Torture took many forms. Dissenting folk were boiled alive, strangled, burned, beheaded
or "quartered" (pulled apart by 4 horses, one tied to each limb). Leonora Galigai, favorite
of Marie de Medici (Queen of France after Henry IV’s death) was beheaded and
burned here for sorcery (or, more accurately, for having too much influence). Anne
Dubourg (a man) was burned alive for pleading for more humanitarian treatment of
heretics under Henry II, and Captain Montgomery met a similar fate. The most
famous scene witnessed here must have been the torture and quartering in 1610 of
Francois Ravaillac, who stabbed Henry IV because he believed that the good King would
turn the country Protestant. I imagine a huge bloodthirsty public showed up for that event!
What drama! (I really must review our own history.)
The class struggle lasted a long time!
Shopping, griping, and torture--all combined to establish Place de Greve as
the main staging arena, the "message board" for communication between government and
citizenry--or aristocracy and common folk, if you want to look at it as a class thing. The
more I read, the more I am convinced that no other square in Paris saw so much of the
drama of political or class struggle. This fact alone makes it worth a visit. For
our Saturday there, it was bare, easy to view as a stage. Descriptions make much of
the lampposts, a long row of them, and even they are off to the side, but decorated with
Hotel de Ville
The building didn’t always look this impressive.
In 1871 after Thiers’ army and the Paris
Commune were finished with it, it looked like
this. If you
want to learn more about the bloodbath that occurred here that year that set back the labor
movement in France for many decades, see this story. The
Communards occupied this seat of government long enough to make major changes, which I imagine led to some compromises after they
were massacred. For one, they didn't want notaries to inherit their positions.
Inside, an exhibit (that has been there for some time) concerns the notaries of Paris and
the Notary Acts. This is complicated reading for one with limited French, so we deciphered little. We found no literature in English, but we didn’t ask.
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