A new milestone has been reached in the operations’ schedule at the Réfectoire des cordeliers, with the start of archeological excavations. These are to be performed throughout June by Eveha’s staff. Eveha is the leading private archeological consultancy in France, and several members of its staff are conducting the June excavations within the Réfectoire.
Research operations are focused on the ground within the Réfectoire’s walls, including an excavation of the floor of the ground-floor great room.
The first two weeks of excavations have enabled the discovery of several features, including a heating system made up of pipes that were connected to a water heater outside the building. These visible pipes are thought to have been installed in the 19th century.
Several sections of the original floor were also uncovered, including cobblestones and tiles dating back to various eras. In the course of their work, the archeologists also discovered a hollow at the base of the North gouttereau wall, which corresponds to the location of the stairs leading up to the 19th-century pulpit, under which the latrines had been built.
Hollows dating back to soundings undertaken in the 1980s were uncovered by the architects, who are still exploring the Réfectoire’s floor.
La Magie de l’Image, a company that specializes in drone piloting and photography, was on site on Tuesday, June 21 to fly a drone equipped for interior photography. The drone’s flight through the Réfectoire’s great room will allow the archeologists to draw up a 3D representation of the building’s entire floor area.
The next step is the sounding of the ground along each wall, which in the long run will make it possible to install subfloor heating.
Among the peculiarities that give the Réfectoire its charm, it is impossible not to mention the various graffitis and inscriptions that adorn the building’s inside walls. Whether they signify some occupant’s desire to leave a mark, or were meant to provide information to monks or visitors, or were simply added for decoration, a significant series of messages has been etched into stone within the Réfectoire des Cordeliers.
In addition to the impressive tombstones used in the turret’s staircase, the building’s first floor houses a whole set of scratchings and markings carved straight into the walls.
A historic treasure, still largely unknown
Some of these markings are extremely old, as they are dated 1603 or 1614, while others are fairly new, with for instance one etching dated… 1992.
Several new graffiti were also discovered as soon as stripping operations began in April, with inscriptions and “the remains of 19th-century polychromous decors”.
300 inscriptions from the 17th and 18th centuries are still visible on the Réfectoire’s north wall: according to paris-promeneurs.com, these are the names of clergymen who had obtained their theology doctorate.
As of yet, little more information is available on these inscriptions, which lends a whole new layer of mystery and magic to the building and to the occupants who over the centuries left their marks on these walls.
Over the years, the occupants of the Réfectoire des Cordeliers have had various uses for this imposing building, which is now nestled in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés / Odéon neighborhood.
Whether as a dormitory, an artist’s studio, a mess hall, an indoor market or a museum, the Réfectoire has taken on quite a few different aspects over its long existence.
In the spirit of this heritage, the RIVP has kept hosting a wide variety of events in the ground floor’s great room. Various exhibitions, conferences, fashion shows, concerts and miscellaneous receptions have thus been held in the Réfectoire over the past two years.
The following pictures display the wide breadth of ways in which the Réfectoire can be fitted.
The Réfectoire now has its own website!
To mark the start of the Réfectoire’s rehabilitation work, the RIVP is pleased to announce the launch of a new website entirely dedicated to the Réfectoire des Cordeliers.
With stripping operations now underway, this is the beginning of a new era for the Réfectoire. The building is slated to undergo significant changes over the next two years.
Through this brand new website, the RIVP intends to share the rich historical and architectural heritage of the Réfectoire. The major milestones in the building’s history are thus presented in an elegant timeline.
The rehabilitation program and the project’s key players are also presented in a second section, which notably features the operations’ schedule.
Finally, the Réfectoire’s future and the various alterations are explored in a closing section, which includes a presentation of the future lodgings for scholars, a focus on the potentialities offered by the events room and a gallery in which the past, present and future guises of the Réfectoire mingle in a mosaic of pictures and videos.
Don’t hesitate to share this site over social media so your friends can learn about this unique place in the scholarly and political history of Paris.