Place de l’Estrapade Paris 75005
Have you heard of the new show “Emily in Paris With a View of Sinister Public Square”? Probably not, because the Netflix series left out the dark historic background of the common area directly in front of her dreamy Paris apartment.
Nestled in the cleavage between the rue des Fossés Saint Jacques and rue Lhomond, the Place de l’Estrapade was once the backyard of Phillippe Auguste’s fortified wall that encircled medieval Paris. A perfect spot to read books amongst the manicured plots of flowers, relax on a bench in front of the fountain, or use as a backdrop for Emily’s quaint Paris Apartment; this little park is often overlooked when compared to the famous neighboring Jardin du Luxembourg.
But despite the tranquility that can be easily found there, this nugget of land has a malevolent past… Take a look at the close up of Place de l’Estrapade from the 1630 Paris map made by Jean Sauvé. See that flagpole thingy? Named after the torture device known as the estrapade (or strappado), this is the site where predominately military deserters were punished for abandoning their posts.
There’s enough negativity in the word today so I’ll avoid explaining how this cruel practice was done and leave it to your imagination … JUST KIDDING! What do you think this is, another Perfectly Paris Instagram page?
Anyways, the criminal (or victim depending on where your sympathies lie you big fat Treasonous Traitor) would have his arms tied tightly behind his back with a rope, which was then attached to a pulley high off the ground. The person would be hoisted up by this rope, dangled, then abruptly dropped to a distance NOT QUITE touching the ground. Kinda like Medieval Sky Diving Gone Wrong.
Hey, no ever said torture had to be sophisticated to be effective! However, the goal was simply to reinforce the consequences of abandoning a military post by breaking a few limbs and causing lifelong disfigurement and pain rather than executing.