Until the 4th century, rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, in XNUMXe district, is called rue de la Mortellerie. At the time, this name evoked the Parisian masons, called mortiers. They settled there to reduce the hard stone to dust, to make cement. The proximity of the Seine favors their installation in this specific location, because their activity requires a large consumption of water.

But during the year 1832, a terrible cholera epidemic, due to contaminated water from the Seine, spread in the capital. It causes the death of more than 19.000 people in a few months. Rue de la Mortellerie is the most affected in Paris. Nearly 304 inhabitants out of 4.688 residents died of the disease.

Superstitious local residents wonder: what if the name of the street was responsible for this misfortune? Has a curse fallen on them? They ended up asking the town hall for a name change, after signing a petition. And win their case. Three years after the cholera epidemic, in 1835, the road was renamed rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville.

Today, at number 95, we can still see, engraved on the wall, the inscription “rue de la Mortellerie”

Text: Clara Mendy
Photos: ©Katia Barillot

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