The subject of this sit is at least unusual in a site of doll. It is very present for me because in this fire which upset whole Franceand world we could say, everything burned including charming dolls, their mistress  who were there to contribute to this burst of emotion of which our country has often and unfortunately need.
I found with emotion one of them, on a photo, she escaped the monstrous center but obviously suffered a lot all the same.
It is very probably one of Madam Rabery Delphieu and her daughter presents by her side, died both in this horrible fire. I did not go to see the chapel yet which contains in its appendix these very moving and invaluable relics but I shall make it. It is sure.

21 mars1897, Mrs de Maillé had invited the more or less aristocratic Tout-Paris to come to deposit their contribution for the catholic Circles of workers for which she was intended.

With in attraction an inspired young person, Miss Couedon. She had references, this young person indeed asserted delivering directlyin live the messages of the angel Gabriel.

Had not she already announced the scandal of Panama, the Turkish war ? Then, quite recently, the death of a royal prince of royal blood in the year ?
In the lounge of Mrs ode Maillé, we agglutinate around the clairvoyant. This one takes the head between hands, raises eyes in the sky, begins to speak, slowly, about a little bit distant but different voice:

 " Near the Champs-Elysées, I see a not high place, which is not for the pity, but which is approached it in a purpose of charity which is not the truth. I see the fire rising and howling people. Grilled flesh, calcined bodies. I see it as by scooped... "

The assistance is startled. Miss Couedon hurries to reassure her world:

 " All the persons present today will be saved.

The poet José-Maria of Heredia is the only one to emit some reserves:
 " It is maybe impressive, but it is of a very bad poetry. "

<-Henriette Couëdon, in hier cabine of the street Paradise.
     Engraving of the illustration in April 189
It does not matter, in this end of century what is smart, it is the charity? Society women and half-society women, the real marchionesses and false countesses, princesses of blood and duchesses of circumstance compete in the organization of charity galas, sales intended for the works.

The baroness Reille managed to open in Universite Street a permanent work, in fact a shop of perfume shop and leather store where she " makes seller " from time to time: " you should not only give to the poor people. It is so necessary to work for them ". The charitable "best", it is at that time the  Bazar de la Charite that certain wrong spiteful tongues persist in qualifying as " bazar of the vanity ".

 It is Harry Blount who had it the idea twelve years before:

 " Why not to make a sale, not only for a work but for all the works? Instead of opening the single afternoon, it would receive the charitable people, who are numerous, during three weeks or one month. Every work would have its stand, under the responsibility of the patronesses. "

Bright idea, idea of genius because in twelve years the Bazar of the Charite had gathered in more than seven million francs-gold! Newspapers had been for something in this great success because from the publication of the project Blunt, they had proclaimed:
" The room Albert-Legrand, faubourg Saint-Honoré, will be certainly the meeting of the Parisian high society during all next month. Was it the fact of an increasing success? At any rate, the Bazar did not stop moving. Of the faubourg Saint-Honoré, it had emigrated repeatedly under other heavens. We had the idea to buy the " street of old Paris " which was one of main attractions of the Exhibition of the Theater and the music to the Palais de l’Industry. Charities transformed it into vast Bazar supplied with objects of all kinds: novelties, stationery, clothes, sold to prices more than moderated. It is enough to quote among the patronesses the names of the baroness of Rothschild, countess Aimery of Rochefoucauld, of the countess of Biron, the countess of Briey. "

On this street decorated by Mr. Chaperon, we saw inns, workshops, church, etc. the whole of the pure Middle Ages. And in this year of 1897, the Bazar thus left the street of La Boetie to go away street Jean-Goujon on a ground lent by Mister Michel Heine. On this ground rose a shed in fir tree of Norway eighty meters long on thirteen wide. A theater company of patronage had played here about twenty times " La passion de notre Seigneur "

April 6th, baron of Mackau, co-organizer with Harry Blount of the Bazar de la  Charite, gathers the patronesses there: SAR the duchess of Alencon, the duchess of Vendôme, the duchess of Uzes, the marquise  of Saint-Chamans, countess Greffuhle, general  February, Mrs de Sassenay, in particular. He announces them a " surprise which will be worth a million recipes at least: "

In fact, a street of Paris in the Middle Ages with its canopies, its workshops in the picturesque signs, its trompe l'oeil floors, its walls papered with ivy and with foliage, a real decoration of opera "; and moreover it is good of it that it is a question because it is signed Capron, decorator of the Opera.

