12.1.12

Buildings with history



The nice building where the main entrance now leads to a super-market – and where one of the side entrances lead to a rather newly, by David Lynch, opened club (“Silencio”), used to be the successive homes of some leading newspapers. We are rue Montmartre which with the neighbor streets used to be the “Wall Street area” of Paris (see previous post). Before the present building, there was a market here and even before that, a cemetery where Molière was buried, before he much later was brought to the Père Lachaise Cemetery (see previous post).

The building is especially known for a specific event linked to the enormous “Dreyfus Affair”, a political scandal which divided French opinions in the 1890s and the early 1900s. Captain Alfrèd Dreyfus was erroneously condemned for treason with the (German) enemy in 1894 and sent to solitary confinement in French Guiana. It was later made clear that all the accusations were false, inspired by anti-Semitist feelings, false documents… What really started to make things change was an article written by Emile Zola, published January 13, 1898, by the newspaper which then occupied the premises, “L’Aurore”.  Emile Zola presented his manuscript to the owner and the editor of “L’Aurore”, Georges Clemenceau, and it was published - addressed to the French President, Félix Faure - on the front page the following day. Emile Zola was prosecuted for this article, condemned and spent some time in England to avoid imprisonment.  
There is a lot to be said about Emile Zola. I have posted about his involvement in what was to become the impressionism (here), about his tomb at the Montmartre Cemetery (here), which was his place of rest before he was brought to the Pantheon (see previous post). ... but if you really want to learn something about him, especially about the author he was, you could go here.
Georges Clemenceau had also a rich life between being a medical doctor, journalist, politician, Prime Minister, a major voice designing the Treaty of Versailles after WWI…, nicknamed “The Tiger”, “Father Victory”….  Again, if you wish, go here for further reading.


Alfred Dreyfus could return to France after five years, but it took considerable time and several trials before he was completely exonerated. He spent his last years in the building you can see below (17th arrdt.) and his grave is at the Montparnasse Cemetery (see previous post). To read more about him, you can go here.

Neighbour to the previous newspaper building is a bar, a restaurant, which those days used to be full of journalists, printers…
The bar, “Le Croissant”,   became famous in 1914, when a leading French politician, Jean Jaurès, was shot down here. He was killed July 29, 1914. The day before, what was to become WWI had opened with the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia. The day after, the German Empire started to mobilize and three days later France did the same…  
Jaurès was well-known as a pacifist and antimilitarist (and pro-Dreyfus), one of the leaders of the socialist movements. He was also the founder – in 1904 - and until his death the boss of the daily socialist newspaper “L’Humanité”. (“L’Humainté” still exists, but is since 1920 the official voice of the Communist Party.)  He had made a lot of efforts to avoid the war. It was a time of mixed feelings, pro-war, anti-war. The man who shot him down, while he - after having finished his job at the nearby newspaper – enjoyed his dessert, was a young pro-war nationalist.
Also Jaurès was brought to the Pantheon - ten years after his death. If you want further details about Jean Jaurès, you can go here.
Today, the bar is still there. It’s an ordinary bar, but you can find a plate on the wall and, inside, some “souvenirs” in a glass-case.


























20 comments:

Olivier said...

c'est pour cela que l'on dit que Paris est une ville musée

Thirtytwo degrees said...

C'est vrai, Olivier.
Certainment.

Studio at the Farm said...

Fascinating bits of history, Peter. Thank you!

ALAIN said...

Un quartier qui a perdu beaucoup de son charme après le départ de la presse, puis de la Bourse. Je l'ai connu très animé.

claude said...

L'histoire des beaux immeubles de Paris et de ses cimetières et l'histoire tout court. Article very interesting, Peter !

Paris Paul said...

Ah, Zola! My all time favorite French writer. I read all of the 20 volumes of Les Rougon-Macquart series (in French) over a 3-5 year period and loved them all. On top of that, one can admire him as a man in addition to being a great artist.

As for Le Croissant, is there still a marker on the floor to sow the exact place Jaurès fell?

Cergie said...

Patrick a commencé sa carrière à Paris pas loin, rue Danielle Casanova, il traversait l'atelier de Villemot l'affichiste pour se rendre à son bureau aux boiseries Louis XIII. Quelle chance de côtoyer l'Histoire avec un grand H, celle de l'art aussi !

Cergie said...

(Villemot travaillait alors encore dans son atelier)

La Petite Gallery said...

This is a wonderful post. I resd all about Dreyfus story and the
famous Emile Zola. That is such a beautiful building. I have pictures of a building in Moscow
that looks very much like this one. Gorgeous. Europe has saved history. I grew up in Texas, they have taste in their mouth only. All our history was bulldozed for ugly buildings. I love Paris.
yvonne

Bettina said...

What an interesting history lesson, Peter.
I love these old buildings where you can still see whar they used to be and it is great fun to go to a café where there's a history involved.

hpy said...

Des belles bâtisses.

Ola said...

oh, wow, what beatiful sculptures!

Cezar and Léia said...

Awesome reportage Peter, thanks a lot!
*** I love those ninfas ( sculptures ).
Hugs and a nice weekend!

Valerie said...

Thanks for the history lesson Peter. While the names mentioned were familiar to me, I had forgotten why (put that down to advancing years!) Great images too. Have a great weekend.

DeniseCovey_L'Aussie said...

Hi Peter. Thank you for this wonderful mix of history and images of my favourite city in the world. Bring it on.

Denise

Thanks for following!

Eleanor Matthews said...

Thank you for the history lesson...a great accompaniment to your photo. I'll look for this facade on my next trip.

Catherine said...

A great history lesson - thanks and greetings from the riviera

Maria O. Russell said...

¡Una muy amena y fantastica manera de contar la historia!

Mil gracias Peter

Nathalie said...

Superbe, la façade de LA FRANCE, journal du soir. Le hard discount Dia jure un peu avec, mais tant mieux si on trouve aussi du hard discount à Paris je pense...
Encore une passionnante leçon d'histoire joliment illustrée.

Trotter said...

It's definitely wonderful to live in a city full of history!!