Saint-Sulpice is one of my favourite churches in Paris, partly because of its stunning Delacroix murals and intricate sea creature-themed fonts, but mainly because every time I walk by, I am transported to a very powerful scene from Massenet’s “Manon” for which it provides the monumental backdrop.
On sunny afternoons, I like to stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg and wander towards this church via rue Férou. As the two towers come into view, you will notice that on your left hand side, there is some calligraphy on the wall. This is the Bateau ivre (the Drunken Boat), written by Rimbaud at the tender age of 16, which was carefully executed by the Dutch calligrapher Jan Willem Bruins in 2012 for the annual event, Marché de la Poésie.
In the footnote on the wall by the Tegen Beeld Foundation, they say they imagine the wind to have been blowing from the café by Saint-Sulpice from which Rimbaud recited this poem, down this street onto which the poem has now been immortalised.
I can’t help but stop and admire Rimbaud’s evocative poetry every time I walk by, and I always catch others doing the same.
Le Bateau ivre | Art & culture, Relaxing
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