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Pauwels the anarchist exploded against La Madeleine's doors

The bronze doors | / CC-BY-NC-SA
Accident Parish church Madeleine church in Paris

Anarchy in France

Between 1892 and 1894, a surge of attacks struck France. Paris, especially.

It happened in a pretty strained context: the rich became richer and the poor... sank into poverty. The reaction was... anarchy!!

For instance, we had the failed attack of Paris Stock Exchange or the murder of president Carnot in Lyon.

The violence wave ended with the execution of 30 anarchists in Paris...


Well, look, here’s an anarchist: he was 30 years, his name was Amédée Pauwels.

A Belgian born in Courcelles in Wallonia.

Who was getting ready to attack La Madeleine! A church frequented by the upper crust, at that time. A symbol!

Pauwels the Belgian turned up in Lorraine, then in Saint-Denis in Paris suburb.

There, in his working-class milieu, anarchist ideas spread in a flash. And they went to his head.

Heavy doors!

So, on March 15th 1894, at 2:35 PM, Pauwels climbed the stairs which led to La Madeleine church.

He hid on him a basic bomb he made himself. He was sure to succeed: the bomb would explode in the church!

Well, if he succeeded in pushing the revolving door.

Whoa, they were so heavy!! He tried to push the left one, in vain.

Pauwels laughed nervously. So he tried to push the right one. And finally pulled something.

The bomb was triggered. BANG!!! The explosion immediately killed the Belgian...

The priest turned up on the parvis, saw the corpse, and made a short prayer. The cops soon came and made their report.

The paper Le Petit Journal from March 17th told about a bomb made of "a tincan full of a poor quality chlorate powder and a sodium percussion cap."

Correctly prepared, the bomb could have blew up half of the church...

The paper La Lanterne told about a roar "like a cannon blast"...


We had little material damages, but a bloody smashed body: the head was separated from the rest of the body and he was disembowelled...

But the cops didn’t know who was this stranger, so they quickly closed the case!

Well, in this story, the revolving doors protected the real bronze door of La Madeleine: real little gems designed by sculptor Triqueti...

About the the author

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