The baron of Mackau makes the tour of the owner do. Twenty two shops. One for every counter. Here is mister Blount's idea. He had noticed this set in the exhibition of the theater, in the Palace of the Industry: : " We acquired it hundred and eighty francs! A real price of the Middle Ages! In this decoration, our sellers will have an incomparable success. Allow me to present you mister Chapron, decorator of the Opera, who drew it and who agreed to watch the installation in our place by making necessary joins “

Capron smiles to these ladies and gives some explanation:
" I used only of the painted cloth, some pasteboard and some white wood. In the theater, we are used. Everything is not ended. We are going to stretch out a five hundred square meter canopy to hide the roof, decorate shops with emblazoned banners and complete the set) with draperies and brilliant materials. "

Nevertheless, Capron has some apprehension. He slides to the baron of Mackau: " Especially, be very careful. All these materials are extremely flammable. " The baron to answer:  Nevertheless, Capron has some apprehension. He slides to the baron of Mackau: " especially, be very careful. All these materials are extremely flammable. " The baron to answer: " My dear, you think well that in our sales, we forbid the Sirs to smoke  "

Why did the decorator suddenly need to announce his fears to the baron? Because ten years ago, it is the Opera Comique which was the prey of a fire... The presence announced of a cinematograph is not made to calm his concerns. Indeed, in one of the extremities of the shed, under a lean-to, we shall can for fifty centimes see the moving pictures of the Lumière brothers: a factory exit, a train which enters the station and the nail, worth namely " the biter bit ". And exactly, the entrepreneur who takes care of film representations, is not very satisfied with this place; He opens to the baron of Mackau:

" I have enough square to accommodate my devices, the tubes of oxygen and the cans of ether of the lamp Molteno. It is also necessary to separate the mechanic of the public. The reflections of the lamp risk to hamper the spectators. "

 " We shall make a partition in tarpaulin around your device. A curtain will hide the lamp. "

" And my bottles and my cans? "

 " You will have only to leave them on the piece of waste ground, behind your premises. "

Two days before the opening, the new intervention of Mr Normandin :

" I tried the lamp which I possess, but it does not work well. I phoned to mister Molteni but he cannot give me one other before Monday evening. "

" Let us wait on Tuesday. You know, on Mondays, it is a kind of dress rehearsal. "

The first day will be effectivement a " kind of dress rehearsal " which will leave all the same a global recipe of forty true thousand. Newspapers will retain essentially the presence of Mademoiselle de Fores, girl of the ambassador of Spain and the duchess of Alencon, sister of the empress of Austria, famous Sissi.

The serious things have to begin on Tuesday by  the blessing of the general store with the apostolic nuncio from 3 pm. This one comes, makes a fast ballot and goes away without the crowd which hurries up there, well realizes it. Because there are there about twelve hundred people and near 4 pm the troops of visitors do not stop arriving.

It is very hot and the duchess of Alencon murmurs to her neighbor
the wife of the famous surgeon Belin:

 " I suffocate  "

Mrs Belin observes: " if a fire burst, it would be terrible! "

 Sophie-Charlotte of  Bavaria, duchess of Alençon (Sister of empress Sissi)->

The baron of Mackay who makes the tour of the owner glances on his watch: four hours. Ten minutes later, it is the accident and it takes place in the cabin of the cinematograph.
The lamp of projection exhausted its reserve of ether; it is necessary to perform it. Difficult task: the cabin is dark. Bellac, the projectionist, asks to his young assistant to scratch a match. The flame springs, fires the vapors of ether. A curtain catches fire, the flame runs along the woodwork... We run to warn the baron de Mackay and Harry Blount: it is necessary to evacuate the fast general store ! It is already too late: a long flame crawls along walls, devours the canopy, fires the cardboard walls tarred.

