18.7.11

Carmelites

What was originally a Carmelite Convent is today a Catholic Institute (University), which you can find on the corner of Rue de Vaugirard and Rue d’Assas.

Carmelites moved in here in the beginning of the 17th century. Some original buildings remain, including the Saint-Joseph-des-Carmes Church, built 1613-20, originally, as the other buildings of the convent, painted in brilliant white. It got the first church copula in Paris, but you need a helicopter to get a good photo of it.
As we can see on the plan from 1739, the convent included large gardens. Here melissa and other plants were cultivated, for the production of Melissa cordial / liqueur (Eau des Carmes, Aqua Carmelitarium), very popular during centuries, used as medicine against digestion and other problems (Cardinal Richelieu used it against migraine), still to be found in pharmacies, but in private hands and produced elsewhere since the 19th century. … and the convent gardens are gone.
The Revolution of course struck here as well. The convent buildings were used as prison for non-juring priests, refractory clergy, who refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the State. 110 of them were killed here in 1792.

The convent could resume its normal activities in 1797. Some modifications to the buildings took place. In 1845 the place was taken over by the Paris archiepiscopal diocese to become a Carmelite School and in 1876 it became the Catholic Institute it today still is, including a Carmelite University Seminary.

New red brick buildings were added during the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
The ornament garden is still there - see also top photo.

30 comments:

Bloody Frida said...

In a past life, I wish to be a Carmelite making the liqeuor! What a magically beautiful place it must have been. Thanks for another lovely blog post, Peter

Paris Paul said...

I remember this while doing research on the massacre there. Very moving story, beautifully told. Awesome photos as well and usual. Thank, Peter!

Studio at the Farm said...

As always, Peter, a fascinating and beautiful post. What a serene and lovely setting.

La Jeune Captive said...

Is this the place history books refer to as Les Carmes?

I understand that rascal Tallien was the main protagonist in inciting the mob.

From that day on he was called "The Septembrist"-even called like that by his dissapointed wife, the beautiful "Notre Dame de Thermidor."

What an interesting post, Peter!

Thank you so much.

Olivier said...

le jardin (sur ta premiere photo) est magnifique, un endroit qui semble calme et paisible, en plein Paris c'est agreable

Thérèse said...

Ah les souvenirs des copines... Un bel endroit dont je suis contente de connaitre ici le passe.

Thirtytwo degrees said...

StTherese de Liseux was a Carmelite nun. Louise de la Valliere also entered the order of Carmelites after her affair with Louis XIV, King of France. This is a very interesting study and I am wondering who the unidentified nun is sitting on the bench, and I liked the bottle of carmelite water that you had pictured on the map. Thanks so much, Peter, this is a great post! I appreciate it very much.

Mona said...

I can never stop wondering at that kind of architecture!

Ash said...

Lovely building, hallway and garden. Very nice!

Ruth said...

I never heard of Carmelites.

And I imagine that you have been up in the helicopter to view it from above?

JoeinVegas said...

Always so green there

Synne said...

Oh, I never knew this! How interesting!

Montreal Photo Daily said...

You've done a super expose on the Carmelites in Paris. That reminds me of something about them having established roots here in Montreal also... hmmm... will check it out! Too bad the gardens have been destroyed!

Cheers from Montreal.

Peter said...

Answers to La Jeune Captive, whoever you are - couldn't you tell?:

Yes, this is what is to referred to as "Les Carmes". Tallien was certainly one of the most eager ones.

Thanks for your comments and interest! :-)

Peter said...

Thirtytwo degrees (Fahrenheit I suppose)! Sorry, I didn't check who the nun is.

Maybe interesting to know that Joséphine de Beauharnais and Mme Tallien (close friends) were prisoners here also for a short while,but with a more "happy end" than for the clergy.

hpy said...

Paris est plein de trésors et tu es un chasseur émérite.

Cezar and Léia said...

I love that organ pipe!
Wonderful pictures!
Léia

claude said...

Le jardin de la première photo est magnifique. C'est un ordre religieux terrible. L'Eglise est belle.

Trotter said...

Hi Peter! It’s not what it seems: I’ve just been too busy... No holidays... ;)

Vaugirard,Assas, Fac. de Droit...It looks in great shape!!

Cheryl said...

Is there anywhere in Paris that isn't lovely and amazing?!!!

Another great post, Peter!

Roberta said...

Bonjour Peter, love your blog. Couldn't find you on Twitter (r u there?), so sending you a note here.... I've nomianated you to participate in the #My7Links Challenge:-) I found it fun to do, hope you will too http://tinyurl.com/3kv6jvb
(fun to do, even if you aren't on Twitter, it's all about travel blogs)...
Cheers - and can't wait to get back to Paris!

Roberta (@citytravelbug)

sonia a. mascaro said...

Peter,
As always you did a fascinating and beautiful post. What a marvelous garden! Beautiful images and much histoire and culture. Thanks for sharing.

Bish Bosh Bash said...

The kinetic madness of mistrust and paranoia that brought about the savage deletion of so many good and decent beings during ‘La Terreur’ is mind boggling. The Carmelites nearly disappeared for good from the face of the planet in the following decades.

I sincerely hope old Cardinal Richelieu suffered painfully and often from all those migraines’ of his. But for him and the later ‘Revocation of the Edict of Nantes’, a version of ‘me’ and my cousins would probably still be living somewhere in France, instead of 60 miles north of Cherbourg.

Thinks?? Do you know if Cardinal Richelieu has got any surviving ancestors Peter?

Just a dark and wicked thought lurked its way into my head there. That’s all.

Oh…Lovely and informative post here again by the way Peter! Sorry – just got a bit distracted by another train of thought altogether there for a moment. Hmmm.

Mystica said...

Looks such a beautiful serene place even though quite a bloody history. The Carmelite order in Sri Lanka is a silent one. I wonder whether it is the same in France.

arabesque said...

i didn't know there was such a deep history with the carmelites.
although not familiar,
your post really helped me understand it a bit more.
nice fotos Peter.

Starman said...

I hope you had a great vacation. It seems to me that it was a little short.

VanityofVanities said...

Wow! The architectural design of this building is great. And even up till now, though some structures were not preserved, still it is a beauty, eh.

Thanks for sharing,
Cathy@cheap digitizing

Jeanie said...

Hello, Peter, and catching up after a long absence from blog world (save the preposts!). Scrolling down and getting reinspired for an upcoming Paris trip, come (probably) May 2012! This time I'm bringing Rick and I'm very excited! SO, I must study and prepare! The Carmelites offer another fascinating topic, as always beautifully photographed!

taylor said...

Isn't this the church where one of Charles II's mistresses was buried?

Peter Olson said...

I didn't know, but yes, I found this: November 14, 1734 – Death of Louise Renée de Penancoët de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, mistress of King Charles II of England, in Paris, France; buried at the Church of the Carmelite Convent in Paris
Among Louise’s descendants are Diana, Princess of Wales; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Sarah, Duchess of York.