Immortality, treasure, alchemy: Nicolas Flamel's mystery in Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie
Flamel and the Boucherie
The former Saint-Jacques tower was part of a medieval church: Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie. Boucherie (butcher’s shop) refers to the Grande Boucherie located between the Châtelet and the rue Saint-Jacques. Nicolas Flamel and his wife Pernelle gave a lot of money to this church. Oh, Flamel... Wait a minute.
Do you remember him? We met him in his house rue de Montmorency, the oldest one in Paris! He was a famous Parisian bourgeois in the 14th century. A rich public letter writer. Very rich. Gossips said he was an alchemist: he succeeded in solving the mystery of the philosopher’s stone which allowed the transmutation of metals into gold.
Nicolas raised a chapel in the Boucherie church, to be bury here one day. 20 years after his wife Pernelle was buried in the Innocents cemetery, Nicolas died on march 22th 1418. He gave all his money to Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie church. Oh, I know: this church was destroyed in 1797.
But Cluny museum in Paris keeps his funerary tombstone with this epitaph: De terre suis venu et en retourne L’âme rends à toi Jésus qui les pêchés pardonne, which means "I came from the earth and now I return. Jesus, you forgive sins: I give you my soul." The book Guide de Paris mystérieux (ed Tchou) says that a vegetables seller used this tomb as a chopper to cut her spinach!
A mystery !
Well. The story goes on, of course. The legend says that Nico and his wife Pernelle didn’t die. They became immortal thanks to alchemy... and very rich with the philosopher’s stone. A chap called Paul Lucas, a famous explorer in the reign of Louis XIV, said he saw them one day! A rich couple, of course, very suspect, too. They had to leave France and pretended they were dead.
Pernelle pretended she was dead and ran away in Switzerland while Nicolas was burying a log instead of her body, in the grave. Pernelle waited 20 years, and Nicolas finally died: he could join her in the Swiss mountains But before that, he buried a log in his own grave! Then they went round the world...
Not to mention the famous treasure hid below the current Saint-Jacques tower! The book Histoire de la magie by Eliphas Lévi says that this treasure was made of a "cedar chest holding Abraham the Jew’s genuine book, and also samples of the projection powder, sufficient to change the Ocean into gold if the ocean was made of mercury." The concerned book was bought by Nicolas Flamel: he discovered alchemy’s mysteries with it...