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Auguste Pavie’s family originated in the Dordogne region. His great grandfather was a merchant dyer. His grandfather, Pierre, who was born on 22nd December 1782 in Brantôme, was a soldier of the Empire. A conscript in the light infantry he took part in campaigns in Italy in 1806, Prussia in 1807 and Germany in 1809. Having been taken prisoner, he returned to France the following year. His profession took him to Brittany where he became a mounted policeman in Plancoët. In 1814 he married Marie Céleste Dupoux in Uzel. In 1815, the west of France rose up against the mobilisation of the National Guard. The Chouan Army resumed its fight and Dinan was besieged. Pierre Pavie saved Vicount Du Breil de Pontbriand, who was the leader of a division of royalist volunteers, from the thrust of a bayonet by deflecting "the point, which he took in his own shoulder and which went through his clothes." His military record mentioned this act of bravery. Upon his retirement he became a rural policeman. He moved to Dinan in about 1835, a small, picturesque town "with its houses with gables overlooking the road, its magnificent churches, its ancient murals and narrow, winding streets." He died in 1845.

Auguste Pavie’s father, Augustin, who was born in 1820, was a cabinet maker, then a rural policeman. In 1846 he married Adèle Cocard, who came from Dinan. He also joined the gendarmerie and was posted successively to Loudéac, Jugan, Saint-Quay and Guingamp, where he finished his career as a police superintendent. Auguste was born in 1847, in a small house with timber-framed walls like many of the houses in Dinan, followed by his brother Pierre and sister Adèle. The Pavie children lived in this modest environment, where life was punctuated by school, local festivals, and the arrival of the latest inventions such as the railway or photography.