Saint-Sulpice has long been one of my favourite churches in Paris – partly because of its stunning Delacroix murals and intricate sea creature-themed holy water fonts, but mainly because every time I walk by, I am transported to a very passionate scene from Massenet’s “Manon” for which it provides the monumental backdrop.
I love autumn, so I like to wrap up warm and 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, calligraphy adorns the wall. This is the Bateau Ivre (the Drunken Boat), penned 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.