Sainte-Pélagie, a Prison during the Revolution
On the site of this Haussmannian building was the entrance of the Sainte-Pélagie prison: a former religious house meant for reformed prostitutes. In 1790, tribunals started to send political prisoners here, incarcerated with inmates for debts or petty theft. Madame Roland, one of the masterminds of the Girondins, as well as Madame Du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV, and even Rouget de Lisle, the author of La Marseillaise, were incarcerated as “counter-revolutionaries.” However, Sainte-Pélagie was also the prison of radical revolutionaries like Jacques Roux, the leader of the “Enraged,” Claire Lacombe, founder of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, as well as François-Noël Babeuf, aka “Gracchus Babeuf,” leader of the “Conspiracy of the Equals,” which attempted to reestablish a truly egalitarian society. Sainte-Pélagie remained a political prison under the July monarchy (1830-1848): Republicans opposing King Louis-Philippe were imprisoned here.
56 rue de la Clef (main entrance)