Décure's surprising sculptures in Paris Catacombs
Décure, quarryman and artist
We are now in the Port-Mahon gallery, named after the stony sculpture representing Port-Mahon fortress, made between 1777 and 1782 by the quarryman Décure, nicknamed Beauséjour.
An old veteran from king Louis XVI’s army, who became quarryman in the Catacombs in 1777, when they decided to strengthen the quarries.
Port-Mahon refers to a city in the Baleares islands, where the English took Décure prisoner, in the fortress.
He found this little recess in the Catacombs and decided to sculpt the stone, to pass the time. From memory, he recreated the stronghold where they locked him.
But Décure died in a landslide, while he was fitting out a staircase to reach his sculpture...
We could see a table and benches sculpted in he stone, until the 19th century.
Décure called the place his "living room" and he had lunch here, says the book Description des catacombes de Paris (vicomte de Thury, 1815).
In 1817, even count of Artois (queen Marie-Antoinette’s favourite brother-in-law and future king Charles X of France) visited the place and had a bite to eat.