John Evelyn.

Diary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) online

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many pleasant and useful streams passing through it, the
main river being the Somme, which discharges itself into
the sea at St. Valery, almost in view of the town. The
principal church is a very handsome piece of Gothic
architecture, and the ports and ramparts sweetly planted
for defence and ornament. In the morning, they brought
us choice of guns and pistols to sell at reasonable rates,
and neatly made, being here a merchandise of great
account, the town abounding in gun-smiths.

In his history of that lung.


Hence we advanced to Beauvais, another town of good
note, and having the first vineyards we had seen. The
next day to Beaumont, and the morrow to Paris, having
taken our repast at St. Denis, two leagues from that great
city. St. Denis is considerable only for its stately cathe-
dral, and the dormitory of the French kings, there inhumed
as ours at Westminster Abbey. The treasury is esteemed
one of the richest in Europe. The church was built by
king Dagobert,* but since much enlarged, being now 390
feet long, 100 in breadth, and 80 in height, without com-
prehending the cover: it has also a very high shaft of
atone, and the gates are of brass. Here, whilst the monks
conducted us, we were showed the ancient and modern
sepulchres of their kings, beginning with the founder to
Louis his son, with Charles Martel and Pepin, son and
father of Charlemagne. These lie in the choir, and without
it are many more ; amongst the rest that of Bertrand du
Guesclin, Constable of France ; in the chapel of Charles V.,
all his posterity, and near him the magnificent sepul-
chre of Francis I. with his children, wars, victories, and
triumphs engraven in marble. In the nave of the church
lies the catafalque, or hearse, of Louis XIII., Henry II., a
noble tomb of Francis II., and Charles IX. Above are
bodies of several Saints ; below, under a state of black
velvet, the late Louis XIII., father of this present monarch.
Every one of the ten chapels, or oratories, had some
Saints in them ; amongst the rest, one of the Holy Inno-
cents. The treasury is kept in the sacristy above, in
which are crosses of massy gold and silver, studded with
precious stones, one of gold three feet high, set with sap-
phires, rubies, and great oriental pearls. Another given
by Charles the Great, having a noble amethyst in the
middle of it, stones and pearls of inestimable value.
Amongst the still more valuable relics are, a nail from our
Saviour's Cross, in a box of gold full of precious stones ; a
crucifix of the true wood of the Cross, carved by Pope
Clement III., enchased in a crystal covered with gold ; a
box in which is some of the Virgin's hair ; some of the
linen in which our blessed Saviour was wrapped at his
nativity; in a huge reliquary, modelled like a church,
some of our Saviour's blood, hair, clothes, linen with which

* A.D. 630.

1643.] JOHN EVELYN. 43

he wiped the Apostles' feet ; with many other equally
authentic toys, which the friar who conducted us, would
have us believe were authentic relics. Amongst the trea-
sures is the crown of Charlemagne, his seven-foot high
sceptre and hand of justice, the agraffe of his royal mantle,
beset with diamonds and rubies, his sword, belt, and spurs
of gold; the crown of St. Louis, covered with precious
stones, amongst which is one vast ruby, uncut, of inestima-
ble value, weighing 300 carats, (under which is set one of
the thorns of our blessed Saviour's crown,) his sword, seal,
and hand of justice. The two crowns of Henry IV., his
sceptre, hand of justice, and spurs. The two crowns of his
son, Louis. In the cloak-royal of Anne of Bretagne is a
very great and rare ruby. Divers books covered with
solid plates of gold, and studded with precious stones.
Two vases of beryl, two of agate, whereof one is esteemed
for its bigness, colour, and embossed carving, the best now
to be seen : by a special favour I was permitted to take the
measure and dimensions of it ; the story is a Bacchanalia
and sacrifice to Priapus ; a very holy thing truly, and fit
for a cloister ! It is really antique, and the noblest jewel
there. There is also a large gondola of chrysolite, a huge
urn of porphyry, another of calcedon, a vase of onyx, the
largest I had ever seen of that stone ; two of crystal ; a
morsel of one of the waterpots in which our Saviour did
his first miracle; the effigies of the queen of Saba, of
Julius Augustus, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and others,
upon sapphires, topazes, agates, and cornelians, that of
the queen of Saba* has a Moorish face ; those of Julius
and Nero on agates rarely coloured and cut : a cup in
which Solomon was used to drink, and an Apollo on a
great amethyst. There lay in a window, a mirror of a
kind of stone said to have belonged to the poet Virgil :
Charlemagne's chessmen, full of Arabic characters. In
the press next the door, the brass lantern full of crystals,
said to have conducted Judas and his company to appre-
hend our blessed Saviour. A fair unicorn's horn, sent by
a king of Persia, about seven feet long. In another press
(over which stands the picture in oil of their Orleans
Amazon with her sword) the effigies of the late French
kings in wax, like ours in Westminster, covered with their

