21 August 1669
For my noble Friend
Samuel Pepys Esqr, One of the Principal Officers
of his Majestys Navy etc
I send you my Rhapsodies; but know, that as soon as I had set pen to paper, I was diverted by a thousand accidents; then follow’d Mr Cowley’s Funeral2, but I sneak’d from Church, and when I came home (which was near 5 a Clock) an Army of Work-men (your Wall-builders) and others, besiege me for money, and to reckon with them3; so as what I send you is snatches and night-work, and unconnected, which you must pardon; and if you judge worthy it, cause to be transcrib’d; for my Running Hand is an Arabic not to be endur’d: But yours is a Running Voyage and desultory; and therefore you will the easier pardon me. There may be likewise diverse gross Omissions, which you will best judge of when you come to Paris, and begin to traverse the Town; so as it is from you I shall expect to be payd with fresh and more material Observations. I could have sett you down Catalogues of many rare Pictures and Collections to be seen in that City, but you will every day meet with fresher intelligence. It is now many years since I was there, et mutantur tempora, et mores, et homines4. Pray forget not to visit the Taille-Douce shops, and make Collection of what they have excellent, especially the Draughts of their Palaces, Churches, and Gardens, and the particulars you will have seen; they will greatly refresh you in your Study, and by the fire-side, when you are many years return’d. Israel, Sylvestre, Morin, Chaveau, are great Masters, both for things of the kind extant, and Inventions extreamly pleasant. You will easily be acquainted with the best Painters, especially Le Brun, who is the Chief of them; and it would not be amiss to be present at their Academie, in which Monsieur du Bosse (a principal Member) will conduct you. For the rest, I recommend you to God Almighty’s Protection, augure you a happy Journey; and kissing your Lady’s Hands, remain,
Sir, Your most humble and obedient Servant,
These 3 Letters I enclose to be presented according to the Directions; with many more I could burthen you; but your short Stay at Paris will not require it; and besides, being Persons of great Quality, much of your time would be consum’d in making and repaying but impertinent Visites, in which I believe you would not willingly engage. I send you the Letters open for you to seal when you please.
When you are arriv’d at Paris, the best Service [which]5 can be done you, will be to address you where you may immediately repose your self, till you are provided and settled in a Lodging suitable to your Company. Therefore you may please to enquire for One Hughs an Englishman, who lives in la Rue de la Boucherie, au Fauxborg St Germain, a Friend of Sir Samuel Tukes, who will send for Dr Fitz-Gerrard (to whom you have a Letter) and he will assist you both to find out a fit Lodging, and whatever else you shall require.6
If you make your Journey through Picardy (which I believe you may resolve to do in regard of the Contagion) if you could so contrive it as to see Monsieur de Lion-Court’s Seat at Lion-Court, the Gardens and Water-works would much please you; at least, if they are continu’d with that Care we have knowne them. But because I cannot tell you how inconvenient it may prove to deviate so far from your direct Road, I do only mention it en passant.
Calais8 You will find a strong Town by the new Fortifications and by two adjoyning Forts, besides the Citadelle and the Sluces, by which they can environ it with water at pleasure. The Market-place and Magazine, which was once a Staple for English Wool is observable; and so is the Architecture of an Altar-piece (as I take it) of black marble. I us’d to lodge at the Silver Lyon. Hence you have 7 Leagues to Boulogne a small Town; but famous for our Henry 8’s Expedition. The Lower Town has a large Street, and there I suppose you may lodge au Bras d’or. The Fortifications are not considerable. After 7 Leagues riding you will come to
Montreuil, where you will see an irregular Citadel; but the Town situated on a strong Eminence; and towards Paris-side the Fortification is very considerable by an Horn-work, and most noble Bastions, which are worth Remark, and will give you an idea of the Strength of such Places as they fortify abroad.
