It was via the cul-de sac behind the black gate, to the left of the former joiners, that the members of La Caque (see also point No. 5) reached their meeting place. It drew its name from its smallness and was attended by Simenon and many artists (including renowned painters such as Mambourg, Lafnet, Scauflaire, etc.).
"In a stationery shop window,
Maigret found some postcards
showing the old church, which had
been lower, squatter and completely black.
One wing had been shored up with timbers.
On three sides, dumpy, mean little houses backed
up against its walls and gave the whole place a medieval
look. Nothing was left of this Court of Miracles except a sprawl
of old houses threaded with alleys and dead ends, all giving off a
nauseating odour of poverty. A stream of soapy water was running down
the middle of Rue du Pot-au-Noir, which wasn’t even two paces wide. Kids
were playing on the doorsteps of houses teeming with life.
The house numbers had worn away, so the inspector
had to ask for directions to number seven, which
turned out to be down a blind alley echoing
with the whine of saws and planes,
a workshop with a few carpenter’s
benches at which three men were
labouring away. All the shop
doors were open and
some glue was
[Georges Simenon, Le pendu de Saint-Pholien, 1931].