A witness will say:

" As a real powder trail in a disturbing howling, the fire fired the decoration, ran along the woodwork, devouring on its passage this graceful and fragile mess of hangings, ribbons and laces. "

In the rumbling of the fire answer the shouts of panic of twelve hundred guests who try to run away. Rare are those who remain calm. The duchess of Alencon answers Miss d' Andlau who tries to pull her:

" Leave fast. Do not take care of me. I shall leave the last one. "
Outside, the alarm is given, the red cars pulled by percherons  arrive on the scene however only bunches of people " real torches " appear by the exits of the shed which is not more than an immense brasero. The general stampede was transformed "every man for himself". Any question of proprieties, label, society life : that of well put sirs are transformed into brutish louts, erasing on their passage so many  ladies benefactresses... 

The water finally springs in fire hoses: thirteen minutes after the beginning of the fire. A journalist who has just arrived on the scene, notes: " It is an unforgettable show in this immense frame of fire formed by the whole general store, where everything burns at the same time, shops, partitions, floors and facades, men, women, children twist themselves, pushing roarings of damned, trying in vain to find an exit, then burn in their turn and fall again to the pile always magnifying of calcined corpses. " At 4:30 am, what stayed of the Bazar collapsed. Everything is ended

We begin to remove the calcined, often unrecognizable bodies and we notice that among the victims, there are hundred and fifteen women and five men only, while the Sirs were so much many at the time of the disaster... The soldiers of the 102nd of line begin the operations of clearing. Macabre job.

Harry Blount, desperate, is taken to the house of his parents. His father shouts out to him: " I prefered to know you dead over there that to see you alive here! "  "

The baron of Mackay, the next day, receives a letter of the father of a victim:

" I regret, sir, that as old naval officer, I am obliged to remind you that commander has to leave his edge the last one. "

Feminist and merciless, Severine writes in The Newspaper: " Among these men (they were approximately two hundred), we quote two  who were admirable and until ten who carried out the duty. The rest dashed off, not only saving nobody, but still clearing themself a passage in the feminine flesh, with foot, punching, with heels, with cane. "

Five corpses will not be recognized. We shall make for them solemn burial in Notre-Dame in the presence of the President of the Republic. May 16th, duchess of Alencon will be interred to Dreux. May 7th, 1897, duke of Aumale, son of Louis-Philippe, is brought down by a heart attack in his castle of Sicily. He had just learnt miss Couedon's death and to draft about twenty letters of condolence.

It was the most murderous fire of the IIIth Republic.


We know that at the beginning of the fire, a large number of people had taken refuge with the piece of waste ground adjacent to the Bazar. This ground was closed. Hundred and fifty people were there suddenly as imprisoned in front of the high bulwarks of neighbouring houses. Chased by the flames which the wind pulled down in their direction, they had snuggled up, piled up against impassable obstacle, pushing heart-rending shouts. This is when Mrs Roche-Sautier, owner of one of the bordering buildings, the hotel du Palais, brought them, by means of her staff, an unexpected help.
Here is the narrative of this moving rescue makes by a sister of charity who was in the middle of the victims:

" In this ground, hundred and fifty ladies and girls were gathered looking for an exit. Flames, very high fortunately, tilted on the side of the street, because they burned, as we can see, the blinds of the windows of the third floor of the number 26 and broke windows. But it reigned a heat of furnace and the slightest shifting of the wind made immense the danger. We were locked between the fire and the walls without windows of a six-storeyed height. On the crest of a wall, we see appearing Pere Ambroise, of the convent of the Assumption, who goes down a long scale. There, some ladies were able to save themselves. But the ladder threatened to break and the rescue was long and painful. God felt sorry for us. In a meter fifty of the ground, in this wall which belongs to the hotel du Palais, was a bay, a narrow cellar window closed by iron bars. The cook of the hotel du Palais unsealed one of these bars and by this hole, supernaturally opened, spent hundred and fifty ladies and girls "


              " I was in the kitchen, with Édouard Vaudier, my assistant. I was pricking a beef tenderloin. When the first shouts rang, we did not wonder. It is necessary to tell to you that, during the Holy Week, a theater had installed in the ground nearby and in the same construction. To this theater, they represented a play which was called the Christ. Many boarding schools of young people came there. I did not think that the Holy Week was far, that the theater about which I speak had been replaced by the Bazar of the Charity. In brief, I believed at first that the shouts were pushed by schoolchildren who had fun in the street by going out of the theater. "

