Not many tourists (or Parisians) find themselves on this narrow little street that connects the Place du General Patton and the grand Avenue Foch. I would venture to guess that only a small percentage of Parisians even know about the nefarious past of Rue le Sueur or should I say, one of its buildings.
On the evening of 11 March 1944, 5 months before the liberation of Paris, Monsieur Marçais, resident of 22, rue le Sueur, called the police over his concern for the immense amount of black smoke billowing from the chimney across the street at number 21. He was worried about a potential chimney fire in the unoccupied house. The neighbors later noted that the smoke had been heavy for the prior 5 days and the stench was nauseating.
Two policemen arrived on their bicycles and attempted to gain entry but were not successful. A neighbor who knew the owner telephoned him. Dr. Marcel Petiot lived at 66, rue Caumartin, approximately 15 minutes away by bike. He told the police to wait, as he would be right over with the keys.
After one half hour and no Dr. Petiot, the policemen were so worried about a fire that they called the fire department from which a truck and crew were sent immediately (the fire station still exists at 8, rue Mesnil). After smashing a window, several of the men were able to get inside the dark house. They followed the smell down to the basement where the most hideous scene unfolded.