Place Maubert

There is a very modest little square called Place Maubert. Modest in size, but with a lot of history. There have been some doubts about the origin of the name “Maubert”, but it seems rather clear that it’s some kind of transformation of “Maître Albert”.  This means that it refers to Albertus Magnus, also known as Albert the Great, Albert of Cologne…. and in France as Maître Albert. He was born around 1200 and died in 1280. He was extremely knowledgeable in many areas, but is perhaps especially known as one of the leading philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages. He gave lectures at the Paris University during a few years in the 1240’s and had as one of his pupils – and also friend - another very influential philosopher and theologian, Thomas Aquinas. They are now both Saints. 

Albert’s lectures were very popular and had often to be held outdoors, obviously here, at Place Maubert, quite close to the Seine River and the Notre Dame Cathedral, then under construction.

He also got his name linked to the little street, Rue Maître Albert, and to the nearby Passage Maubert.

There are a number of portraits of Albert, but they seem all to have been made a century or more after his death, so maybe the resemblance is not perfect.

Place Maubert is also known to have been a place of a large number of executions. Some 300 years after Maître Albert’s lectures there were a number of trials against Protestants, heretics, supposed atheists… and generally the sentence was death in various forms. On these city maps from that period, we can see for what the place was known.

One of the many condemned personalities was Etienne Dolet (1509-46). He was convicted of heresy and was burned with his books in a sentence obviously signed by the Paris Parliament, the Inquisition and the theological faculty of the Sorbonne University. Dolet somehow became a reference when during the 19th century the separation of the State and the Church started to become an important issue. He got his statue on Place Maubert in 1889. Meetings were held here until the separation came into force in 1905 … and even later. The statue disappeared in 1942 when the metal was required by the Nazi occupants.

Certain days of the week there is an important open market on the opposite side of the street. 



Virginia said...

Hmmmm, think this is one place I've not been. Add this to the list. You always find such interesting places Peter. Merci.

Oh, and BTW, sorry about what happened in Sweden Friday night!!!! :)

Dédé said...

On découvre toujours quelque chose chez toi. J'ai certainement dû passer en ta compagnie dans cet endroit.
Je remarque sur la première photo que l'arbre du square est bien verte. Un avant-goût du printemps.
Bises cher Petel!

Shammickite said...

heheh love Virginia's comment about the happenings in Sweden.
I'd love to visit Paris again soon, but will have to visit through your excellent dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Place Maubert!
Such a little place for such a huge history of brutality!
Is the neighborhood of this square haunted? All those poor souls, burned and slaughtered there. I am very glad I did not live in those "better times" as I too often read, when the past is mentioned.

Burning the "Maid of Orleans" for being a believer and burning Monsieur Dolet for not being one? I know nothing of the history of La Sorbonne, but just to think that such "pristine" university was involved in the burning of Étienne Dolet, for whatever reasons, makes me totally disgusted.

Thank you so much, Peter for the tour and for the history lesson. Never heard of this place before. I'm so glad you shared it with us.


I'm sure the "apprentice" was referring to the wedding last Friday night of Miss Piggy with a certain Nordic Chef. All of those familiar with Sesame Street know how Miss Piggy had been chasing him for years...
The thought of the Swedish press being so behind society news is unforgivable...........................

claude said...

C'est un non qui dit quelque chose à mon oreille, y ai-je déjà mis les pieds ? That is the question !

Anonymous said...

Have passed many hours there as my family lived rue des bernardins facing St Nicholas du Chardonnay one of the last churches to use latin during mass etc..