Rue Nationale

Arrondissement 13

Number 79

Initially called the Rue des Deux Moulins (the Two Mill road) the road at the bottom left of this image was extended to the Boulevard Massena by Haussmann in 1863 and then renamed the Rue Nationale in 1870. This south-facing photograph shows its junction with the Avenue d’Ivry on the right of the red building, built on the site of the Panhard & Levassor factory.

Hazan (WTP) describes finding the site of the former Panhard & Levassor factory on the Boulevard Massena at the corner between the Avenue d’Ivry and the Rue Nationale. The 1891 three-level structure has been preserved.

This is not the case with the rest of the area. But even so, unlike most of inner Paris, it has not been gentrified. From the 1970s many migrant boat-people from Vietnam settled in the area between Rue de Tolbiac (to the West), the Rue Nationale (to the North East) and the Avenue d’Italie (to the South).

In 2017, the Marguerite-Durand historical library of gender and feminism, named after the founder of La Fronde in 1897, survived an attempt to close it. Its wealth of archives can be found at 79 Rue Nationale. After nearly two years of works the library re-opens on December 3 2019.



Women ready to fight at a barricade in the Rochechouart district in May 1871

From 1791 French feminists argued for their natural rights. In the 1830s and 1840s many women campaigned for equality and the vote. Many saw the 1871 Commune as a route to equality and fought on the barricades. In 1909 a French women’s suffrage movement was established. France’s senate rejects giving women the vote in 1922 , 1935 and 1936. The vote was finally given by the 1945 Fourth Republic constitution. In 1975 women win the right to have an abortion. In 2017 French women’s average wage was still 24% less than men’s, and their pensions are 42% lower.

Marthe Bigot

1878-1962, Montargis (Loiret)

Teacher, feminist, and anti-war activist during World War I. Founder member of the Communist Party, which she left in 1926. A campaigner for female suffrage, she organised women’s candidacies at elections, taking up a pre-war tradition, and in March 1922 presented her own “symbolic candidacy” in the Paris municipal elections; unable to hold her own meetings she demanded speaking rights at those of other candidates, and despite being ineligible as a woman came third in the vote.