Place Tolozan and Resistance 2nd World War


Tolozan Square


Place Tolozan is located in the first arrondissement, it is a widening of the Quai Lassagne at the crossroads of the Grande rue des Feuillants.


Tolozan Square ends with the Le César building, which is at the corner of Pradel Square and was considered to be the most luxurious in the city when it was built around 1980. It has remained elegant with its broken mirrors that surprisingly reflect the city.
The last emblematic element is a large statue depicting an unbalanced skater. Heard at his foot: when he falls it's going to hurt! It seems that this reflection has reached the municipal ears, a barrier has been installed around it. This statue was the subject of a lawsuit around 2004, its owner, the Sun's thermal chain, wanting to recover it to decorate one of these spa centres. The judge decided that after twenty years of balance, the statue was now part of the Lyon landscape.


In 1746, Antoine Tolozan had the large Tolozan house built, which gave the square its name and appearance. His son Louis Tolozan de Montfort was born in Lyon on 21 June 1726 and died in Oullins on 10 December 1814, he was the last provost of the merchants from 1784 to 1790, he lived here in his house. Some springs also make him live in the nearby rue Puits Gaillot and in view of the town hall, probably before the construction of his magnificent house. The Provost Marshal was the equivalent of the mayor before the revolution. When the revolution broke out, Tolozan was in place and had to flee.
There is also a Tolozan passage between Longue Street and du Plâtre Street where he also lived or his father who had founded the family fortune in the business. The rue Pierre Blanc also bore their name because of a domain they owned there.


This is where the port of Saint Clair would have been.  From the medieval period to the 18th century and the development of the Quai Lassagne, there were ramparts that protected the city of the Rhône and invasions, it was at this time that the square took most of its shape.
During the revolution, the Tolozan house was ransacked during a riot in 1786, the canuts had already come to demonstrate for a price increase.
A plaque was placed at 19 in memory of Armand Cohen and Elie Boccara who were arrested here in 1943.
The square that was closed to the south was opened on Pradel Square with the works of the arrival of the metro in 1980.
A marker pays tribute to Jean Moulin, founder of the National Council of the Resistance, and André Lassagne, member of the Libération movement and General Inspector for the southern zone in June 1943.
Resistance - 2nd World War
  • Lyon during the war

During the Second World War, Lyon saw a mix of destinies. Situated in the Southern zone, in accordance with the 22nd June 1940 armistice, it became the most important city of Free France. It fulfilled a major role with the redeployment of administrative services and press organs from Paris. As an important intellectual hotbed, Lyon saw numerous leaflets and clandestine newspapers begin to appear from the summer of 1940. At the same time, the civil and military Resistance began to be organised.

- Arising changes

On 11th November 1942, the situation changed radically: German troops invaded the Southern zone and occupied the city. The German repressive services and the Vichy auxiliary police tracked down the members of the resistance and made many arrests. The repression also descended on the Jews, and many roundups were organised from August 1942.
On 14th September 1944, during a speech at the City Hall, General de Gaulle paid tribute to the city's commitment, and proclaimed Lyon "Capital of the Resistance".

  • A hero's history: Jean Moulin

Jean Moulin (20 June 1899 – 8 July 1943) was a high-rank official, Resistant and the leader of the National Council of the Resistance in France during World War II. He is remembered today as one of the main heroes of the Resistance, unifying the French resistance under Charles de Gaulle. He was tortured, in Gestapo custody, and died in the train that transported him to Germany, before crossing the border; his death was registered in Metz railway station.

- Earlier life and political path

Born as the son of a professor of history, he enlisted in the army in 1918 but the World War I came to an end before he had the opportunity to see action. Then he joined the civil service and rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming the youngest prefect in France at the Department of Eure-et-Loire.

After studying law at Montpellier, Moulin entered the civil service. In 1930 he became the youngest subprefect (in charge of an arrondissement) and in 1937 the youngest prefect (of the Eure-et-Loir département) in all of France. Moulin's politics were of the extreme left, and it was no surprise when, in June 1940, he was arrested by the occupying Gestapo and tortured as a suspected communist. Moulin tried to commit suicide by cutting his own throat but a guard found him and he was taken to hospital, where he recovered. By November 1940, the Vichy government ordered all elected left-wing officials to be sacked. Moulin, now recovered, refused to sack anyone and was himself dismissed from his post. From then on he devoted his life to resisting the Germans.

- Resistance and escape

In September 1941, qfter being removed from his prefecture, he joined the Résistance and was smuggled out of France to London to meet Charles de Gaulle, leader of the 'Free French', and other exiled French leaders.  He returned to France in January 1942 as General Charles de Gaulle’s delegate general for the unoccupied zone. He played a leading part in the organization of the Maquis (French guerrillas who fought the Germans) and in the development of the National Council of the Résistance, which coordinated all the noncommunist resistance groups in France and secured their loyalty to de Gaulle’s Free French movement. Moulin became the first chairman of this council in May 1943. His organizational abilities and political skills made him a legendary figure. Shortly after setting up the National Council of the Resistance, Moulin was betrayed. On June 21, 1943 at a doctor's house in Caluire, a suburb of Lyon. A clandestine meeting of Resistance leaders had been called to make arrangements following the arrest of a senior colleague. But someone had tipped off the Gestapo and its notorious local chief Klaus Barbie. Moulin was arrested with seven others. Tortured in one prison after another, he died in a train. Remembered as a hero of the Resistance movement and a martyr who laid his life for the cause he believed in, he is credited to have united the French partisan activities under Charles de Gaulle against German occupation. He was a very brave and courageous soul who after his torture and death at the hands of the Gestapo—the secret police of Nazi Germany—achieved a legendary status in French history.