Or Sheba.


robes ; with a world of other rarities. Having rewarded
our courteous friar, we took horse for Paris, where we
arrived about five in the afternoon. In the way were fair
crosses of stone carved with neur-de-lis at every furlong's
end, where they affirm St. Denis rested and laid down his
head after martyrdom, carrying it from the place where
this monastery is builded. We lay at Paris at the Ville de
Venice ; where, after I had something refreshed, I went
to visit Sir Richard Browne, his Majesty's Resident with
the French king.

5th December. The Earl of Norwich* came as Ambas-
sador extraordinary : I went to meet him in a coach and six
horses, at the palace of Monsieur de Bassompiere, where
I saw that gallant person, his gardens, terraces, and rare
prospects. My lord was waited on by the master of the
ceremonies, and a very great cavalcade of men of quality,
to the Palais Cardinal, where on the 23rd he had audience
of the French king, and the queen Regent his mother, in
the golden chamber of presence. From thence, I con-
ducted him to his lodgings in Rue St. Denis, and so took
my leave.

24th. I went with some company to see some remarkable
places without the city : as the Isle, and how it is encom-
passed by the rivers Seine and the Ouse. The city is
divided into three parts, whereof the town is greatest.
The city lies between it and the University, in form of an
island. Over the Seine, is a stately bridge called Pont
Neuf, begun by Henry III. in 1578, finished by Henry IV.,
his successor. It is all of hewn free-stone found under
the streets, but more plentifully at Montmartre, and con-
sists of twelve arches, in the midst of which ends the point
of an island, on which are built handsome artificers'
houses. There is one large passage for coaches, and two
for foot-passengers three or four feet higher, and of conve-
nient breadth for eight or ten to go abreast. On the
middle of this stately bridge, on one side stands the
famous statue of Henry the Great on horseback, exceed-
ing the natural proportion by much; and, on the four
faces of a stately pedestal (which is composed of various
sorts of polished marbles and rich mouldings) inscriptions

* George Lord Goring ; upon whom the above title had been recently

1643.] JOHN EVELYN. 45

of his victories and most signal actions are engraven in
brass. The statue and horse are of copper, the work of
the great John di Bologna, and sent from Florence by
Ferdinand the First, and Cosmo the Second, uncle and
cousin to Mary de Medicis, the wife of king Henry, whose
statue it represents. The place where it is erected, is
inclosed with a strong and beautiful grate of iron, about
which there are always mountebanks showing their feats
to idle passengers. From hence is a rare prospect towards
the Louvre and suburbs of St. Germains, the Isle du
Palais, and Notre Dame. At the foot of this bridge is a
water-house, on the front whereof, at a great height, is the
story of Our Saviour and the woman of Samaria pouring
water out of a bucket. Above is a very rare dial of several
motions, with a chime, &c. The water is conveyed by
huge wheels, pumps, and other engines, from the river
beneath. The confluence of the people and multitude of
coaches passing every moment over the bridge, to a new
spectator is an agreeable diversion. Other bridges there
are, as that of Notre Dame and the Pont-au-Change, &c.,
fairly built, with houses of stone, which are laid over this
river : only the Pont St. Anne, landing the suburbs of
St. Germains at the Tuileries, is built of wood, having
likewise a water-house in the midst of it, and a statue of
Neptune casting water out of a whale's mouth, of lead, but
much inferior to the Samaritan.

The University lies south-west on higher ground, con-
tiguous to, but the lesser part of, Paris. They reckon no
less than sixty-five colleges ; but they in nothing approach
ours at Oxford for state and order. The booksellers dwell
within the University. The schools (of which more
hereafter) are very regular.

