for the Rights of Man and by the Executive Committee of the local workers friendly societies led to mass rioting that appeared to be building up to an insurrection.

Barricades started to appear in Paris on 13 April 1834 and Louis Philippe’s government decided on savage repression. After an infantry captain was wounded by a shot from a window near a barricade in the Rue Transnonain every person found in the house from which the soldiers thought the shot had been fired was killed (12) or wounded (24) (with the victims including old men and women as well as children).

The ‘butchery of Rue Transnonain’ was captured, famously, by Honoré Daumier in a print that could not be censored and became an instant success as well as a tribute to Daumier’s art and politics.

Daumier sketched the 14 April 1834 massacre of men, women and children at 12 rue Transnonain by Louis-Philippe’s troops


Rue de la Clef / Sainte-Pélagie prison

Arrondissement 5

Number 56, site of Sainte-Pélagie prison

The Sainte-Pélagie prison in Rue de la Clef sketched in the 18th century before it became a welcomed prison of choice for 19th century political prisoners

In 1821 the songwriter and pamphleteer Pierre-Jean de Béranger spent three months at Sainte-Pélagie for an oblique political criticism of Louis XVIII. In 1832 Honoré Daumier is placed there. With cholera appearing in the prison a revolt organised by prisoners from the secret Society of the Friends of the People (Société des amis du people) that year led to one death. Hazan (WTP) writes that ‘under the Restoration and the July monarchy… all the opposition leaders passed’ through this prison.

Hazan (IOP) explains that when another prison to accommodate debtors was built in 1826 in the Rue de Clichy in the 9th arrondissement, ‘Creditors who requested the incarceration of a debtor were required to pay thirty francs a month for the prisoner’s maintenance’.

Honoré Daumier spent six months there in 1832 for his political caricatures attacking the new king Louis-Philippe.

Daumier was jailed for this 1831 and other cartoons suggesting King Louis Philippe is as good as his Bourbon cousins at impoverishing people

164 arrests of republicans were made after the riots that followed the rue Transonain massacre of April 1834. Among those jailed at Sainte-Pélagie were Arago, Victor Schoelcher, Barbès and Godefroy de Cavaignac. Barbès organised an escape by 28 of them through a tunnel in July 1835.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a political prisoner held there from 1849 to 1852. After first fleeing to Belgium he returned to marry Euphrasie Piégard while still in jail.

Elisée Reclus was held there after the 1871 Paris Commune on his way to deportation. Gustave Courbet was jailed there from June 1871 to March 1872 after he was arrested at his hiding place in the Rue St Gilles.

Auguste Blanqui was held there in 1831, 1832 and 1836 and again from 1861 to 1865 when he escaped and went into exile in Belgium until the end of the Second Empire.

Sainte-Pélagie prison courtyard in 1880

Jules Guesde was held there in 1878 in the section of the prison called Pavillion des Princes, entered through 2-14 rue due Puits de l’Érmite (roughly where 3-15 rue Lacépède is today).

On 30 July 1891 Paul Lafargue lost his appeal against a year’s imprisonment for an ‘inflammatory’ speech made after the killing of 10 demonstrators by troops on a May Day march in the Northern textile town, Fourmies.

From the Concièrgerie, where he was held initially, Lafargue was finally sent to Sainte-Pélagie. This was to his great relief, since it was still a political prison. He had access to books and newspapers, and hot and cold water for washing and taking baths.

Sainte-Pélagie prison in 1898 shortly before its demolition


Rue du Croissant

Arrondissement 2

Numbers 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 20

This street with an amazing history was named after a café sign of a crescent moon with gold stars that hung outside No. 12 way back in 1612.

More recently it became a major centre of left republican and socialist publications. The office of Le Charivari (1832-1893) where Honoré Daumier and other caricaturists worked was at No. 16. This was also the address of Le Siècle, whose office was used for the historic meeting on February 21 1848 that decided to resort to arms if troops were used against the banqueteers.

On September 9 1870 Henri Rochefort printed the first issue of La Marseillaise at No. 16. At about the same time Auguste Blanqui was printing La Patrie en Danger at No. 13.

Under the Commune in 1871 the street became full of daily and weekly newspapers. Henri Rochefort published Le Mot d’Ordre at No. 8. La Mère Duchêne was printed at
No 10.

