One of the things I love about walking in Paris is how much French history I learn, just by reading the street names! Some are straightforward, like rue de l'Opera, but others offer tidbits of information that, inevitably, lead me to dig a little deeper to find out more.
Here's our street name, for example, honoring someone named Réaumur, a physician and a naturalist. Curious to know more, I looked him up.
Then there's rue Étienne Marcel, another major street in our neighborhood.
The street sign tells you that M. Marcel was the Provost of Merchants of Paris during his 14th century life.
In spite of all this notoriety, though, his name is officially remembered on the street sign (and also on a big statue near the Hotel de Ville) as merely Provost of Merchants.
Throughout all this time, however, he also moonlit as a fiction writer. Using the pseudonym Danrit, he produced 30 novels over 25 years, all of them with heroic military themes.
When WWI began, he was recalled to the army, at age 59, as Captain, and sent to the Eastern Front. In a desperate defence of the Bois des Caires in Flabas, he was killed by enemy artillery on 21 February 1916. Today, he's still considered a hero in France, remembered every year on the day of his death, along with his comrades, although his novels seem to have fallen into oblivion...
Then there's rue d'Argout, which bisects both rue du Louvre and rue Étienne Marcel.
"homme politique" it says -- politician?
During the same period as le Comte Argout was pursuing his steady, straightforward life, a young man from Limoges was following a different path.
As one such curious passer-by I love the fact that all this history -- and much more -- lies within a three block radius from our flat!