This website requires JavaScript.

Debray brothers in La Galette mill: dismemberment and public dance hall

La Galette mill | Giorgio Galeotti / CC-BY
Mill Galette mill

Millers VS Russians

The mill used to belong to a family of millers, since the 16th century: the Debray. They were millers of Montmartre abbess! But in 1812, Napoleon I had conquered all Europe. Except... Russia. He wanted Russia! Whoosh, the war began in June and ended in December. Napoleon won battles, in the beginning. But Russians regained some strength and it was the defeat.

Napoleon came back in France with his tail between his legs, with all Europe following him: in March 30th 1814, they entered in Paris. The 4 Debray brothers and the son of the eldest one fought against Russians, all day.

A fierce struggle

Enemies were attacking the butte Montmartre from all sides. 3 brothers were killed. And in the evening, Russians besieged the butte where the mill was. But the eldest Debray didn’t leave his post and blasted a cannon on the enemies, BANG, to revenge and save his mill!

The enemy, surprised, hid out. One Russian asked: «Who shot?» No answer. Well... yes. A gory answer: Debray junior killed him with his gun. Reprisal: he was brutally beat up and his father was stabbed then cut into 4 pieces.


The gory pieces were tied on each wing of the mill... Poor madam Debray: night came, she was worried because her husband was late. She turned up in the mill and saw that dreadful scene... She put remains in a flour bag and buried them in the Calvary cemetery.

A little cemetery next to Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church, where we still can see his grave... Debray junior survived. He was gravely wounded and remained crippled the rest of his life. But he loved dance, so he transformed his mill into a public dance hall, in 1833, which became very popular...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!