November 06, 2007

The oldest house in Paris


This is the oldest still existing building in Paris, from 1407. More ore less impossible to take a “decent” photo, the street is narrow. The address is 51, rue de Montmorency, 3rd arrdt. There is a restaurant on the ground floor.


It was built for Nicolas Flamel (1330? – 1417), an interesting personality. He was a very successful scrivener, manuscript maker and seller. (This was before Gutenberg.)








He incidentally got hold of a book which he then thought to be the Codex, the “Book of Abraham”, and he spent some 20 years to together with his wife to decode the contents, according to what was thought, sufficiently well to recreate the recipe for the Philosopher’s Stone, producing gold and the elixir for eternal life. Anyhow, he became very rich… and when his grave was later opened it was empty…

He was certainly a great alchemist and his works in this area were taken seriously, studied by scientists during centuries, including by Isaac Newton, whose main “hobby” seems to have been alchemy. Flamel is also mentioned as one of the Grand Masters of the obviously imaginary “Priory of Sion” and as such is of course referred to in the Da Vinci Code. He was also pretended to be a friend of Albus Dumbledore and to be the inventor of the Philosophers’ (or Sorcerer’s) Stone in the first Harry Potter book. He has been forgotten neither by Victor Hugo, nor by Umberto Eco.


It is believed that if he got rich, it’s rather thanks to labour and good, possibly more or less morally correct, investments. He was a generous person – spent most of his money on building hospices, repairing churches and helping the poor. The house we can see was opened to needing persons.


The inscription (“Nous homes et femes laboureurs…”) which still can be seen on the front of the house says more or less in a free and abbreviated translation: “The men and women who live in this house will have the right to a daily Paternoster and Ave Maria….”

37 comments:

Azer Mantessa said...

what a guy and he was studied by newton ... woooooo

Keshi said...

wow! but that doesnt look OLD.

Keshi.

Annie said...

History brought to life through your photos and your words is a pleasure, Peter.

Kate said...

I can't imagine a 15th century building!

Neva said...

Wow...this is an old building...and you can still read the words....

Olivier said...

Je ne connaissais pas du tout cette maison, merci pour l'histoire qui va avec. cela donne envie d'y faire un detour

Jessica said...

Great post. I thought Flamel was fictional, passed down through generations of writers until he gained mythological status. Guess I was wrong! Informative as usual. And great pictures!

hpy said...

Tu dois travailler beaucoup pour faire tes découvertes. Je suis muette d'admiration.

Glenn Standish said...

Very historic. Loved the building. Bet that restaurant is pricey as it's in such a prime location!

Peter said...

azer:
Yes, I understand the Isaac, so "scientific", surprisingly enough was completely passionate about the alchemy issue, making gold out of lead etc... This is of course a major reason why Dan Brown gave him a big "role" in the Da Vinci code.

keshi:
The restaurant has of course got new window framings... and the facade is at present being restored by the City of Paris.

annie:
Thanks!

Peter said...

kate:
I feel that it's actually surprising that there are no older buildings. There are of course some ruins... but this is the oldest, still functioning, house.

neva:
Yes, the words are there and were put there already when Nicolas was around!

olivier:
On ne peut pas être sécialiste de tout, connaître Evry ET Paris dans tous ses détails!

Peter said...

jessica:
No he is not fictional. There may be some fiction around him!

hpy:
Je suis content d'avoir des admiratrices - au moins une!

glenn:
I believe the prices are reasonable - for Paris. The street and the place is not much visited. I understand they serve some medivial dishes. Must try it one day.

lyliane said...

Voilà la deuxième (admiratrice)Très interessant j'avais entendu parler de lui, mais n'avais jamais poussé ma curiosité à fond! voilà qui est fait.En tous cas s'il n'avait pas trouvé la façon de changer les pierres en or, il avait trouvé l'elixir de la longévité! 80 ans à cette époque c'était vraiment vieux, mais il n'y avait pas d'état civil, ou si peu que, l'on pouvait rajouter des années.
Dans ce restaurant ils cuisinent des plats d'inspiration médiévale, là aussi je suis curieuse de savoir ce que c'est, tu n'as pas essayé?
Et le cimetière des innocents tu connais? Belle promenade et trouvaille aujourd'hui.

Nathalie said...

Nicolas Flamel, je connaissais le nom - mais je ne savais rien de son histoire.

La plus petite maison, la plus vieille maison, tu nous fais le livre des records de Paris ? En tout cas c'est passionnant à chaque fois. Bravo pour toutes tes recherches et la variété des lieux que tu nous fais découvrir.

lasiate said...

Oh! non la maison de Nicolas Flamel ! tu as trouvé les secrets de l'alchimie parisienne et ce n'est pas que de l'or ;)

Matritensis said...

Any ghost? Such an old house must have them ;)

April said...

Flamel, flamel, I wondered where I had read his name. But you told us: Dumbeldore's friend. Ah yes.

Chuckeroon said...

As they say "they don't make them like that any more".. Reading your piece I'm reminded that although we may regard the 15th century as "primitive" nevertheless there were high ideals and humanitarian acts that equal or even better what is done today. Great science, philanthropy, seeking for truth and understanding, a concern for quality.

Marguerite said...

Tu parles même d'Harry Potter ! Nicolas et sa femme détenaient ce pouvoir qui a été détruit pour éviter que le sorcier du mal s'en empare et donc le couple a perdu l'immortalité!
Toujous cette peur de la mort.
En tout cas, c'est extraordinaire que ce soit la plus ancienne maison de Paris, elle doit sa survie au fait qu'elle est en pierre. Les maisons en torchis ont brulé.
Sans doute il reste beaucoup de fondations et de caves qui sont aussi anciennes.

