Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Paris. Capital of France. The chief Parisian locale featured in the novel is the Rue Guy de Brosse, where Adrien Sixte lives, and its immediate environs. The Rue Guy de Brosse connects the Rue de Jussieu to Rue Linné, at the heart of a humble but respectable district bordered by the Jardin des Plantes and Hospital de la Pitié. Sixte’s fourth-floor apartment commands a good view of Père-la-Chaise, Orléans station, and the dome of La Saltpétrière, as well as the Jardin des Plantes, but the last-named is by far the most important; Sixte often takes long walks through the gardens, often as far as Notre-Dame, and his relationship with Robert Greslon is firmly grounded there.

Other Parisian locations briefly but significantly featured in the novel include the Palais de Justice, where Sixte is interrogated by Valette regarding his relationship with Robert, and the Hôtel de Sermoises in the Rue de Chanaleilles, where the Marquise de Jussat, her sister and Charlotte take up residence for a while.


*Clermont-Ferrand. Capital of the department of Puy-de-Dôme in the Auvergne mountains of central France. Robert spends his early life there, in a house built of Volvic stone, whose grey darkens with age to give the city itself a rather a forbidding aspect. Because the house is near the railway station Robert grows up haunted by the whistling of trains. Within the house, Robert’s father—an engineer—draws formulas on blackboards and writes at an architect’s table; he has a clock in the form of a geographical globe and astronomical...

(The entire section is 661 words.)