Parnell’s next visits to the city are a bit of a mystery. Improbably, Robert Kee's biography The Laurel and the Ivy tells us that Parnell was back to pursue his (ultimately unsuccessful) courtship of Miss Woods in Paris in winter 1870 and again in the following spring. Why are these two visits improbable? Because the Prussians began their siege of Paris in September 1870 and because spring 1871 saw the establishment and bloody suppression of the Paris Commune. More reliably, the Parnell Society of Ireland places his visit to Paris in spring 1872.
But Parnell did not turn up until several days after the appointed time for the meeting. His supporters, anxious as to his whereabouts, opened a letter addressed to him at the hotel and thereby acquired their first knowledge of Parnell’s liaison with Kitty O’Shea. When he did eventually turn up, Parnell gave several controversial interviews to the French press (in an interview with Le Figaro he recounted how he had given plain-cloths policemen “the slip in the rue Vivienne”) and he met such luminaries as Victor Hugo and Georges Clemenceau. He was even invited to dinner at Hugo’s home at 130 Avenue d’Eylau in the 16th arrondissement (now 120 Avenue Victor Hugo). He also apparently met John O'Leary, a leading light on the Irish Republican Brotherhood's Supreme Council, and Fenian Brotherhood member William Mackey Lomasney, who was to blow himself and his brother up three years later trying to destroy London Bridge. Parnell was back in Paris in late February 1881, again staying at the Hotel Brighton. During this short visit, he met the former French president, Marshall MacMahon, the builder of the Suez Canal, Ferdinand de Lesseps, and the Archbishop of Paris.
Parnell's connections with Paris did not end there. In the summer of 1886, the notorious forger Richard Pigott met an English journalist in the Hôtel St. Petersbourg at 33-35 rue Caumartin (9th arrondissement). Against payment, Pigott handed over a number of letters purportedly from Parnell's hand that suggested the latter had a much more ambiguous attitude to the Phoenix Park murders of 1882 than he had publicly displayed.
The Infiltrator – Henri Le Caron, the British Spy Inside the Fenian Movement (2010)
Charles Stewart Parnell, the Man and his Family (1976)
Robert Fitzroy Foster
The Laurel and the Ivy: The Story of Charles Stewart Parnell and Irish Nationalism (1993)
Charles Stewart Parnell (1977)
“Paris & the Parnell Family”, Parnell Society of Ireland (2007)
“M. Parnell à Paris”, Le Figaro, Feb. 14, 1881
“M. Parnell chez Victor Hugo”, Le Figaro, Feb. 17, 1881
“Parnell”, Le Figaro, Feb. 19, 1881