November 22, 2009

Rue de la Tombe Issoire.

In my urban exploring, I stumbled upon a giant. Literally. A giant who is perched on the side of a building in the 14th arrondissement. I was riding along, looking up and down and everywhere as usual, and then there he was. He is a really lovely giant too. He looks rather threatened and scared up there. I put the breaks on, dragged my bike off the road onto the sidewalk and stood beneath him looking up. Then I read the sign on the wall explaining his presence. Here is what it said:

"Once upon a time, in the time of the kings and queens of the Middle Ages of France, was a giant named Isoré, king of Coimbre in Portugal and high as three men. He hid himself in the forest of Paris, which at the time came all the way to the gates of the city. He would wait until pilgrims arrived who were on their way to Saint Jacques de Compostelle (the site of Saint Jacques' tomb in Spain - which was, at the time, the third most important Christian pilgrimage, after Rome and Jerusalem).

The giant terrified the pilgrims, robbed them and sometimes even killed them. The king soon heard of these terrible crimes and of the giant. He summoned his best knights. All of them were defeated by the terrible giant. The king decided to send the valliant Guillaume d'Orange who lived as a hermit in the Cévenoles mountains.

After a fierce fight, Guillaume successfully decapitated the giant. But Isoré was so big and so heavy that the people decided to bury him right there, at the site of his death. The site was given the name rue de la Tombe Isoré as a result, which has since become rue de la Tombe Issoire."

The sculptor is Corrine Béoust and the whole project was undertaken for an école maternelle (a pre-school - the kind that Marguerite goes to). Man, those lucky kids. I love France.


Anne said...

We seem to be discovering the same things!

Emilie said...

this guy is hard to miss - no wonder we both spotted him anne...:)

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