At the end of a few seconds, we understood nevertheless that there was something abnormal. We are gone and looked in the window of the next room which serves as butcher's shop, by climbing on the table where we cut the meat it is the window which gives onto the piece of waste ground at the end of which drew up itself the Bazar of the Charity. Ah! All my life I shall remember myself the horrible show which we had under eyes. What fits! And, there, a few meters away from us, women ran distraught, the some carrying children in the arms, all trying to save herself, whereas the fire seemed to run after them! It was terrible! One of them had clung to the bars of our railing. By perceiving us, she pushed a real roaring of enjoyment and hope. There was a push in our direction. The mothers stretched out to us their children, by begging us to take them at first. Meanwhile, two women, among who the one very old, dashed, under our eyes, outside the center, the burning clothes - of the real fireballs - and, having traveled meters, beat down heavily on the grass by writhing in pain. The poor women! They did not have to get up any more.

A single look had been enough for me to kiss(embrace) in general this hideous show(entertainment). Fetch, in the cooking(kitchen), the hammer which we usually use(get) to break the coal was the affair(business) of a few seconds. It was necessary to break the railing(bar) at first. We began, each in our turn, banging(typing) all our strengths bars. The woman remained there stubbornly cramped, in spite of our pleas.

The knocks which she received inevitably on fingers were even able to make her let go). The rubbles which got loose fell on her; a rubble stone which weighed well three kilos, reached(affected) him(it) the face(figure); bars themselves, when they began to work loose, hurt her(it); she(it) had the open head and seemed nevertheless insensible in the pain! She did not stop repeating us these words: Save! Save me ! 

When, finally, four bars had given in and when the practised hole was enough big so that a person was able to go (hrough it, we attracted towards us the unfortunate; we raised it as we were able to and, the first one, it so escaped the danger which, all the time, became bigger. The smoke was more and more close, indeed, and the more terrible heat. My first idea was to jump into the piece of waste ground, and to spend, one after the other, the victims in myassistant Vadier. The window, indeed, was very high; they could not achieve there alone. But the crowd hurried up, so compact, against the wall, by calling us in for help, as I had to abandon my project and restrict to cross a chair outside.

In scene which I have just told had hardly lasted a few seconds. Meanwhile, the heart-rending shouts pushed by the victims had been heard by the staff of the hotel. Everybody runs up in the butcher's shop. Relieving us each other, we attracted, during three good quarters of an hour, the victims to us, as we would have collected the bags of flour. Almost all arrived at us fainted or dulled, the open mouth, incapable to articulate a single word. There was which clung so hardly to the neck of their rescuers as we had all the punishments of the world to make them let go. We raised it as much as we found there, whereas a few meters away from us the plague finished its work of destruction.

Quickly, the shouts had stopped there. Under the incandescent heap of rubble, there were not more than deaths - regrettably! All the alive were here. The last people who left the piece of waste ground were two sisters of charity who, moreover, during all the duration of the rescue, had shown themselves admirable of courage, peace and self-abnegation, helping every victim to rise until us and encouraging them with fine words. They granted to leave the place of the disaster only when there was nobody anymore to tear away from the plague, and when their clothes, to themselves, began to catch fire. "


All the corpses removed the ruins of the Bazar were transported to the Palais de l' Industry. The exposure and the recognition of the victims gave rise to scenes of a tragic horror.  In this big hall, a bitter smell of amphitheater seizes the throat. On boards arranged in parquet this fund of sooty masses, stubs of members sketch stiffened gestures where we feel the last call of the death-agonies.
Let us quote, at first, this board brushed in broad outline by mister Jules Claretie:

“ I saw the deaths of Sedan, Champigny and Buzenval. I glimpsed, in the room of the city hall of the street Drouot, some deaths extracted from the fire of the Opera Comique; these atrocious visions nothing were not compared with the one that gave, the other night, the room of corpses to the Palais de l'Industry - this Palais de l'Industry  of which seemed ended with the Show of this year, and which adds, in way of postscript, this hideous chapter to its annals ! There is, to Florence's museum, wax scenes, figurines of a Sicilian sculptor named Zombo: plague, earthquakes, massacres, end of the world, which, by their dismays, their horrors of a fantastic realism give the impression only which gets free of these heaps of deaths in packages. Yes, in front of these corpses extracted from the fire, I thought of these sinister masterpieces of Zombo.

