Paris Travel Planner   Nicolas Flamel House, Paris, France
Did Nicolas Flamel actually discover the Philosopher's Stone that could turn base metal to gold? Well, we know that later story-tellers have turned Flamel into cash. Flamel's medieval house is certainly worth a look...

Detail of decoration on Nicolas Flamel House, Paris, France
Detail of medieval
on the façade...




Nicolas Flamel (c. 1330-1418) was a Parisian scrivener (writer) and manuscript-seller who was later promoted by 17th-century book publishers as an alchemist.

There seems no doubt that Flamel was a real person, living in Paris. He owned two shops, was prosperous, and was known to be a generous philanthropist.

He was buried in what is now the Musée de Cluny, where his tombstone, designed by Flamel himself, may still be seen. More...

One of his houses, at 51 rue de Montmorency (map), still stands. It's now a restaurant, so you can dine where Nicolas and his wife Perenelle used to live.

Plaque on Maison Nicolas Flamel, Paris, France

According to legend, Nicolas and Pernelle Flamel achieved immortality by discovering and imbibing the Elixir of Life. Flamel was also said to have achieved that supreme goal of alchemists, the invention of the Philosopher's Stone, a magical rock that could turn base metal to gold just by touch.

According to history, Flamel was not known to have had a keen interest in alchemy, and although he bought and sold old books (all manuscript at the time—Johannes Gutenberg wouldn't begin using moveable type in a printing press until around 1439), he probably didn't come across a copy of the Book of Abramelin the Mage.

However, book publishers in the 1600s, looking for best-sellers to satisfy a newly reading-hungry public now accustomed to printed books, concocted the Livre des figures hiéroglyphiques and other works that portrayed Flamel as an alchemical magician.

Indeed, authors and book publishers continue to use the romantic Flamel myth with telling—and profitable—effect. Flamel appears in J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum and other popular works, thereby doing better than Flamel: turning paper into gold.

Whether true or not, the myth is fun, and Flamel's very medieval-looking house is worth a glance, or perhaps even a meal, if you're nearby.

Auberge Nicolas Flamel
51 rue de Montmorency (map)
75003 Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 42 71 77 78

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Maison de Nicolas Flamel, Paris, France

Maison de Nicolas Flamel, Paris.

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