October 6, 2013

Uncovering the Knights Templars

The school year has started and with it, Mona's famous tours around Paris. For two years I have been following Mona and her team of extraordinary guides into different corners of the city, letting myself be swept away into past epochs of "grandeur francaise", and it is fascinating.

Today we were off to discover Medieval Paris and the Templars. I had yet to learn what exactly templars were! Templars - officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129 - were among the most wealthy and powerful of the Western Christian military orders and were among the most prominent actors of the Christian finance. The organization existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages.

Walking through an area often ignored by visitors, we came across the oldest house in Paris, built by the alchemist Nicolas Flamel. We heard the story of the Order of the Knights' Templar, their links to the area, and their spectacular downfall.

The beautiful medieval architecture of the Abbey of St Martin was also on our itinerary; home of the Benedictines - an ancient religious order that kept the flame of civilization lit through the Dark Ages.

We listened to stories of the famous inventor Blaise Pascal and why his statue stands at the foot of the St Jacques' tower, recently restored to its former splendour.

We visit the spot where Henry IV was assassinated by the mad monk Ravaillac in 1610 and discovered traces in Les Halles of the Innocents, once the largest cemetery in the capital. I was now walking on the very spot I had read about this past summer in a book entitled "Pure".

The tour ended at the intriguing Saint Merri Church which houses the oldest bell in Paris, cast in 1331.


  1. Hi! Do you have a link for these tours? I'd like to do something similar while I'm in Paris with my 2 boys :)

  2. Whoops! Sorry, just saw it. Thanks. x

  3. Here is the link to Paris Walks: http://www.paris-walks.com/.


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