So in case you’re brand new around here, you’re on the website of The Earful Tower, which is a podcast about Paris and France.
Each week I have interesting guests telling their stories about the City of Light – and in today’s episode, Diana from The Land of Desire shared a great tidbit about the oldest houses in Paris. So as promised, here’s how to find them.
But first things first, you should listen to our episode. Diana also has a podcast about France, here’s the official site. Click play below to hear our chat about Paris and its fascinating history.
But heck, you probably came here to find out about the three oldest houses, so here’s what to look for and where to find it.
The oldest house in Paris
At 51 Rue de Montmorency in the third arrondissement, you’ll find the first home of famed alchemist Nicolas Flamel. Experts have fairly recently agreed that this home is the oldest in Paris, and it dates back over 600 years.
Flamel, who you might remember being mentioned in both Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code, lived between 1340 and 1418. It’s pretty mind boggling to think his house is still standing!
Text above his front door reads: “We, ploughmen and women living at the porch of this house, built in 1407, are requested to say every day an ‘Our Father’ and an ‘Ave Maria’ praying God that His grace forgive poor and dead sinners.”
The second-oldest house in Paris
The second oldest house in Paris is not too far away at 3 Rue Volta. The trouble with these places is that they’re very hard to photograph because they’re on such narrow streets that you can’t stand back far enough to get a photo.
But hey, I did my best below. The house really sticks out among the neighbouring buildings, which are more typically Haussmannian.
Anyway, this one was built somewhere between 1644 and 1655, and now has a bustling Asian restaurant on the bottom floor.
Another very old house – but no one knows just how old…
And lastly, here’s two for the price of one. These neighbouring homes are also in the Marais and you can find them at number 11 and 13 rue François Miron. The half-timbered houses date back to who knows when.
A sign out the front suggests they could date, in their original state, to the 14th century. But then again, it was all heavily renovated in the sixties. In fact, some people wouldn’t dare call these houses the oldest in Paris. A local museum worker scoffed at me when I even hinted at it.
But who cares! They’re fantastic to look at and they’re definitely very old – what else matters?
Oh yeah, and you may have heard in the podcast episode that I once went inside this very house because a listener lives here.
So, here’s a picture from inside. It turns out I have a bunch of pics and videos from inside, so I’ll upload them soon to my Instagram stories. Never been a better time to follow, huh?
But once again, here’s today’s podcast episode. Go and subscribe – and a sincere thank you for the 500,000 downloads. Celebrations soon, if you’re in Paris too 🙂
Oh yes, and for the listeners: here’s more about the “undercover restorers” who fixed a landmark Paris clock. Here’s a link to the official website of The Land of Desire. Support the Earful on Patreon here. If you want to learn French with Camille’s method, find the French Today audiobooks here.
If you like these tips, check out The Earful Tower’s Guide to Paris.
The Earful Tower’s Guide to Paris
It’s here! After six seasons of making The Earful Tower podcast and 100+ expert guests, I’ve finally put together the ultimate guide to Paris.