In the Neighborhood of the Sans-Culottes
In 1794, Pierre Petit Jr. lived at #5, a maker of hand-held fans like his father. He was 36 years old. In 1795, he was arrested for “constantly speaking out in favor of murder and pillage” with Jacques Roux. Pierre Petit was, in reality, the victim of the repression that descended upon those who had taken up arms in the spring of 1795 in order to demand the return of social measures and the application of the democratic constitution from 1793.
Two steps away from the Hôtel de Ville, the Gravilliers neighborhood was on the forefront of the revolutionary movement. Here, one could find radical sans-culottes, who were at that time scornfully nicknamed the “Enraged”: modest citizens that dreamed of a democratic and social republic. Led by the former priest, Jacques Roux, they fought for this utopia while civil war raged on between 1793 and 1795. All along this street, you can discover the lives of these small shopkeepers and artisans whom are often forgotten.
5 rue des Gravilliers
The Hôtel de Ville and its neighborhood
Free People of Color Speak Out
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A saddler under surveillance
During the Revolution, Louis-Julien Piot, a modest saddler, lived at #18: he fashioned leather goods in his workshop. He was part of his section’s civil committee, a kind of neighborhood organization. In 1795, he was arrested for having participated in popular insurrections. Five years later, he was even suspected of having been involved in the bomb attack on Bonaparte on December 24, 1800. Released on bail, he was constantly monitored by the police like other radical republicans.
Merchant and militant
Marie Desguilleux was a cotton merchant. If she lived at 48 rue des Gravilliers, it was in the Saint-Antoine neighborhood where she was arrested on May 23, 1795 with several other sans-culottes, after having participated in a large popular insurrection. She was finally released two months later.