Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Descartes in St. Germain-des-Pres

Les Deux Magots...a local cafe for the remains of René Descartes (they are buried nearby)

Because he died in Sweden and was buried here for a while I thought he must still be here somewhere....but no....he has moved to St. Germain-des-Pres. Somewhere I wouldn't mind living sometime myself:

"The Queen wanted Descartes to teach her philosophy. Though this was the only obligation he had at her court, she could spare time for lessons only at five in the morning. He used to say 'Men's thoughts freeze during winter months'. His health deteriorated due to the unaccustomed early rising in the cold of Swedish winter.

In 1650, Chanut became seriously ill, and Descartes, in taking care of him, he himself became sick. Descartes caught pneumonia from him on February 1 and died on February 11.

Since Descartes was a Catholic, and Sweden a Protestant country, he was buried in a cemetery reserved for un-baptized children. In 1667, his remains were taken to Paris and buried in the Church of St. Genevieve-du-Mont. During the French Revolution, his remains were disinterred for burial in the Pantheon among the great French thinkers. His tomb is now in the church of St. Germain-des-Pres.

The inscription Descartes chose for his tombstone was

'Bene qui latuit, bene visit'

He who hid well, lived well."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. If I understand well Rene Descartes Tomb is in Pantheon? And what is in the Saint-Germain? His heart? And there is nothing in Saint Etienne du Mont?