Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Amphora That

Paris iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ Amphora That ~

Amphora That, Any Day, originally uploaded by Paris Set Me Free.

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History is most pleasing, I think, when it comes to meet you in the streets of the city, offering en element of mystery or intrigue, and begging to be investigated and, if you're lucky, demasked.

Such is the case with this delightful first floor (second if you're from the US) façade with more than meets the eye to its make-up.

There's an urban legend which says it was here, in an erstwhile apothecary's store, that Henri IV was tended to after his fatal encounter with a certain M. Ravaillac in the nearby Rue de la Ferronerie.

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It's not been corroborated, though, so let's look at another of my favourite aspects of this thing, and indeed something I rather obsessively collect: the 'MACL' sign. I'm not going to tell you about it because I've already done so here and elsewhere and you can always read the archives or leave a comment below if you really need to know and fast! It's a beauty.

And what's nice is that on the other side of the window is the house number in exactly the same style, producing one of the most spectacular Paris wall markers in the entire city. It'll definitely feature in my Top 100 Paris House Numbers, currently in preparation in my brain, but as space is strictly limited it might be a moment before this particular series sees the light of day.

Finally, there's the 'Au Bourdon d'Or' legend and shell-encrusted crest above the window. The strange thing is I'd have expected a huge golden bumble bee in the style of plenty of other Paris icons like that golden snail not far from here, but no.

It turns out, though, that bourdon as well as a huge honey-layer can mean other things, many relating to the sound a bumble bee makes, i.e. a low and powerful hum or drone such as the lowest strings or sound-producing devices of certain musical instruments like bells or organs or bagpipes. Not so much as a hint of a bagpipe or any sort of pipe up there though.

Now, my eyes are not so great, and picture isn't that sharp either, so I honestly couldn't tell you if there's a bee on the thing or not, but could there possibly be something resembling a... pilgrim's staff? Maybe, just maybe that vertical central golden element, crowned by a big shiny blob is supposed to be a pilgrim's staff. And why am I going on about pilgrims' staffs, you are really starting to wonder.

Well the French bourdon also translates as, did you guess..? Pilgrim's staff. When it's at home.

And why not...
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Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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