October 30, 2009

Illustrious graffitis from the Hôtel des Haricots

Albert de Lasalle (1833-1886), music columnist for the weekly Le Monde Illustré and specialized in opera, published in 1864 a remarkable book on the Hotel des Haricots (hotel of beans). This place is primarily a religious college whose nickname "Haricots" was given by students because of the meager food served at table. In 1792, the building becomes the prison of the National Guard. After the Revolution, the prison is transferred to the hotel Bazancourt. The new lazy prison system which allows good food and good wine makes the place looks like a rowdy house. So uprises the myth of the Hotel des Haricots. The place hosts prestigious guests including Alfred de Musset, Théophile Gautier, Théodore de Banville, Honoré de Balzac who made several trips including one because he failed his military obligations. In 1837, the prison was again transferred in an old granary in the arsenal district. It is this last hotel Albert de Lasalle speaks about. He transcribes the inscriptions found on the walls of "the cells of artists". He also comments the 70 drawings reproduced by the engraver Edmond Morin (1824-1182). The book alternates graffitis, poems, songs, sheet musics.

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers:
  • Morin (Edmond) - Lasalle (Albert de). L'Hôtel des Haricots. Maison d'arrêt de la Garde Nationale de Paris. Paris, Dentu, s.d. [1864], in-8, binding from the period. Edition with ornée de 70 drawings, in black, by Edmond Morin. Page 151 numbered 153.