Abbeville — is 10 Leagues, a reasonable pretty Town; and though it be well fortify’d, there is nothing very observable in it. Here they used to offer us Pistols and Guns to buy. I think you will lodge there, or proceed 4 Leagues further to
Pont Dormis. A Little strong-Place regularly fortify’d. Thence to Crevecoeur 4 Leagues: And thence to
Poix Where you come into wretched Places, till you arrive at
Beauvais 9 Leagues (as I remember) a pretty large Town, and Market-place, and well-water’d: The Houses built of Wood. The Bishop’s House is of Stone, and has some good Appartments in it. The Church is imperfect; but the Architecture good, though plain, and with handsome Sculpture behind the Quire. Pray observe the measures of the Town for their Serges9), and the Standards of them by Iron-Chains of different Lengths. After 8 Leagues you come to
Beaumont. Here, and before you will enter among the Vine-yards, I know little more observable, except it be the House and Garden of the President Nicolais, as you draw near Paris; which I esteem much for the Avenue and Fountains. But your mind will be so set on Paris, which is now but 4 leagues distant, that you will hardly stay. And indeed this whole Journey will render you little satisfaction, being for the most part, through a Frontier and miserable Country, and where you will see part of the Calamity of a Tyrannical Government, and the Effects of a continual War, such as has afflicted all that Tract for diverse Years. When you are arrived at
Paris, My Counsel is, that you take Chambre garnie10 (as they call it). Sir Samuel Tukes addresses you to a Friend of his, an Irish Doctor of Physick (unknown to me) who he assures will be so honest, humble, and necessary to you, that you shall need no other to conduct you to all the considerable Places, and to introduce you both at the Courts and other Assemblys, which it is necessary for you to see. He will likewise find you out a convenient place for your Lodging, and do the Offices of a Guide in all that you can desire; and which will therefore much shorten the trouble I was going to engage you in, by giving you any large Directions of my owne-
That yet, this Paper may serve to put you in mind of some Particulars, which happly the shortness of your Expedition may otherwise indanger you to omit. I would in the first place climb-up into St Jacques Steeple to take a synoptical Prospect of that monstrous City, to consider the Situation, extent, and Approaches; so as to be the better able to make Comparisons with our London; which you will do with pleasure, by imagining it extended to a Length which you will find in a Circle.11
The principall Places where Persons of Quality dwell are in the Sub-urbs, especially that of St Germains, and in that the Abbey, an old Foundation, but nothing much remarkable in it. But the Hospital of La Charité is worthy your seeing, for the worthy Charity which is every day there exercis’d in so full, so cleanly and devout a manner, as must needs much affect you; especially when you shall have seen the rest of those admirable Foundations, among which you must not forget the Hostel-Dieu near Notre-dame, though it be not altogether so neat and comp[ac]t; yet for the Number and manner of it, very considerable.
There are diverse noble Houses in these Fauxbourgs; but none comparable to that of
Luxembourg call’d le Palais d’Orleans; which for the Fabrick and Garden (now I hear much neglected since the Decease of the best Gardiner in the World, the Duke) is exceedingly worthy your frequent Visite. Consider the Building well, and the Extent of the Ground about it, as within so great a City; The Fountains, Walks, Eminency on which it stands; and you will judge it almost as fine as Clarendon-House, whose situation somewhat resembles it. The Duke’s Library and Gallery well furnish’d with Books, and incomparable Medals (of which he was the most knowing and curious Person in Europ) together with the Gallery painted by the Hand of Rubens (so as we have none in England, and therefore our Painters know not what belongs to Historical Works) will exceedingly please You, if these Curiosities remain still in the Lustre they did at my Sojourn there.12
In the City, the first Place of note is the Louvre, or Court of that Great Monarch. The Galleries, Salle of Antiquities, Printing-house, Monnoye13, Gardens of the Thuilleries, Furniture, Architecture, and ten thousand Particulars will take you up a good time here. Besides that you ought to kiss the King and Queen’s Hands; to see some publick Audience; Observe his Table, his Guard, Council, and what else will be suggested to you by your Conductor. As you go to Court, you will pass over Pont-neuf, and wish ours of London had no more Houses upon it, but instead thereof a Statue, such as you will there find erected, the Work of the famous Giovanni de Bologna, greatly esteem’d14 the foot of this Bridge (for the River is not considerable) there was a Water-work called the Samaritaine, and in my time such a curious and rich Piece of Artificial Rock-Work, as was hardly to be seen in Europ. But the curious Person that then was Master of it, is since many years dead, and perhaps the Rock demolish’d and sold: It is but asking the Question. However one would see the Machine.15
Notre-Dame is the Chief Church of Paris, built (as Tradition goes) by the English, but infinitely inferiour to St Pauls, or Westminster. You will do well to consider it, if the Giant at the Entry do not forbid you16. There are some Pictures in it considerable.
Near this is the Pont au Change, which though but short, is for the uniformity of the Houses and Bass-relieve of Brass at the front of it, pretty in perspective.
