25 November 2011

Place des Vosges, 4th arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #38

Victor Hugo moved into the second floor of the Hôtel Rohan-Guéménée, 6 Place des Vosges, with his wife and four children in 1833. This was to be his longest stay in one place, and he left in 1848.

And I think they tend to over-emphasize the point, but:

'VICTOR HUGO
HABITA DANS CET HÔTEL
DE 1833 À 1848'

There's a great deal of information about Louise Michel in the museum, such as a booklet in the anteroom that reproduces a verse from Hugo's poem 'Vito Major', written after the fall of the Commune, in which he praises her hatred for inhumanity and her care for children, seeing a great tenderness beneath her anger:

'Ta bonté, ta fierté de femme populaire,
L'âpre attendrissement qui dort sous ta colère,
Ton long regard de haine à tous les inhumains,
Et les pieds des enfants réchauffés dans tes mains.'

The letters between them were many. The anarchist and the republican evidently had their differences, but they both believed in justice, equality, freedom for children and women, and a free and non-religious education system.

Two examples of Michel's novels are shown in the museum, La Misère (1882) and Les Mépriseés, both of which were co-written with Victoire Marguerite Tinayre (1831—95), writing as 'Jean Guêtré'. Tinayre led free schools in the Second Empire and took part in the Commune when she was the school inspector for the 12th arrondissement. La Misère was a popular success, and concerns the question of prostitution, a theme also taken up in Les Mépriseés, which was heavily influenced by Hugo's Les Misérables.
Madame Paul Mauride by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres. Mauride was a republican who visited Michel in her prison in Versailles.

The marble bust of Hugo is by David d'Angers (alias Jean-Pierre David), and was made in 1938. The two had met in 1927, and Hugo dedicated two poems to him.
During Hugo's exile in Guernsey, his mistress Juliette Drouet lived in La Farrue, a house close to Hugo's family, for seven years before moving to rue de Hauteville in 1864, the very place where Hugo had spent his first year in exile. It was called Hauteville Fairy, and Hugo took care of the décor.

These two photos show a reconstruction of Drouet's Salon chinois at Guernsey, which was installed here for the inugural ceremony of the museum in 1903. It is, entirely, a work of Hugo's imagination.

A reconstruction of Hugo's salon, rue de Clichy.

Next door, there's a plaque to remind that Théophile Gautier once lived there:
'LE POÈTE
THÉOPHILE GAUTIER
A VÉCU DANS CETTE MAISON
DE 1828 À 1834'

A little further along is another plaque, telling of the birth of Madame de Sévigné:
'DANS CET HÔTEL
EST NÉE
LE 6 FÉVRIER 1626
MARIE DE RABUTIN CHANTAL
MARQUISE DE SÉVIGNÉ'

Beyond the Place des Vosges, at 62 rue St-Antoine, is L'Hôtel de Sully. Here in 1725, when Voltaire was dining, a servant entered to tell him that someone wanted to see him outside. It was Guy-Auguste de Rohan-Chabot, who had insulted Voltaire for not using his real name, Jean François-Marie Arouet. Rohan-Chabot's servants beat him up with sticks. Voltaire never got his revenge.


Today, the hôtel is home to the national archives.

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