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Paris in flames as the Communards are defeated – archives 1871 | France

Heavy fighting continues around the Town Hall. At 5 p.m., the cannonade was loud and incessant. It is reported that the Tuileries, the Louvre with all its works of art and the Council of State were set on fire by the Federals.

The German officers confidently declare that the Commune will be defeated and communications with Paris re-established tomorrow evening or the following morning. Police surveillance has been increased at all stations. Strict guidelines have been issued to prevent all but passengers from entering stations or gaining access to the North line platform. Passports are required and the few passengers are closely monitored.

Rue de Rivoli after the suppression of the <a class=Paris Commune, 1871.” src=”″ height=”2525″ width=”4206″ loading=”lazy” class=”dcr-1989ovb”/>
Rue de Rivoli after the suppression of the Paris Commune, 1871. Photography: Niday Picture Library/Alamy

They say 500 federal prisoners are expected here tonight, and a battalion of chasseurs. Workmen worked actively all day at the Château, repairing it and fitting it out for the reception of prisoners. The barracks are ready for the troops.

It has been the scariest of all days for Paris. The capital is on fire in many places, and the destruction of most of the eastern and central parts seems inevitable at this moment. Thick clouds of smoke hang over the city. The fighting throughout the day was unprecedentedly desperate and bloody. The Communists carried out their threat to blow up some of the barricades when they were no longer tenable.

The Paris Commune – barricade rue de Charonne – 1871 Photo: Photo 12/UIG via Getty Images

The Versailles troops were mown down by musketry fire from the windows, and by fire from machine gunners behind the barricades. Their losses during the day were very heavy, but they made steady progress, except towards Belleville, where they were driven back. It is said that the burning buildings were set on fire by the shells of the Versaillists.

A terrible fire is raging in downtown Paris. The batteries of Versailles fire furiously against the quarters which still hold. Using the telescope, the horrible fact is revealed that many dead and injured are left on the streets without any help.

The statesman M.Thiers declares that justice will soon be satisfied.

A statue of Napoleon is smashed in Place Vendôme after being dismantled by the Paris Commune.
A statue of Napoleon is smashed in Place Vendôme after being dismantled by the Paris Commune. Photo: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images