Peter said...

lyliane:
Donc deux; le nombre de mes admiratrices double d'un coup!
Oui, je connais le Cimetière des Innocents, si on peut dire - fermé depuis plus de 200 ans!

nathalie:
Oui, c'est quand même une coincidence que la plus vielle maison appartenait à un personage relativement célèbre!

lasiate:
Je pense que certains cherchent encore l'or de Nicolas, si non la vie éternelle!

Peter said...

matritensis:
I dared not to visit the inside!

april:
There are names like that...!

chuckeroon:
This centuries were often cruel, but there were certainly also a lot of good things, sometimes and possibly underestimated in history

Peter said...

marguerite:
Je vois que tu connais bien ton Harry Potter!
Oui, c'est clair qu'on peut trouver des traces des maisons plus vielles, mais ceci est une maison qui est encore entière (en train d'être retapée par la Mairie).

SusuPetal said...

I also thought Flamel was a fictional character.

Always something new in this blog, although the house is old....:)

delirium said...

Bon je me demande quand les directeurs des maisons d'édition des guides de voyage et découvertes vont vous contacter pour vous engager. :-)
J'avais déjà entendu le nom de Flamel mais je n'ai jamais été à l'école avec lui. Contrairement à hpy qui connaît les bâtisseurs de pyramides, ma connaissance des grands hommes (plus de 1mètres 50) s'arrête au 20ème siècle.

Olalala, et voilà que je suis encore en train de délirer, sans doute ce gros mal de crâne qui s'installe... je travaille peut-être trop. N'auriez-vous pas un peu de potion magique pour bien me faire dormir?
:-)
Je T'embrasse cher Peter

oldmanlincoln said...

I think it is extraordinary that we would have to find a cave to have a dwelling place older than your house here in this country.

The photos are nice and the narrative is too.

alice said...

On donne tous les deux dans l'ancien, aujourd'hui...Mais où sont passés les colombages de celle-ci?

Peter said...

susupetal:
Nicolas has really existed, but there is obviously also some fiction linked to his name.

delirium:
Pour le moment j'ai refusé les offres!
... la potion arrive par la poste, si tu me donne ton adresse exacte!

alice:
De la pierre! Solide!

oldmanlincoln:
1407 was a long time ago, but in a certain way you could imagine that some even older houses could have been saved for the future; however not in Paris. I guess Haussmann destroyed a lot of them, opening the avenues.

Ash said...

Wow - but it doesnt look THAT old!

lyliane said...

Tu exagères pour tes admiratrices, tu peux ajouter un zéro au nombre deux!! Pour le cimetière, celui là tu ne pourras pas le visiter, ni le commenter, à moins que tu ne l'ais fait dans une autre vie?tu m'as appris encore quelque chose, je le connaisais de nom,mais ne savais pas qu'il n'existait plus.

MONA said...

That is a wonderful tale about the Alchemist! It is interesting how many authors have used this 'entity' in their books!

Peter said...

ash:
It is being refurbished and looks actually very fresh, maybe too fresh (except the basement).

lyliane:
On apprend tous les jours.

mona:
Yes, these mysteries seem to interest many of us.

Mélisse said...

J'ai toujours pensé que la partie supérieure de la maison n'était pas d'époque, sans doute des rénovations malheureuses... la partie inférieure est toutefois spectaculaire ! Tu dis que c'est un restaurant médiéval ? Wahou, j'aimerais bien essayer cela !

Peter said...

mélisse:
D'accord avec toi; il y a des travaux en cours en ce moment. Quelques plats médiviaux; je n'ai pas essayé.

Anonymous said...

Good day !.
might , perhaps curious to know how one can make real money .
There is no initial capital needed You may start to receive yields with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you haven`t ever dreamt of such a chance to become rich
The firm represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with offices around the world.
Do you want to become really rich in short time?
That`s your choice That`s what you wish in the long run!

I`m happy and lucky, I started to take up real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. If it gets down to select a proper companion utilizes your money in a right way - that`s AimTrust!.
I earn US$2,000 per day, and my first investment was 500 dollars only!
It`s easy to join , just click this link http://oxyxodic.1accesshost.com/jiwinu.html
and go! Let`s take this option together to get rid of nastiness of the life

Anonymous said...

Good day !.
You re, I guess , probably very interested to know how one can make real money .
There is no initial capital needed You may commense to receive yields with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
The firm incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

Its head office is in Panama with offices around the world.
Do you want to become an affluent person?
That`s your chance That`s what you wish in the long run!

I`m happy and lucky, I started to get income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to choose a correct companion who uses your funds in a right way - that`s AimTrust!.
I take now up to 2G every day, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link http://yrohoreg.lookseekpages.com/ofegogu.html
and go! Let`s take our chance together to get rid of nastiness of the life

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone!
I would like to burn a theme at this forum. There is such a nicey, called HYIP, or High Yield Investment Program. It reminds of ponzy-like structure, but in rare cases one may happen to meet a company that really pays up to 2% daily not on invested money, but from real profits.

For quite a long time, I earn money with the help of these programs.
I don't have problems with money now, but there are heights that must be conquered . I make 2G daily, and my first investment was 500 dollars only.
Right now, I managed to catch a guaranteed variant to make a sharp rise . Visit my web site to get additional info.

http://theinvestblog.com [url=http://theinvestblog.com]Online Investment Blog[/url]

kate said...

Earning money online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.