You will be much entertain’d in visiting the several Convents of the <Orders of Fryers and other Religious Men: One would therefore see the>17 Convents of the Franciscans, Capucines, Fathers of the Oratory, and above all the Jesuites, both that of the Novitiate in the Suburbs near Luxembourg, for the trueness of the Architecture, and though plain, yet very excellent and that of St Louis, more splendid and costly. And you must not only behold the Out-side, but procure Admission within to see their manner of living, which will bee wholly new to You; especially that of the Carthusians, which I conjure you not to omit; and to visit likewise a Nunnery or two, not forgetting Sion, and the Monument of Sir Samuel Tukes’s Lady.18
When among the several Churches and Oratories you shall have once contemplated the Val de Grace, your Eyes will never desire to behold a more accomplished Piece19. There it is you will see the utmost effects of good Architecture and Painting, and heartily wish such another stood where once St Pauls was, the boast of our Metropolis; for than this, you will never see a more noble (though not great Fabrick;) the Co[n]vent and other Buildings about it are very compleat, especially the Carmes over against it.
After the Churches and Hospitals, remember the University, particularly the Sorbonne: The Schools are a plain Building, but the Church is a noble Structure, and the melancholy Situation of it within the Court, has some what (methinks) of particular in it, which affects me. Here, be sure to be at some publick Scholastical Exercise, and love our owne Universitys the better after it.
There is le College des quatre Langues founded by Cardinal Mazarin, but not yet finish’d, worthy your Enquiry after: And if his Majesty have done any thing for the Virtuosi (our Emulators) in designing <them> a Mathematical College, seek after it, and procure to be admitted into their present Assembly, that you may render our Society an Account of their Proceeding. You will easily obtain that by the assistance of some Friend: But Mr Oldenburg being in the Country, (for I went to his House) you will miss of an infallible Address.
Now you must be sure to be early at some famous Aacdemy to see the Gentlemen ride the Great Horse, and their other Exercises, that you may be astonish’d a great Kingdom as ours, and so great a City as London, should not afford one Cavalerizio for the noblest Institution of Youth; there being so many in Paris, and in almost all the considerable Citys of France, which daily ride near an hundred managed Horses.
When you visit le Palais Cardinal, You will find many things worth your seeing, especially the Galeries and the Paintings; the King and Queen’s Bathing-Rooms, Chambers of Audience; Theater for the Comedies, Gardens, and near it Cardinal Mazarin’s Palace, at my being in Paris, and in his Life-time, doubtless the most richly furnish’d in the World.
I suppose the Library is yet extant: You must by all means see it, as one of the most considerable things in Paris <but the King has a Library well worth your seeing near Monsieur Colbert’s house>. But what is of greater Antiquity, and to be reverenc’d for being so, is, the Abbey de St Victoire whose Bibliotheque is very remarkable. But infinite are the Collections of rare Books, Pictures, Statues, Curiositys etc, which the Noblemen and many private Persons have in Paris; which daily augmenting and diminishing, according to the genius of the Possessors of them, you must enquire after upon the Place, and procure means of seeing: For which I transmit you the 3 Enclos’d Letters to Friends of mine (though of the lower Rank) who will abundantly satisfy your Curiosity; and you will do well to purchase of them what they have of most rare of their own Works, as well Books as Tailles-Douces; the One being the most famous Artist for things in Graving with the Burin, and the other in Etching. Monsieur Du Bosse’s Books of Architecture and Perspective etc are worthy your Collections20. And if you stayd so long to have your Lady’s and your own Pictures engraven by le Chevalier de Nanteuille you would bring home Jewels not to be parallel’d by any Mortal at present, and perhaps by none hereafter. He is the greatest Man that ever handl’d the Graver, and besides, he is a Scholar and a well-bred Person21. And Monsieur Du Bosse (the other) is a plain, honest, worthy, and intelligent good man; both my Singular Friends and Correspondents for those Matters of Art etc.
The King’s medicinal Garden and Laboratory with all the Apparatus, is at no hand to be omitted, because it is so well furnish’d and so rarely fitted for the Design, as having all the affections of Ground and Situation desirable. If you stayd a whole Winter in Paris, I would invite you to see a Course of Chimistry, which is both there and in several private Places shew’d to the Curious to their wonderful satisfaction and Benefit of Philosophic Spirits.
