Chez Desmoulins

9 August 2010

A very lovely reader of this blog, Katherine, has just emailed me an English translation of the early years of Lucile Desmoulins’ journal, which I am exceedingly grateful for as I am having problems getting hold of a French copy, let alone an English one! Thanks so much!

I’m still working on my book about Lucile and Camille in between my literary attempts and thought some of you might like some photographs that I took this June of the outside of their apartment on the Place de l’Odéon in Paris.

The Rue de l’Odéon, leading up to the Place de l’Odéon at the end, with the Théatre de l’Odéon at the end. The house in which the Desmoulins couple lived in an apartment can be seen at the end of the street on the right hand side.

Camille and Lucile lived together in this apartment throughout their married life together, it was here that their son Horace was born and here, too that they were both arrested and taken to their doom.

Even though the city has moved on since the dark days of the Terror, you can still imagine Camille and Lucile here together, walking through the square on a summer’s evening with their friend Danton, their son in their arms and a nod and a friendly greeting for everyone who might walk past. It is said that the people of the district went into mourning when Danton and the Desmoulins couple were taken away and executed, so loved and familiar were they on the streets of the Left Bank.

A few yards away from Camille’s apartment on the Place de l’Odéon, lies Lucile’s childhood home at 22 Rue de Condé where she was born and grew up alongside her sister, Adèle. Local legend suggests that during her adolescence, Camille was able to see her bedroom window from his own and the two would blow kisses across the rooftops as she tended her obligatory Parisian pots of red geraniums that stood on her windowsill.

You can just see the plaque in this photograph, a permanent and rather unexpected tribute to the life of Lucile Desmoulins.

I wonder what it is like inside those apartments and who lives in them now? I wonder if any trace of their original appearance remains? Let me know if you’ve ever been inside!

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