Religion: The Saints Win

In 1906, at the height of French anticlericalism, Henri Barabant, mayor of Dijon, cheered on his party militants by renaming several of the city's thoroughfares. Rue Ste. Anne became the Rue Chevalier de la Barre (after a 19-year-old nobleman executed in 1766 for allegedly mutilating a crucifix). Place Saint Michel was renamed in honor of Edgar Quinet, 19th century historian. Place Saint Benigne became Place Blanqui, after Louis-August, the Socialist hero of 1870. Most tellingly anticlerical of all: Place Notre-Dame became Place Ernest Renan, in honor of the ex-seminarian whose rationalist books about...

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