Paul-Louis Courier

épistolier, pamphlétaire, helléniste
photo1 photo2

The Véronique

La Véronique La Véronique - Watercolour of Alain Pirault

Location of la Véronique

J ean-Paul Courier, father of Paul-Louis, bought the entire property, composed of the Guyotterie and La Véronique, on February 10th, 1776 from Louise Françoise Taschereau who was living in Tours as Mother Superior of Charity. One year later, on February 11th, 1777 he married Louise-Elisabeth Laborde in Saint-Pierre de Mazières’church, the neighbouring parish.
Jean-Paul Courier died at the Véronique on the 13th of February, 1796, and was followed by his wife on October 3rd, 1801.
The name of « la Véronique », reminder of medicinal véronique (speedwell), is said to be in remembrance of an apothecary who had practised there.

La Véronique La Véronique - Photography M Bouyé
On March 31st, 1803, Paul-Louis Courier sold la Véronique and La Guyotterie to a baker, Jean-Paul Bourdon. The latter sold La Guyotterie to a carpenter on November 11th, 1803. La Véronique would be bought by a merchant-cooper called Jean Royer
This Jean Royer has nothing to do with his namesake who will fulfil the office of mayor of Tours from 1959 to 1995.

An erroneous place

La Véronique PPhoto from the book «Two hundred castles
and manors of Indre-et-Loire 1934»
O n the initiative of Jacques-Marie Rougé (1873-1956), author of diverse writings and a specialist of Touraine’s folklore, the historical plaque of La Véronique was put in 1925 on a building located in front of the Loire, at Cinq-Mars la Pile. Jean Guillon, a meticulous historian, worked on official documents and proved that the plaque was not placed at the right spot. He specifically consulted the main deeds regarding the Courier family at the office of the public notary, Mr Estevelin des Hautes Landes, at Cinq-Mars. The notarial deeds are reproduced below.

La Véronique Stairs of La Véronique by Alain Pirault
• May 14, 1774: Separate valuation of the land of Breuil
• January 18, 1776: Official title of an installment for the amount of 12 French pounds for Jean-Paul Courier.
• March 31, 1776: Transaction between Jean-Paul Courier and the heirs of Gatien Michau
• April 2, 1776 : Jean-Paul Courier takes possession of La Véronique
• July 29, 1776 : Termination of the lease of La Véronique
• November 7, 1777 : Settlement of a proxy for the legitimization of Paul-Louis Courier
• June 1, 1777 : Power of attorney acquired (note: the day is not verified)
• August 2, 1778 : Meeting of the Cinq-Mars’ inhabitants. Taxation of the tallage to Jean-Paul Courier
• 26 Vendémiaire, An VI (October 17, 1797 ): Sale of personal property at La Véronique
• 10 (ou 11) Frimaire, An XI (1 ou 2 décembre 1802) : Sale of a land from Cinq-Mars witnessed by Mr Thibaut (public notary at Cinq-Mars)

The site of La Véronique is clearly identified in the register of properties of 1772, kept at the townhall of Cinq-Mars. Current land registry (in 1926): Section C number 851 to 856 and 859, 683, 684, etc. The register of properties of 1772, a bound volume kept at the townhall of Cinq-Mars, contains handwritten indications that span from 1772 to 1818. L’Ile Bodet, located on the other side of the Loire’s dike, is registered as the property of Courier’s widow. Jean Guillon concludes his investigations as follows:
« Jacques-Marie Rougé is the author of a romanticized soap-opera about Paul-Louis Courier’s life that has no historical value, and which is the cause of numerous inaccuracies. »
Rougé had a plaque affixed at Cinq-Mars on a building which is not La Véronique. Since then, he seems to have recognized his mistake in a letter addressed to Mme Taillard1. »

La Véronique Another of Touraine’s erudites, André Montoux, studied real-estate heritage and wrote eight volumes called Old houses of Touraine. In the sixth one, he writes in 1984:
« […] on the centenary of the lampoonist’s death in 1925, the association Paul-Louis Courier2 had a white marble plate affixed on the neighbouring house with the following inscription (cf. picture above) : Here Paul-Louis Courier spent his infancy, a part of his childhood and wrote his first works (1778-1803). We ignore what actual reasons imposed this location at that time but it would be good today if the plaque were put at the right place… on La Véronique’s walls! »

Repositioning of the present plate

La Véronique Actual plate of la Véronique (Photo JP Lautman)
A fter taking into account the acknowledgement of its incorporator, the Society of Paul-Louis Courier Friends gave substance to André Montoux’s wish. The former plate was removed and the municipality of Cinq-Mars la Pile put up a new one in 1994 at La Véronique, owned by Mr et Mrs Michel Bouyé since 1978.
The text on the new plate is the same as the old one with this addition:
The property of the family extended far beyond.

La Véronique occupied by the Couriers later underwent important modifications, among them, the construction of a second floor.

[1] At the time that Jean Guillon carried out his research, probably at the end of the 50s, Mrs Taillard was the owner of a cluster of properties that included La Guyotterie she bought on July 13th, 1919 and on the west side, La Véronique, bought on August 6th, 1928. The whole was again parcelled out in 1967.  Note1
[2] This association, extinct before the war, has nothing to do with the « Société des Amis de Paul-Louis Courier (the Society of Paul-Louis Courier Friends) », founded in 1967 by Jean Guillon.  Note2