The suburbs are those of St. Denis, Honore, St. Marcel,
St. Jaques, St. Michael, St. Victoire, and St. Germains,
which last is the largest, and where the nobility and
persons of best quality are seated ; and truly Paris, com-
prehending the suburbs, is, for the material the houses are
built with, and many noble and magnificent piles, one of
the most gallant cities in the world ; large in circuit, of a
round form, very populous, but situated in a bottom,
environed with gentle declivities, rendering some places
very dirty, and making it smell as if sulphur were mingled


with the mud ; yet it is paved with a kind of free-stone,
of near a foot square ; which renders it more easy to walk
on than our pebbles in London.

On Christmas eve, I went to see the Cathedral at Notre
Dame, erected by Philip Augustus, but begun by King
Robert, son of Hugh Capet. It consists of a Gothic
fabric, sustained with 120 pillars, which make two aisles
in the church round about the choir, without comprehend-
ing the chapels, being 174 paces long, 60 wide, and 100
high. The choir is inclosed with stone-work graven with
the sacred history, and contains forty -five chapels chancelled
with iron. At the front of the chief entrance are statues
in relievo of the kings, twenty-eight in number, from
Childebert to the founder, Philip ; and above them are
two high square towers, and another of a smaller size,
bearing a spire in the middle, where the body of the church
forms a cross. The great tower is ascended by 389 steps,
having twelve galleries from one to the other. They
greatly reverence the crucifix over the screen of the choir,
with an image of the Blessed Virgin. There are some
good modern paintings hanging on the pillars : the most con-
spicuous statue is the huge colossal one of St. Christopher,
with divers other figures of men, houses, prospects, and
rocks, about this gigantic piece, being of one stone, and
more remarkable for its bulk than any other perfection.
This is the prime church of France for dignity, having
archdeacons, vicars, canons, priests, and chaplains in good
store, to the number of 127. It is also the palace of the
archbishop. The young king was there with a great
and martial guard, who entered the nave of the church
with drums and fifes, at the ceasing of which I was enter-
tained with the church-music ; and so I left him.

January 4th, 1644. I passed this day with one Mr.
J. Wall, an Irish gentleman, who had been a friar in
Spain, and afterwards a reader in St. Isodore's chair, at
Rome ; but was, I know not how, getting away, and pre-
tending to be a soldier of fortune, an absolute cavalier,
having, as he told us, been a captain of horse in Germany.
It is certain he was an excellent disputant, and so strangely
given to it that nothing could pass him. He would needs
persuade me to go with him this morning to the Jesuits'
College, to witness his polemical talent. We found the

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 47

Fathers in their Church at the Rue St. Antoine, where one
of them showed us that noble fabric, which for its cupola,
pavings, incrustations of marble, the pulpit, altars, (espe-
cially the high altar,) organ, lavatorium, &c., but above all,
for the richly carved and incomparable front I esteem to
be one of the most perfect pieces of architecture in Europe,
emulating even some of the greatest now at Rome itself.
But this not being what our friar sought, he led us into
the adjoining convent, where having showed us the library,
they began a very hot dispute on some points of divinity,
which our cavalier contested only to show his pride, and
to that indiscreet height, that the Jesuits would hardly
bring us to our coach, they being put beside all patience.
The next day, we went into the University, and into the
College of Navarre, which is a spacious well-built quadran-
gle, having a very noble library.

Thence to the Sorbonne, an ancient fabric built by one
Robert de Sorbonne, whose name it retains, but the restora-
tion which the late Cardinal de Richelieu has made to it
renders it one of the most excellent modern buildings;
the sumptuous church, of admirable architecture, is far
superior to the rest. The cupola, portico, and whole
design of the church, are very magnificent.

We entered into some of the schools, and in that of
divinity we found a grave doctor in his chair, with a mul-
titude of auditors, who all write as he dictates ; and this
they call a Course. After we had sat a little, our cavalier
started up, and rudely enough began to dispute with the
doctor ; at which, and especially as he was clad in the
Spanish habit, which in Paris is the greatest bugbear
imaginable, the scholars and doctor fell into such a fit of
laughter, that nobody could be heard speak for a while ;
but silence being obtained, he began to speak Latin, and
make his apology in so good a style, that their derision
was turned to admiration; and, beginning to argue, he
so baffled the Professor, that with universal applause they
all rose up and did him great honours, waiting on us
to the very street and our coach, and testifying great

2nd Feb. I heard the news of my nephew G-eorge's
birth, which was on January 15th, English style, 1644.