Near to this is the Gobelins, where was wont to be the Manufacture of Tapestry; pray enquire it out most diligently, and by no means omit the visiting of all those Particulars; no, not Monsieur Colbert’s late Silk-Worm-Work, or whatever there be of that Nature. <At these Gobelins are all the King’s Manufactures: Pray therefore visit it most studiously.>
You must likewise see the Hostel de Ville, being their Guild-Hall, the Palais (which is their Exchange) and there the Hall of Justice; answerable to ours of Westminster, neater, but not so large, especially the Parliament-Chamber, and other Tribunals, which you will find to be much more august and splendid than most of ours. Here you will take notice of the Habits of their Advocates and Men at Law, and be curious to hear a Pleading, as well as a Masse and other Ceremomies at some of the Churches, that you may love your own Religion the better.
The Place Royal is our Piazza of Covent-Garden; but in my judgement nothing so chearful. The Brazen Horse in it is considerable.
By some especial Favour you may be admitted to take a View of the Bastille (which is their Tower) and Arsenal joyning to it. There you will see in what Equipage for Strength they are; for there they cast their great Guns, and there is the Repository of Stores. There are many noble Houses and pretty Oratories here-about, especially St Louis belonging to the Jesuites, with a Noble Frontispice.
For once you would be at the Preach at Charenton, and for once see a publick Comedy at l’Hostel de Bourgogne, and even the Mad-men at the Petites-Maisons: For all these Places and Humours are instructive; but none more Divertissant than the Mountebanks and prodigious Concourse of Mankind au Pont-Neuf22, which I would therefore have you frequently to traverse, and contemplate, as a lively Image of that Mercurial Nation.
In the St Chappel are some Reliques23 which you may also see, when you are at the Palais; and be sure to bring home with you some good French Books, which you will encounter in you visiting their Shops.
The Cours you should likewise see, to compare it with our Assemblys of Gallants and Faire Ladys at Hide-Park: And then I know not what to say more; for by this time you will be willing to take some air perhaps abroad, and make a Journey about the Town, to see how they live in the Countrey, and how they make their Wine (for the Vintage almost meets you) among their Villa’s. The Places I recommend to your view are chiefly,
St Cloud, those noble Gardens, where you will kiss the Hand of Madame la Duchesse d’Orleans24. Ruel, formerly a most elegant Villa25. St Germain-en-Laye, one of the King’s Countrey-Houses, nobly situated, and where there were the most Artificial Water-Works and Grotts in France, now I hear run exceedingly to decay. Maisons in my poor Judgment for the Architecture, Situation, cutt into the River, Forest, Gardens, Stables, etc, one of the most accomplish’d and sweet Abodes that ever I saw: But it is not perfect. Madrid is not very considerable; but one Appartment at Bois St Vincennes is worth your view, with the Park; of which you will find none comparable to ours in England. St Denys, I suppose, you might see in your Journey going or returning; and there, besides a venerable Church, the Dormitory of the French Kings, a Treasury of Reliques emulating even that of our Lady’s of Loretto, and you must not omit it.
I would have you also make a step to Arcueil, which Mary of Medicis built for an Aquæduct; because it will furnish you with an Idea what those stupen-dious structures were extended to many miles, and of greater Altitude only.
Chantilly, Melun, Verneuil, Monceaux, Villers Cotteret, Limours, Bois le Vicomte26, Bisestre, an Hospital, are Countrey-Palaces and Gardens of great Fame, if your time serve you may do well to visit. <Many of these Places will be too far for you.> But at no hand must you forget to take a th[o]rough Survey of their renowned Fontainebleau; which when you have seen you will not judge comparable to Hampton-Court; nor can the French Monarch shew such a Castle, Palace, and Church, as our Windsor in all his wide Dominions. Yet here the Canal, and plenty of Water, with the Forest <about it> is stupendious; and there are some good Paintings in the House; but especially that Gallery, the Work of the famous Prima Titia.
Versailles will much please you; and Veau, the House of the late President Fouquet, amaze you for the infinite Cost both in Building and Gardens, august even in its very Ruines, and absence of its magnificent Founder.
I had forgott to acquaint you that the Church-yard of St Innocents in Paris is observable for the Quality of the Earth, which by the innumerable Buryings there, is become Sarcophagus; and there it is you will see the Hieroglyphics of the Philosophie Works of Nicolas Flamel; but in nothing beautifull or considerable.
I should not have so slightly mention’d les Carmes, a Church near Val de Grace, because it is most worthy your seeing, and particularly the Tabernacles upon the High Altar.
In the English College of Jesuites, Clermont, you will see the Systems of Copernicus, and the new Astronomers, moved by Water; For the rest, the Place is nothing observable.
Sir, Had I anything more to add, I should weary you; it is already late, and I almost blind: So as I am perfectly asham’d at my wretched Character.