La Force Prison

From Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Template:Infobox prison La Force Prison was a French prison located in the Rue du Roi de Sicile, in what is now the 4th arrondissement of Paris. Originally known as the Hôtel de la Force, The buildings formed the private residence of Henri-Jacques Nompar de Caumont, duc de la Force.Template:Sfn Towards the end of the reign of Louis XIV, the Hôtel de la Force was divided into two parts, one of which took the name of the Hôtel de Brienne, and had its entrance in the Rue Pavée;Template:Sfn the other retained its former name and had its entrance in the Rue du Roi de Sicile.Template:Sfn

La Grande Force

After passing through several hands,Template:Sfn the buildings were acquired, in 1754, by the war ministry, and were transformed, in 1780, into a prison. Template:Sfn The Hôtel de la Force was renamed La Grande Force and was intended for debtors and those charged with civil offences.Template:Sfn The prison consisted of several buildings, each of which had a separate yard. The most airy building was situated in the centre between two yards planted with trees.Template:Sfn It was there that such prisoners were detained who could incur some expense. On the left was the infirmary.Template:Sfn

La Petite Force

At the same time the Hôtel de la Force was being converted into a prison, the Hôtel de Brienne was demolished, and a new prison for prostitutes was erected on its site, which was called La Petite Force.Template:Sfn The front presented a sombre aspect. It was ornamented with vermiculated rustics and the entrance was formed by an elliptical arch. It was three storeys high and was surmounted by a Doric cornice. In its construction, neither wood nor plaster were employed, the whole being built of stone bound together by iron bars.Template:Sfn It was located adjacent to the Hôtel de Lamoignon.<ref name="Carpe">Template:Cite web
Just past the Hotel Lamoignon, on the left hand side of Rue Pavée, is a fragment of stone wall and a plaque shaped like a boat paddle beside it. This is all that remains of La Force Prison.</ref>

During the French Revolution, this prison was used for political prisoners, and it was here that the close friend of Marie Antoinette, the Princesse de Lamballe was taken. La Force came under attack by violent mobs on 3 September 1792, and the four following days:- one hundred and sixty prisoners, among whom were three priests and the Princesse de Lamballe, were massacred there.Template:Sfn

The Grande Force had housed only male prisoners and the Petite Force, had been used exclusively for women, however, in 1830 the two prisons were united, and placed under one management. The whole prison was then converted to house males committed for trial. These prisoners were divided into two separate groups; the old offenders into one ward, the young and comparatively innocent into another.Template:Sfn

The prisoners slept in large and well ventilated chambers, and the boys each had a small apartment which contained a single bed. The prisoners had the privilege of working if they wished, but they were not obliged to do so, inasmuch as they were on remand and not yet convicted of crime.Template:Sfn There was a department for the sick, a bathing-room, a parlor, and an advocate's room, where the prisoners could hold conversations with their legal defenders.Template:Sfn

The two prisons of La Force were demolished in 1845, and the only remaining part is a section of wall adjoining the City of Paris Historical Library.<ref name="Carpe" />

Notable prisoners

File:Princesse of Lamballe by Hensius.jpg
Portrait of princess de Lamballe

Template:Commons category Detainees included:

  • Jean Sylvain Bailly
  • Pierre-Jean de Béranger
  • Aimé Picquet du Boisguy
  • Edme Castaing
  • Constantin-François Chassebœuf
  • Claude Fournier
  • Évariste Galois
  • Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  • Victor Claude Alexandre Fanneau de Lahorie
  • Claude Ledoux
  • Simon-Nicolas-Henri Linguet
  • Princess Marie Louise of Savoy
  • Clotworthy Skeffington, 2nd Earl of Massereene, Irish noblemanTemplate:Sfn
  • Pierre Victurnien Vergniaud and 12 other Girondist deputies

Fictional detainees included:

  • Charles Darnay (fictional character in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities)
  • Lucien de Rubempré (fictional character in Honoré de Balzac's Illusions perdues)
  • Thénardier (fictional character in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables)








External links