3rd. I went to the Exchange. The late addition to


the buildings is very noble ; but the galleries where they
sell their petty merchandise nothing so stately as ours at
London, no more than the place where they walk below,
being only a low vault.

The Palais, as they call the upper part, was built in the
time of Philip the Fair, noble and spacious. The great
Hall annexed to it, is arched with stone, having a range of
pillars in the middle, round which, and at the sides, are
shops of all kinds, especially booksellers'. One side is full
of pews for the clerks of the advocates, who swarm here,
(as ours at Westminster). At one of the ends stands an
altar, at which mass is said daily. Within are several
chambers, courts, treasuries, &c. Above that is the most
rich and glorious Salle d' Audience, the chamber of St.
Louis, and other superior Courts where the Parliament
sits, richly gilt on embossed carvings and frets, and
exceeding beautified.

Within the place where they sell their wares, is another
narrower gallery, full of shops and toys, &c., which looks
down into the prison-yard. Descending by a large pair
of stairs, we passed by Sainte Chapelle, which is a church
built by St. Louis, 1242, after the Gothic manner; it
stands on another church, which is under it, sustained by
pillars at the sides, which seem so weak, as to appear
extraordinary in the artist. This chapel is most famous
for its relics, having, as they pretend, almost the entire
crown of thorns ; the agate patine, rarely sculptured,
judged one of the largest and best in Europe. There was
now a very beautiful spire erecting. The court below is
very spacious, capable of holding many coaches, and sur-
rounded with shops, especially engravers', goldsmiths',
and watchmakers'. In it are a fair fountain and portico.
The Isle du Palais consists of a triangular brick building,
whereof one side, looking to the river, is inhabited by
goldsmiths. Within the court are private dwellings. The
front looking on the great bridge, is possessed by mounte-
banks, operators, and puppet-players. On the other part,
is the every day's market for all sorts of provisions, espe-
cially bread, herbs, flowers, orange-trees, choice shrubs.
Here is a shop called Noah's Ark, where are sold all
curiosities, natural or artificial, Indian or European, for
luxury or use, as cabinets, shells, ivory, porcelain, dried

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 49

fishes, insects, birds, pictures, and a thousand exotic
extravagances. Passing hence, we viewed the port Dau-
phine, an arch of excellent workmanship ; the street,
bearing the same name, is ample and straight.

4th. I went to see the Marais de Temple, where are
a noble church and palace, heretofore dedicated to the
Knights Templars, now converted to a piazza, not much
unlike ours at Covent Garden; but large and not so
pleasant, though built all about with divers considerable

The Church of St. Genevieve is a place of great devo-
tion, dedicated to another of their Amazons, said to have
delivered the city from the English; for which she is
esteemed the tutelary saint of Paris. It stands on a steep
eminence, having a very high spire, and is governed by
canons regular.

At the Palais Royal, Henry IV. built a fair quadrangle
of stately palaces, arched underneath. In the middle of
a spacious area, stands on a noble pedestal a brazen statue
of Louis XIII., which, though made in imitation of that
in the Roman capitol, is nothing so much esteemed as
that on the Pont Neuf.

The hospital of the Quinze-Vingts, in the Rue St. Honore,
is an excellent foundation; but above all is the Hotel
Dieu for men and women, near Notre Dame, a princely,
pious, and expensive structure. That of the Charite gave
me great satisfaction, in seeing how decently and chris-
tianly the sick people are attended, even to delicacy.
I have seen them served by noble persons, men and
women. They have also gardens, walks, and fountains.
Divers persons are here cut for the stone with great
success yearly in May. The two Chatelets (supposed to
have been built by Julius Caesar) are places of judicature
in criminal causes; to which is a strong prison. The
courts are spacious and magnificent.

8th . I took coach and went to see the famous

Jardine Royale, which is an enclosure walled in, consist-
ing of all varieties of ground for planting and culture of
medical simples. It is well chosen, having in it hills,
meadows, wood and upland, natural and artificial, and is
richly stored with exotic plants. In the middle of the
parterre, is a fair fountain. There is a very fine house,



chapel, laboratory, orangery, and other accommodations
for the President, who is always one of the king's chief

From hence, we went to the other side of the town, and
to some distance from it, to the Bois de Vincennes, going
by the Bastile, which is the fortress, tower, and magazine
of this great city. It is very spacious within, and there
the Grand Master of the artillery has his house, with fair
gardens and walks.

