A Forgotten Cemetery

Today, only a plaque remains. However, during the Revolution, everyone knew its name: the Mousseaux cemetery was located only forty-odd meters from the Monceau tollgate and the Chartres rotunda. After the Madeleine cemetery was closed in the spring of 1794, it was here where the bodies of those guillotined on the Place de la Révolution (now Concorde) were buried. Some were high-profile figures: before their remains were stacked up in the municipal ossuary of the Paris catacombs in the 19th century, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Desmoulins and Danton cohabited here. In 1859, the cemetery was destroyed in order to build the Boulevard de Courcelles.

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The Terror and the taste for the macabre

Like other sites from the Terror (1793-1794), the Errancis cemetery inspired a specific type of literature. Read often by the victims’ families, as well as many readers throughout Europe, the “dark” or “gothic” novels dramatized the horrors of the Revolution. Like Le Cimetière de Mousseaux, a story written in 1801, in which bloody decapitated heads, dismembered bodies and the tears of the victims’ families played leading roles!

Paris, a New Sparta: the Ecole de Mars

The Ecole de Mars Encampment on the Sablons Plain
The Ecole de Mars Encampment on the Sablons Plain

When the Revolution broke out, the Royal Military Academy founded under Louis XV was abandoned. In its place, revolutionaries created the Ecole de Mars military academy, located on the Sablons plain, near Neuilly. It claimed to be more democratic: it was no longer there just to educate young nobles, but the sons of deserving sans-culottes as well, in order to turn them into officers as well as good Republicans. Inaugurated with great pomp and circumstance in 1794, the academy only remained open a few months.

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