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Q: French history ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: French history
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: sunrunner-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 29 Nov 2004 14:04 PST
Expires: 29 Dec 2004 14:04 PST
Question ID: 435678
At some point a city wall was erected around Paris in order to collect
taxes on goods brought into the city. I have heard that the wine
merchants of Paris installed a (wooden?) pipe under the wall so that
wine could enter the city without paying the duty. If this is true, I
would love a good reference to it, including a paragraph or page

Request for Question Clarification by endo-ga on 29 Nov 2004 14:56 PST

I searched for a while (in French) and I've only found one site
mentioning one occurrence of what you describe. Would a link to the
site and a translation be a satisfactory answer?


Clarification of Question by sunrunner-ga on 29 Nov 2004 16:21 PST
the link and translation would be fine!
Subject: Re: French history
Answered By: endo-ga on 29 Nov 2004 17:01 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

After some research, I found that this tax was called "fermiers
généraux" and put in place after the revolution.

As you mentionned a wall was put around Paris. I found several links
pertaining to lots of fraud. But here are the two most relevant to
your query:

Jours de liesse pour la levée de l'octroi
Happy days on the cancellation of the tax

"Les 600 chasseurs nationaux embauchés pour empêcher la fraude étaient
inefficases depuis deux ans : de l'hôpital Saint-Louis au quai de la
Râpée, le vin s"écoulait sous le manteau et l'on a même découvert à
Saint-Lazare un cabaretier qui avait installé sous le mur un tuyau de
400 toises en taffetas gommé pour se faire livrer à domicile."


"The 600 people overviewing the taxation were inefficient. Wine was
being transmitted secretly. Someone running a cabaret was found to
have installed a 400 toises coated tube in taffeta to get wine
delivered directly."

Toise is a unit of length, and taffeta is a kind of cloth.



Another intersting link:

De la vigne et du vin

"En juillet 1788, le rapport du procureur du roi explique : « Les
fraudeurs ont imaginé de percer le terrain de la rue par une ouverture
dans laquelle ils introduisent un tuyau en fer-blanc, par lequel ils
font couler des boissons? On a découvert plus de 80 tuyaux. Les
employés voient passer également au-dessus de leur tête des ballons,
et lorsqu?ils veulent s?approcher, ils sont assaillis à coups de
pierres. »"


"In July 1788, the kings counsel report explained: the fraudsters made
a hole in the ground through which they passed a white iron tube that
they used to transmit drinks. We found more than 80 tubes. The
employees also saw balloons floating over their heads, and when they
went close to them, they got stoned."

That second bit implies that people were using balloons filled with
wine to fly above the wall.

If you need any other information, please do not hesitate to ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by sunrunner-ga on 30 Nov 2004 08:39 PST
Can you provide a year for the first citation?

Clarification of Answer by endo-ga on 30 Nov 2004 08:55 PST

The year for the first citation is 1st of May 1791, apparently that's
when the tax got cancelled.

sunrunner-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
you certainly found an answer quickly and precisely! Yhanks.


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