Claire Lacombe

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Claire Lacombe (born August 4, 1765 in Pamiers ( Département Ariège ); †?) Was a stage actress, revolutionary and women's rights activist at the time of the French Revolution .


The daughter of a businessman left her parents' home as a teenager to appear as an actress in many places.

She led the bread march to Versailles , in which on October 6, 1789 several thousand women to the palace of the French king Louis XVI. and there, with loud calls for bread, compelled the king to leave his residence and move to Paris. In the course of this tremendous success, the brigade of armed women from the lower class, founded and commanded by her, called itself the “ brigade of bakers ”, even though neither Claire Lacombe nor any of the other women had actually worked as a baker.

The woman, who had been republican since the beginning of the French Revolution, attacked La Fayette in April 1792 because of his role in the king's escape to Varennes and his responsibility for the massacre on the Martian in the Jacobin Club. She took part in the assault on the Tuileries with her brigade of armed women in August 1792 and received an award from the Paris city council for her participation in the victory against the royal guard. As the "heroine of the bakers" she became an honorary member of the Jacobins in 1793 . Because of her popularity, her demands for women's political participation and the right to vote were widely echoed, but this brought her into conflict with Danton and Robespierre .

Lacombe confessed to the " Enragés " and on August 18, 1793 demanded the reign of terror . At the end of August 1793, she became the leader in the Society of Revolutionary Republicans . On September 5, 1793, she declared herself in favor of the introduction of the constitution of 1793 , which was suspended until the peace was restored. Already on October 30, 1793, the sans-culottic women's rights activist's political career ended as a result of a brawl between market women and members of the Society of Revolutionary Republicans, which the National Convention used as an opportunity to deprive women of their political rights and to close their political clubs.

In contrast to Olympe de Gouges , who was executed on November 3, 1793 for her declaration of the rights of women and citizens , Claire Lacombe was able to flee Paris with the help of her "bakers". The "bakers" were then banned as a subversive movement. Together with her friends and colleagues Pauline Léon and Théophile Leclerc , Claire Lacombe was arrested on April 2, 1794, because Robespierre assumed sympathy for Hébert , who was executed on March 24, 1794 .

After the fall of Robespierre and the subsequent release from prison of Léon and Leclerc, Lacombe remained in prison for a year before she was freed on August 20, 1795. She subsequently lived in Nantes , where she worked as an actress for at least three years. After that, their track is lost.


Individual evidence

  1. Dominique Godineau: Claire Lacombe , in: Christine Bard, Sylvie Chaperon (ed.): Dictionnaire des féministes: France, XVIIIe-XXIe siècle , Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 2017, ISBN 978-2-13-078720-4 , Pp. 834-836.