Café Le Croissant Paris. Photo by Juan Antonio Cordero via Wikicommons

Here is a café where the world changed forever

No, the name doesn’t pay homage to a breakfast pastry– it refers, in fact, to a shop sign that sported a crescent moon, and it hasn’t changed since 1612. But that isn’t why this 2nd arrondissement street is famous.

The 17th-century writers Molière and La Fontaine were both buried here before their cemetery was sold and their tombs moved to Père Lachaise. But that isn’t why rue du Croissant is famous either.

In the 19th century, just before he began publishing La comédie humaine, Balzac frequented the Café du Croissant. But that isn’t it either. Though we are getting close…

The Café du Croissant was where, on July 31, 1914, Jean Jaurès was murdered, an event that effectively propelled France into the First World War.

The French socialist leader and determined anti-militarist was dining here when he was shot dead. He was due to attend a conference a week later to lay out his compelling arguments against an armed conflict. But it was a speech he would never make.

A mosaic on the ground marks the spot where he died, and a plaque on the wall reminds us of the act that changed history. On the café windows are still displayed two front pages of the newspaper L’Humanité, which Jaurès founded, from July 31 and August 1, 1914.

From France Today magazine

Read other installments in our “Read the Signs” series:
Read the Signs: Rue Cler
Read the Signs: Allée Sonia Rykiel in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue Crémieux in Paris
Read the Signs: Place de l’Europe- Simone Veil in Paris

Read the Signs: Boulevard Haussmann in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue du Chat qui Pêche in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue des Mauvais Garçons in Paris
Read the Signs: Avenue de Champagne
Read the Signs: Rue du Temple in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue Guy-Môquet in Paris
Read the Signs: Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Paris
Read the Signs: Boulevard Diderot in Paris