Labels : DaVinci Code, Harry Potter, Nicolas Flamel, Oldest house in Paris, Paris 10, Paris architecture
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.