L’ami du Peuple (originally the title of Marat’s publication in the French Revolution) was also printed at No. 13, where people could also buy Le Cri du Peuple and La Fédération, the journal of the National Guard’s Republican Federation. Its press also printed the newspapers La Sociale and La souveraineté du Peuple. Le Père Duchêne was launched at No. 16 and then banned a week later on March 12 1871. The satirical paper Le Grelot was published at No 20.

Later, under the Third Republic in 1884-1886, the L’Intransigeant, involving Rochefort and Nathalie Le Mel, was published at No 12. This initially left paper evolved rapidly towards the extreme right.

‘Newspaper Printing Works’ is still proudly displayed above the modern door to 16 rue du Croissant, former home of L’Humanité.

In 1910 the building at No 16 housed the editorial and business offices of l’Humanité.  This was where its founder, Jean Jaurès , was about to go when he was assassinated on July 31 1914 at the Café du Croissant on the corner with rue Montmartre.

The site where Jean Jaurès’ assassin fired two bullets through a café window in the street on the right of my photograph.


Père Lachaise Cemetery

Arrondissement 20

East Cemetery

Opened in 1804 this world famous cemetery gets its name from Louis XIV’s Jesuit priest confessor from 1675 to 1709, François d’Aix de La Chaize. This was the period when the Sun King, having decided that anyone who was not a Catholic was the ‘enemy within’, revoked the 1598 Edict of Nantes that had tolerated protestants. While discriminatory measures took off from 1661, persecutions intensified from 1679 leading up to the 1685 revocation in the Edict of Fontainebleau. One per cent of the population, some 200,000 Huguenots were then forced out of France.

The Jesuits bought the land on the Mont-aux-Vignes hill to the North-East of Paris in the 16th century. After the young King Louis XIV had spent a few hours there the hill was renamed the Mont-Louis, and this was where Louis’ confessor, Father La Chaise, lived and died.

In 1780, finally, all cemeteries within the city walls were closed. As Consul Napoleon decreed that cemeteries should be open to all faiths and to the poor as well as the rich. In 1803 the land on the hill was acquired by the Prefect of the Seine department and the design of the cemetery entrusted to Alexandre-Theodore Brongiart.

The Père La Chaise opened for its first burial on June 4 1804. That year there were only 13 tombs. In 1815 still only 2,000. In 1830 there were 33,000 and after several expansions some 70,000 in 2014.


Rue Rochechouart

Arrondissement 9

Number 42

The street was originally opened on land belonging to the Abbey and then named after the 17th century 43rd abbess of the Montmartre Abbey, Marguerite de Rochechouart de Montpipeau. It only began to be built up in the 18th century was then incorporated into Paris in 1863.

Honoré Daumier lived at No 42 for the last ten years of his life.

Daumier lived at No 42 from 1863 to 1879. It became a theatre and music hall and was the meeting place where Engels and others founded the Second International in 1889.

The same address welcomed the founding meeting of the Second International which Engels and others called., and set the objective of the 8 hour day for all workers This was on the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, in 1889, and took place in the theatre at the address that, ominously, was called Fantaisies parisiennes.

Ben Bella was hidden by Algerian friends in the street in 1952 on his way to Switzerland.


Rue Saint-Denis

Arrondissement 1, 2

Numbers: 20, 79, 90, 92bis, 93-99, 120, 151, 221, 237/239,

This is one of the earliest known streets in Paris. It was named after an abbey built on the site of a Roman Villa directly to the north of the Roman city of Lutetia. Many believed the villa was the burial site of the Italian evangelist Denis who came to Paris between AD 250 and 270, and was its first Bishop and martyr. So in 630 King Dagobert (of the Franks in what is now northern France) started to build a huge basilica on the spot and called it Saint-Denis. When he died in 639 he was buried there.

From that year on until the French Revolution when the body of the guillotined Louis XVI was disposed off in a quicklime pit, all French kings were buried in the St Denis Basilica. The church was also used to crown the King’s Queen and the road from it into Paris was also always used by the royal family for their processions into Paris, and so was known as the ‘royal route’.

Today the St Denis road begins its journey to the north of Paris at the Place du Châtelet where it is crossed by the Avenue Victoria. It used to go right down to the ‘Grand-Pont’ (Big Bridge) that from the 9th century crossed the wider reach of the Seine and accessed the central island, the Ile du Cite. That bridge was washed away several times and finally replaced by the Pont au Change.

The northern end of the road is at the magnificent Porte St-Denis, a huge triumphal arch created by Louis XIV in 1672 on the site of a major fortified gateway through the (now demolished) Charles V defensive wall that protected the right bank of Paris. The photograph of the arch above was taken in the 1930s.