And these rags, these fragments, these half calcined rests, these poor creatures bodies of which showed through under the consumed clothes, were women, girls, mothers! They had adorned themselves four hours ago hardly, to carry wear their contribution) in Bazar de la Charite. These snares stocked with laces, these light boas, all this delicious luxury of the Parisian, these spring and cheerful materials had to be for them as San Benito with whom we surrounded the victims of quemaderos... "

                                        JULES CLARETIE.



More than a century passed by since this horrifying disaster. Others came down on Paris, graver. But in 23, rue Jean-Goujon, no apartment building, square meter of office, subway line, parking lot, came to disturb the memory of the tragedy. About 800 m ² are preserved on the ground.

One needed that the determination of descendants handle remained united during hundred years, to preserve in this place of the capital flavors, images and feelings which livened up this society of the end of the XIXth century..
The countess of the Blotterie, the patroness, the mother of four girls, died in flames. Her descendant, Nelly du Cray, made keeper of the flame. Vice-president of the association, owner of the place, she opens doors with economy. Another heiress helps her when the need in fact to feel. That is not often, because the visitors are rare, and it's a pity.
Of the Bazar de la Charite, everything reaches us almost intact. In memory of the pious society of 1897, a chapel was set up in 1900 thanks to a subscription of the Figaro: Notre-Dame-de-La-Consolation has the load to keep the memory of places. Its statue of 7 meters regilt in 1997 for centenary, arms up towards the sky, is the faithful sentinel posted at the top of the monument. Here are gathered some marvels: Albert Gilbert's architecture, with dome where the Virgin leads the procession of the victims, signed by the famous Albert Maignan, the author of the frescoes of the " Train Bleu" to the station Paris-Lyon; vases of the silversmith Placide Poussielgue-Rusand; luxurious marble columns the antique big half-mourning of Pyrenees. Nothing moved for hundred and fifty years, and nothing will move: the chapel is classified as "Historic Monument"

Behind railings, on both sides of the chorus, hides a cenotaph. Nelly du Cray, who possesses keys, tells this alignment of graves without body, installed by the most fortunate families. But at first, list of the victims engraved in gilt lettering in the black marble. A history hangs on to every name. Joseph Doran, 14-year-old door closer, Alfred David, age 4 and half, son of a poor widow. The black marble tries hard to restore this state of mind: the names of the deaths are burnt in order alphabetical. Which, and it is the fate, places in the first one the most titled: the duchess of Alencon. The engraver added moreover, wrongly, a particle in the name of nihilistic Russian, Élise Blonska. It was the secretary of Georges Clemenceau. Without family, she was recognized by a detail of dress, by  Georges Clemenceau.

Spectacular Christ is lying under its marble shroud, present of an emerged unscathed American. The Chevilly family loses two girls: Marie-Louise and Yvonne, symbolized by doves. Farther, Richard Wilmer's pictures. Enlarge, put on the edge of windows signed of famous Henri Carrot. In memory of the countess of Lupé, a sculptor set up a young worker of white marble crying her benefactress. The artist was the son of the deceased.

Intact lottery tickets, rosaries... Darkened Dolls! We know by Madam Porot, eminent researcher in dolls, that Madam Rabery-Delphieu and her daughter had a stand and died in this disaster. We would like to know if it is about their dolls. See the photo above. This modest showcase echos the sinister display stand of time. On shelves align themselves the whimsical rests of the fire. The number of these objects was limited not to give in to the taste of the macabre, but the association has of full chests.

The duchess of Alencon will be officially identified by her teeth. Her dentist, Isaac Davenport had to examine thirty or forty mouths before finding trace of his noble patient. From this day, the odontological Company became aware of the importance of the dental art in forensic medicine. , The profession congratulates itself then " There is there for the dental surgeon a role very useful "

ND Here there is several extracts of the press of time and in particular of Le Monde et Le Figaro. They give very regrettably the extent and the importance of the disaster. You will find on Internet infinitely more reading on this matter, event which gives to think on the thoughtlessness of its organization. We want to believe that such a thing would not be possible any more in our time.
I quoted you Madam Rabery Delphien and her daughter holding a stand of doll but there were very probably other celebrities of the toy,


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