The rue François-Miron today
The corner of the rue des Barres, looking into the rue François-Miron.

Anybody Know Anthing About the Skeleton(s)
in the Rue François Miron?


via eMail, from Craig Tredeau 'craig.tredeau@mail.mei.com' Dear Ric,

Paris:- Monday, 14. April 1997 The last time my parents and I were in Paris we saw something that we have wondered about ever since.

It was about mid-morning on a Tuesday and the date was September 21, 1993.

We started the day visiting Notre Dame, and from there we crossed over to the right bank by way of the pont Saint Louis and the pont Louis Philippe. We proceeded along rue des Barres on to the church Saint-Gervais, and from there we walked along rue des Barres towards the rue François-Miron.

As we approached the rue François-Miron we noticed there was a crowd around a fenced-off area where they were doing, what appeared to be, repairs to the road. As we approached the fenced-off area we still didn't know what the crowd was looking at until a man motioned to my mom to look over the fence and into the hole that had been dug in the rue François-Miron.

In the hole was what appeared to be three graves with complete skeletons in each. There were people within the fenced-off area taking pictures of the graves and carefully digging around them. They had a small pile of bones and an old pair of glasses off to the side that we figured were from the graves.

Since we didn't speak French we couldn't ask anyone about the graves. For the next couple of days we watched the local papers, but did not see anything about the graves. Up till now we still do not know the story behind those graves. Do you know anything about this, or could you find out so we can end this mystery?

Craig
Letter above and photo of the hole, below: Craig Tredeau©1997

A Job for Cops or Archaeologists?
Dear Craig,

Paris:- Thursday, 17. April 1997:- Yesterday I went to the rue François-Miron and up the short flight of steps to where the rue des Barres comes out from behind the Saint Gervais church.

Before I did this, on the rue de Rivoli at the corner of the place Baudoyer, I noticed a sign for an underground parking - called 'Parking Baudoyer' - which is located somewhere under the building facing the place, which is the Mairie of the fourth arrondissement. This Hôtel de Ville, for the Marais, takes up the whole small block.

There is a local police station at the corner of the place and the rue François-Miron, and I asked the lady cops there about your 'hole' with the skeletons. They never heard of it and suggested I enquire at the commissariat on the rue de Rivoli.

I went there and after finding out how to get in - by pushing the door - I went into the reception area. There were three inspectors, one lady and two men, both smoking. I reminded one of the men that smoking was not permitted and one said, "Not for you; for us it's okay." Both of the male inspectors were safely behind their antique typewriters.

The inspector was very skeptical about my story about your letter, about the photo you sent which clearly shows an official plaque with the year and 'Place Baudoyer' on it. When I told him the date when you saw the hole, he asked, "Why has he waited so long to come forward?" He was annoyed that there was no possibility of fresher corpses.

At last he agreed to see if their records have any references to the date in 1993, and he left the room. There were two other civilians waiting for something, and one of them started to light a cigarette. The lady inspector shouted, "No smoking in here! I can't stand it."

The inspector came back, still smoking, with a slip of paper. He said 'a' file, number 6381/J/93, had been transferred to the 'greffe' - court clerk - of the first section 'parquet' - the prosecuter's office - at the Craig's photo of the skeleton in the hole in the rue François-Miron the main copshop on the Ile de la Cité. According to the inspector's note, the file transfer had taken place on 22/09/97 and the commissariat no longer had anything on it. He wasn't sure the transferred file had anything to do with the corpses found in the hole and he suggested that I call the greffe of the first section.

The writing on the plaque says, 'Place Baudoyer, 1993.'

Today, I do this. I end up telling the whole story to a lady assistant prosecutor - a 'magistrat' - who also wants to know why you've taken so long to enquire. The attempt to explain how the Internet makes this sort of query possible, and that I have an anxious reader - not in France! - to satisfy, just did not go over.

Finally, exasperated, the lady prosecutor says, "Why call me? I'm in 'stupéfiants' and 'proxénetisme' - narcotics and procurers - and besides, this is a really old case! I have a lot of real cases here!"

It is not a good idea to bore a boiling lady prosecutor, so this is the end of my legwork part of this informal investigation.

My conclusion: the plaque in the photo fixes the location and the year, 1993. The estimated depth of the skeleton in the photo, is somewhere between one metre and two. The 'Parking Baudoyer' is fairly new I think, and besides, the electric and the gas people are digging up streets all the time.

The underground of Paris is very much like a Swiss cheese with very many holes in it. Mines for lime for plaster are all over - in some places the chalk is 400 metres thick; and there are underground rivers, the métro, the RER and the catacombs, plus the sewers. The Resistance put in a lot of tunnels too. Finally, people have been living in Paris a very long time.

The rue François-Miron was a major Roman road to Chelles and Sens. In exactly this area, the remains of a Gallo-Roman cemetary have been found, dating to between 138 and 352 AD.

Around the sixth century, a Christian cemetary was laid on top of the old. The Saint-Gervais church had its own cemetary, from the 13th century, along its northern flank - the rue François-Miron. It was closed in 1765, and most of its remains were transferred elsewhere, although bones from it were still being found in the following century. The rue des Barres was first mentioned by this name in 1152.

None of which answers the question about the bones in your photo - but I hope what I have here will give you some ideas of the possibilities.

Regards, Ric
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