Revolutionizing Street Names
In 1793, revolutionaries wanted to remove all traces of the Ancien Régime’s power from the public space: did the Declaration of the Rights of Men and Male Citizens not proclaim the freedom of consciousness? Accused of influencing minds and promoting superstitions, a large portion of religious symbols (statues of the Virgin, crosses, etc.) were taken down, scratched out, hidden or destroyed. Street names were specifically targeted: here, the “rue des Coutures-Saint-Gervais” became the “rue des Coutures-Gervais.” Its religious influence was thereby removed and the street name’s origin once again became obvious with the word “coutures,” meaning cultivated land.
1 rue des Coutures saint Gervais