The street that is now called rue Corvisart, (after Jean-Nicolas Corvisart, the personal physician of Napoléon I) was formerly called rue Champ-de-l’Alouette (Street of the Field of the Lark). It is in the Croulebarbe Quarter of the 13th arrondissement.
In the novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, Jean Valjean led the child Cosette along here in 1823 on their way to the first place they lived in Paris, the crumbling Masure Gorbeau. Much later in the novel there is a chapter called Le Champ de l’Alouette in which Marius goes to this ‘Field of the Lark’ every day, simply because he has heard Cosette referred to as ‘Alouette’.
Confusingly, a different nearby street is now called rue du Champ de l’Alouette. This is a smaller street that was formerly called rue du Petit-Champ.
Rue Corvisart borders on the lower end of the Square René Le Gall, which is actually not so much a square as a large rectangular park. At the other end of this park is the workshop building of the Gobelin manufactory, where to this day tapestries and carpets are still woven by hand just as they were in the seventeenth century.
The main entrance to the Corvisart Site of the ‘LPR Corvisart Tolbiac’ (Lycée Professionel Régional Corvisart Tolbiac) is at 61, rue Corvisart. This is a technical high school specializing in graphic arts and the craft of bookbinding — which is appropriate because there is a traditional bookbinding shop just 750 meters up the street at 77, rue Broca. The entrance to the school displays a stencil painting and caption by the street artist Miss.Tic, stenciled here in 2006. The caption reads: “Poetry is an extreme sport.”
This building on rue Corvisart is the Paul Gervais primary school. It was named after a professor of zoology and comparative anatomy who lived from 1816 to 1879 and was well known in his lifetime as the author of an elementary textbook on natural history. The plaque on the wall of the school reads:
This building was a primary school for girls.
To the memory of the pupils of this school
deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were born Jews
victims of the Nazi barbarity
with the active participation
of the government of Vichy.
They were assassinated in the death camps.
More than 11400 children were deported from France.
More than 150 of these children lived in the 13th.
12 April 2008 We must never forget them.
The Corvisart Métro station on line 6 is at the south end of rue Corvisart. This is one of those stations where the tracks come up out of a tunnel and then continue along above ground for quite a while, in this case on stilts above the middle strip of Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui. There are two more stations above ground, Glacière and Saint-Jacques, before the tracks go down into another tunnel.
My photos in this post are from 2013. I revised the text in 2020.
See more posts on the 13th arrondissement of Paris.