The Bois de Vincennes has in it a square and noble
castle, with magnificent apartments, fit for a royal court,
not forgetting the chapel. It is the chief prison for
persons of quality. About it there is a park walled in,
full of deer ; and in one part there is a grove of goodly

The next day, I went to see the Louvre with more
attention, its several courts and pavilions. One of the
quadrangles, begun by Henry IV. and finished by his
son and grandson, is a superb, but mixed structure. The
cornices, mouldings, and compartments, with the inser-
tion of several coloured marbles, have been of great

We went through the long gallery, paved with white
and black marble, richly fretted and painted a fresco.
The front looking to the river, though of rare work for
the caning, yet wants of that magnificence which a
plainer and truer design would have contributed to it.

In the Cour aux Tuileries is a princely fabric; the
winding geometrical stone stairs, with the cupola, I take
to be as bold and noble a piece of architecture, as any
in Europe of the kind. To this is a corps de logis,
worthy of so great a prince. Under these buildings,
through a garden in which is an ample fountain, was the
king's printing-house, and that famous letter so much
esteemed. Here I bought divers of the classic authors,
poets, and others.

We returned through another gallery, larger, but not
so long, where hung the pictures of all the kings and
queens and prime nobility of France.

Descending hence, we were let into a lower very large
room, called the Salle des Antiques, which is a vaulted
Cimelia, destined for statues only, amongst which stands

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 51

that so celebrated Diana of the Ephesians, said to be the
same which uttered oracles in that renowned Temple.
Besides those colossean figures of marble, I must not
forget the huge globe suspended by chains. The pav-
ings, inlayings, and incrustations of this Hall, are very

In another more private garden towards the Queen's
apartment is a walk, or cloister, under arches, whose terrace
is paved with stones of a great breadth ; it looks towards the
river, and has a pleasant aviary, fountain, stately cypresses,
&c. On the river are seen a prodigious number of barges
and boats of great length, full of hay, corn, wood, wine,
and other commodities, which this vast city daily con-
sumes. Under the long gallery we have described, dwell
goldsmiths, painters, statuaries, and architects, who being
the most famous for their art in Christendom, have sti-
pends allowed them by the King. Into that of Monsieur
Saracin we entered, who was then moulding for an image
of a Madonna to be cast in gold of a great size, to be sent
by the Queen Regent to Loretto, as an offering for the
birth of the Dauphin, now the young King.

I finished this day with a walk in the great garden of
the Tuileries, rarely contrived for privacy, shade, or com-
pany, by groves, plantations of tall trees, especially that
in the middle, being of elms, the other of mulberries ; and
that lybrinth of cypresses ; not omitting the noble hedges
of pomegranates, fountains, fish-ponds, and an aviary;
but, above all, the artificial echo, redoubling the words so
distinctly; and, as it is never without some fair nymph
singing to its grateful returns ; standing at one of the
focuses, which is under a tree, or little cabinet of hedges,
the voice seems to descend from the clouds ; at another,
as if it was underground. This being at the bottom of
the garden, we were let into another, which being kept
with all imaginable accurateness as to the orangery, pre-
cious shrubs, and rare fruits, seemed a Paradise. From a
terrace in this place we saw so many coaches, as one would
hardly think could be maintained in the whole city, going,
late as it was in the year, towards the Course, which is a
place adjoining, of near an English mile long, planted
with four rows of trees, making a large circle in the
middle. This course is walled about, near breast high,

E 2


with squared freestone, and has a stately arch at the
entrance, with sculpture and statues about it, built by
Mary di Medicis. Here it is that the gallants and ladies
of the Court take the air and divert themselves, as with
us in Hyde Park, the circle being capable of containing
a hundred coaches to turn commodiously, and the
larger of the plantations for five or six coaches a-breast.

Returning through the Tuileries, we saw a building in
which are kept wild beasts for the King's pleasure, a bear,
a wolf, a wild boar, a leopard, &c.

27th . Accompanied with some English gentle-
men, we took horse to see St. Germains-en-Laye, a stately-
country-house of the King, some five leagues from Paris.
By the way, we alighted at St. Cloud, where, on an
eminence near the river, the Archbishop of Paris has a
garden, for the house is not very considerable, rarely

Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 46)