Orléans monarchy, republicans, socialists and feminists
The cartoon above of Louis-Philippe blowing soap bubbles of the broken promises of the 1830 July Revolution led to its creator’s arrest and trial for ‘insulting the king’ in May 1831
On August 7 1830 Louis-Philippe issued a new Constitutional Charter. This promised freedom of the press and declared that censorship would never be reestablished. 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.
Within weeks 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.
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.
For centuries before 1881 its name was the New Road of the Mathurins (rue Neuve-des-Mathurins) after a farm that had belonged to Mathurin monks who took the name of the 4th century martyr, Mathurin of Larchant. This Saint was very very popular in the Middle Ages, supposedly because of his prowess in healing madness and anxiety, and was the patron saint of clowns.
Daniel Stern, author of the History of the 1848 Revolution, was Marie d’Agoult. Under the July monarchy (1830-1848) she used to host a salon at No. 10 that was frequented, among many others, by Victor Hugo.
George Sand was living at the Florence private house at No. 26 with Baron Casimir Dudevant when she gave birth to her son, Maurice, on June 30 1823. At the time it was owned by the former head chef of Napoleon. It is now a 3-star hotel called George Sand.
The Michel Theatre founded by Michel Mortier was in the basement of No. 38.
In February 1935 Aragon and ElsaTriolet moved into No. 18. They lived in one of the flats off the still-existing courtyard there until Aragon was called up as a medical reservist in September 1939.
As the political disagreements between Breton and Aragon deepened from 1929 onwards an emergency meeting of the organisers of the International Writers Conference took place there that brought them to a head. Breton had smacked Ilya Ehrenburg across the face for having written that all surrealists were ‘pedarists’, and the Conference committee on June 14 1935 decided to exclude Breton from the official speakers.
In 1791 the owner of the huge house at No. 27, the Marquis de Villette, a gay friend of the enlightenment philosopher and writer who had died there in 1778 , renamed the street Quai Voltaire. Villette had supported the 1789 Revolution and renounced his nobility. Elected to the Convention in 1792, Charles Villette argued for the banishment of Louis XVI, but died of what was then described as ‘melancholia’ (langeur) aged 57 in July 1793.
Alongside the plaque on No. 27 remembering Voltaire is another recalling the meetings that took place there of the leaders of the national and local police groups of Résistance Libération-Nord. This was initially the name of a clandestine newspaper, established after SFIO and non-Communist CGT trade unionists signed the Declaration of Twelve opposing the Vichy regime and the dissolution of the trade unions on November 15 1940. It became a resistance organisation in November 1941 and in 1943 was one of the eight resistance movements represented on the National Resistance Council.
29, Quai Voltaire is where Daniel Stern (Marie d’Agoult) lived in the Hôtel de Mailly-Nesle after her 1839 breakup with Franz Liszt. She ran a republican literary salon there, and in 1844 Karl Marx used to attend.
No 7 Quai Voltaire is another well-plaqued house (three). It was the home of Hubert de Lagarde, founder and head of the Resistance Eleuthère network of the Forces Françaises Combattantes . A plaque tells how he was arrested by the Gestapo on June 15 1944. This was only a few days after he had protested against the appointment of a Communist to head up the now merged FFI (French Forces of the Interior). He was tortured and then deported to Buchenwald before dying of dysentery on January 25 1945.