On June 23 1848 one of the main barricades of the workers’ insurrection against the closure of the national workshops blocked the Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle from being used to move troops from West to East Paris where the movement was strongest. It was defended by engineers who worked on the Northern Railway Company, and was only taken by the government’s troops after their canon had fired 80 shots at the barricade.

This painting by Nicolas Edward Gabé (1814-1865) captures the moment when a woman picked up the insurrectionists’ flag on the barricade at the Porte St Denis and challenged the soldiers to kill her – which they did.

The Rue St Denis continues beyond the Porte’s Arch northwards towards the Saint-Denis suburb. From this point it becomes the Rue du Faubourg St-Denis which runs as far as the Boulevard de la Chapelle.

Number 20 used to be the entrance to the Halles Centrales café and concert hall, where Blanqui spoke at several meetings in 1870.

The weekly anarchist journal Le Libertaire that had resumed publication on December 21 1944, thanks to the financial support of Georges Brassens, was able to install itself alongside the Libertarian Communist Federation in an office at No. 79 in March 1954. Series 5 of the paper finally stopped publication on July 12 1956.

Subsequently, from 1960 to 1976, No. 79 became the headquarters of the exiled Spanish anarcho-syndicalists who believed that the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo should work with the exiled government.

One of the few barricades built by the leftists who participated in the Society of Seasons uprising on Sunday May 12 1839 led by Blanqui and Barbes was at No. 90. It blocked the road at the junction with the Rue de la Grande Truanderie.

The 1839 barricade was just next door to the one built at No 92 bis in front of the St Leu church on November 19 1827. This was the first barricade in Paris since 1795 and was put up after troops were ordered to remove all signs put up in houses celebrating the liberal victory in Paris in the November 17 legislative elections. The resulting riot was put down with a cavalry charge and some gunfire in which a young Blanqui was wounded by a bullet in the neck.

At the principal barricade built across the road at No. 120 on the same day the 18th regiment fired at the defenders, killing four of its defenders.

No. 151 (or No. 153 or No. 243 where the family lived soon afterwards as is suggested in the Paris birth records) was the birthplace of Léon Blum on April 9 1872. Then, like today, it was in the heart of the Parisian textile and clothing industry. But where once it was predominantly Jewish, today the businesses in the area are largely of North African origins.

A sad plaque on a modernised building that does not indicate that Blum was Jewish, a Socialist or that he was France’s prime minister in 1936

The bloody week that ended the Paris Commune took its toll at No. 199. This was where a barricade was built across the corner with what is now the Rue Réaumur saw serious fighting on May 24 1871. Another barricade at No. 237/239 that crossed to the Passage du Caire covered alleyway was defended by the Commune’s 92nd battalion.

After Honoré Daumier was released from Ste Pélagie prison in 1833 he lived in an artists’ house including Narcisse Virgilio Diaz at No. 221.

As long ago as the Middle Ages the central Paris area around Rue Saint-Denis, Rue Grenata, the Rue aux Ours and the Rue de Saint-Martin was known as the ‘Huleu’ (screeching) quarter because of the prostitutes calling out for clients as men passed by. The women used to hire covered wooden stands, and men climbing on to the stand went ‘en bords’ (onboard). This was the origin of the now internationally recognised word ‘bordel‘ (brothel). Paris counted some 50,000 prostitutes by the mid-19th century.

For me, the southern part of the road near what used to be the huge Les Halles market still conjures up memories of that night in 1962 when I and my close school friend David walked on a cool dark summer night, with money in our pockets, determined to lose our virginities. I was quite amazed to find that more than 50 years later, despite the removal of the Halles market and the gentrification of central Paris, Tripadvisor is actually still selling the area as the place to go to see ‘Paris nightlife’.

Plus d’informations



Gustave Courbet sketched this self-portrait at Sainte-Pélagie prison after the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871. He was one of many artists who supported the Commune and is in a line of socialist, anarchist and communist artists who lived and/or worked in Paris and contributed their visions of a world transformed

References to include: Eugène Delacroix

In 1895 Toulouse-Lautrec painted one of a series he had begun in 1889 commissioned by the Moulin Rouge at the Place Blanche. In it he inserted (bottom right) tributes to the editor of La Revue Blanche, Félix Fénéon, and to his friend, Oscar Wilde (second bottom left), whom he had met and painted in London the day before Wilde was jailed for indecency.
Portrait of Felix Feneon by his former fellow political prisoner charged with anarchist sympathies Maximilien Luce. This was pained in 1901