A Prison during the Revolution

In 1789, the block of buildings currently occupied by the Françoise-Sagan multimedia library was the “Saint-Lazare monastery”: a religious establishment dedicated to helping the poor and sick. On November 2, 1789, it experienced the fate of other religious establishments: it became national property. The Lazarist monks had to leave the premises three years later. The monastery was then turned into a prison.



Garden outside the Françoise Sagan multimedia library, 8 Rue Léon Schwartzenberg


Temple and its Neighborhood
Unfair Taxes

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Who wants to starve the people?

Everyone knew it: the Saint-Lazare monastery was one of the few places authorized to store wheat before it was sold in the Parisian markets. It was a location that was watched with envy and suspicion, especially when there were bread shortages, like in the spring of 1789: what if there were more reserves than were actually reported? What would happen if people stopped trying to stockpile all the bread in order to increase prices and get wealthy from starvation? During the night of July 12-13, 1789, with the impending fear of the revolution’s repression, Parisian patriots started looking for weapons. And food: the insurgents forced opened the doors of the Saint-Lazare monastery and distributed wheat.

Pillage of the Saint-Lazare Monastery on July 13, 1789

A political prison

In 1793, the Saint-Lazare monastery was transformed into another political prison among many in Paris. Those who were imprisoned here were accused of opposing the Republican régime, which could lead to the scaffold: faced with civil war, a state of emergency was implemented. Individual liberties came second to the survival of the Republic. Incarcerated before being released, the painter Hubert Robert depicted several scenes of daily life in the Saint-Lazare prison.

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