Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Marat's printing press

According to one of my books about lost Paris, this cheery building used to hold Marat's printing press.  The cobblestone alley in which it sits is reached by walking under the arch into the passage where  Danton and Desmoulins lived or, as I did, through a series of courtyards which opens up to the passage at another spot.  The passage archway entrance is the Cour du Commerce St. André located almost directly across Boulevard Saint Germain from Danton's statue.  The printing press is at #8.  Danton's and Desmoulins' apartments, gone now, were probably 10 doors or so from Marat's print shop and an equal distance, the other direction, from Marat's home.  They shared the narrow passage with Le Procope, the restaurant frequented by all of them, plus more, that's still in business.  I want to see the Revolution memorabilia on display.  Another noteworthy address, #9, is the one where Dr. Guillotin perfected his handy device on sheep in the basement.

This is good stuff, isn't it?  Not to everyone, admittedly, but when I first became interested in this subject, I'd have flipped out to have found the location of Marat's printing press.  I hope an interested person stumbles upon it here.  If you stumble on it and find factual errors, don't hesitate to tell me.  I'm not sensitive.  Ha.  Everyone knows I'm extremely so, but, more so, want to be accurate.  So, correct me if I'm wrong.

So, from #8, Marat spewed violence and lies.  I've written about him before.  If you're interested, put his name in the search box.  He was a disgusting guy, so filthy, stinking, and covered with a hideous skin disease that even his admirers and associates kept a physical distance from him when possible. Speaking of Marat, I walked by the Palais Royale today, the den of inequity owned by the King's disloyal cousin, Duc d'Orleans, from which Charlotte Corday bought the knife she used to cut short Marat's writing career.  She was quite a woman, that Charlotte Corday.  Noble intent.

3 comments:

Ronald Hill said...

Hello Madeleine, Thank you very much for locating Marat's Press. I've been searching for this for some time now. I have lived in Paris and plan to return soon, but have never located this address. Ironically I know the neighborhood and have probably walked by there many times. I am currently in Morocco, but will be back in Paris in a few months. Best, Ronald doctorrwh@gmail.com

Ronald Hill said...

PS - I have also had a strong interest in the French Revolution and directed the play, "Marat/Sade."

Madeleine Doak said...

Ronald, any time I quote someone or state something that's not from a primary source, I wring my hands a bit. On p. 42 of "Walks in Lost Paris," in describing Cour de Commerce Saint-André, Leonard Pitt writes, "Number 8 in passage was Marat's printing press...." He goes on to describe the surroundings and identify buildings next to and across from Number 8. Some of the buildings are numbered, some are not. Number 8 is not. By process of elimination, I think I got it right, but you should get the book (It's on Amazon.) and check it out for yourself. Let me know what you think. It's full of locations and step-by-step directions to little known and well know historical sites in Paris. Although I don't remember it being in Pitt's book, I stumbled upon Cordeliers Club (convent) and couldn't believe my eyes! I hadn't known it was still standing. It's marked by the typical understated French historical sign or I'd never have noticed it.

Thanks for your comment. I'm always thrilled to come in contact with anyone who shares my interest in the French Revolution. Most my friends are the light-hearted types and don't get it. Would love to know more about the Marat/Sade. How cool that you were able to be involved in a tangible expression of your interest. Where did it show? I understand there were several versions...