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The Belle Paule and mummies in Toulouse Cordeliers convent

The church | Symac / Sylvain Machefert / CC-BY-SA
Mystery Mummy Convent Cordeliers convent in Toulouse

A damaged convent

In the past, it used to be one of the greatest and most important Cordeliers convent in France.

Founded in the middle of the 13th century, the convent went through all crisis: wars of Religion, Revolution, transformation of the buildings into a jail...

Unfortunately, the deathblow came in 1871: a terrible fire ruined the monastery... they even razed the last buildings.

... and mummies!

Did you know that a charnel house used to exist here? The legend says inside, there were about 60 corpses, very well preserved.

And among those corpses, the one of la Belle Paule ("The lovely Paule"), a young noble lady from Toulouse, born in 1518.

Paule de Viguier had everything you could wish for: she was beautiful, smart (she wrote poems), virtuous...

They told that it was king François I who nicknamed her la belle Paule, when he was in Toulouse for an official visit.

The 15 years-old lady welcomed him and gave him the city's key.

Same thing with king Charles IX, in 1563: constable de Montmorency said "she was truly a marvel in the universe, she was Toulouse's honour"...

La Belle Paule

Gabriel de Minut, Paule's cousin, even wrote a little book called De la beauté, discours divers avec la Paulegraphie or Description des beautez d'une dame tholosaine nommée la belle Paule ("The Paulegraphy, about the beauty of a lady from Toulouse"), published in 1587.

He described her but gone too far: he told about his cousin's private parts! Oh, a little too much, right? How did he know such a thing? Err... God knows!

Anyway, the lady died in 1610. They buried her in the Cordeliers convent. And few years later, they found her body very well preserved, with her blond hairs!

Unfortunately, the crowd came in a body in the vault, to see her... so they forbade the entrance. And one day, some noble ladies asked to see Paule's body: they put it to the daylight... and the corpse crumbled into dust!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!