The Belhomme, a Prison for the Rich
If you enter the Square Colbert, you will see an old building towards the back: the Belhomme pavilion. During the French Revolution, a kind of prisoner asylum was located here. Throughout the civil war (1793-1794), prisons were overflowing: so new sites were opened. Already housing those who were then called “mental patients,” the carpenter Belhomme reconfigured the premises for a fee. Even if there is no luxury here, the detention conditions were often less harsh than in regular prisons. Above all, a person could hope to be forgotten by revolutionary justice. They still needed to be able to pay though… Even the lawyer Simon-Nicolas-Henri Linguet, known before the Revolution as one of the most vocal opponents of the absolute monarchy and one of Belhomme’s prisoners, was not able to escape the fate of the guillotine.
159 rue de Charonne