Maison de Nicolas Flamel: the oldest house of Paris


The Maison de Nicolas Flamel (Nicolas Flamel House) is the oldest stone house of Paris, dating back to the 15th century.

Situated at number 51 Rue de Montmorency in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, the house belonged to Nicolas Flamel and his wife Pernelle who had it built in 1407 to house the poor.

To make use of this dormitory, the occupants had to comply with the condition to pray for their souls as testified by an inscription in old French still visible on the façade today:

“Nous homes et femes laboureurs demourans ou porche de ceste maison qui fut faite en l’an de grâce mil quatre cens et sept somes tenus chascun en droit soy dire tous les jours une paternostre et un ave maria en priant Dieu que sa grâce face pardon aus povres pescheurs trespasses Amen.”

Which is translated in English: “We, ploughmen and women living at the porch of this house, built in 1407, are requested to say every day an ‘Our Father’ and an ‘Ave Maria’ praying God that His grace forgive poor and dead sinners. Amen.”

The stone façade also bears sculptured angels playing music.

Many houses of this kind were built in Paris by Flamel. The one at 51 Rue de Montmorency was constructed on the deserted land between the old wall of Philip-Augustus and the newly added wall of Charles V. Nicolas and his wife never resided inside and all the houses built or bought for the purpose of housing the poor have disappeared since, except for the Flamel House.

Nicolas Flamel was born circa 1330 and died in 1418. A reputed French scribe and manuscript-seller, he married Pernelle, a wealthy Parisian lady in 1368. In the 17th century, nearly two hundred years after his death, legends started to appear about Flamel being an alchemist who would have discovered the Philosopher’s Stone and immortality.

The House of Nicolas Flamel was listed as a historic monument by the French State in 1911 following its restoration in 1900 when all traces of plaster were removed. The ground floor is occupied by a restaurant, the Nicolas Flamel Inn.

To access the Nicolas Flamel House at 51 Rue de Montmorency (3rd Arrondissement), the closest metro station is Rambuteau on Line 11.


About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

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