L'histoire du Relais du Vin
Here are a few words of history and legend.
Arriving at the Relais du Vin, you have walked on Rue Saint Denis, one of the oldest streets in Paris, traced from the first century by the Romans, so named because it leads directly from Pont-au-Change to Saint-Denis , city where the Saint would have collapsed after his martyrdom. Please know, visiting friend, that it was a “gala” street, through which kings and queens traditionally made their solemn entry into Paris. For these festivities, all the streets on their way to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris were lined with silk fabrics and camelot sheets.
The deputies of the six merchant bodies wore the royal canopy and the trades followed, representing in character clothes, the seven mortal Sins, the Seven Virtues and Death, Purgatory, Hell and Heaven! Theaters were set up from distance to distance where liturgical scenes were played and choirs of music were heard in the interludes. It is said that jets of scent water perfumed the atmosphere, and even that wine, hypocras and milk flowed from all fountains.
In the taverns of that time, it is said that at the entrance to Isabeau of Bavaria, in the year 1385: “There was at the Porte aux Peintres, rue Saint Denis, a very rich starry sky, where we can see little choir boys singing softly in the shape of angels. And when the queen passed under the door of this paradise, two angels holding in their hand a very rich crown of gold, garnished with precious stones, placed it gently on the head of the queen, singing. “
And Rue des Prêcheurs, you might say. Well, a lot has been said about the name of this street there … In letters from Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, in the year 1184, we attest that Jean de Mosterolo had given in to the Abbey of Saint-Magloire < br> the rights he exercised over the house of a certain Robert-le-Prêcheur (predicaloris). We can then be sure that its construction had started at that time. But in the year 1252, in a notary document, it was indicated under the name “in vico Proedicatorum”, that is to say, already rue des Prêcheurs.
Then, we would have seen there for a long time a sign of the Prêcheur, then a Hôtel du Prêcheur… However its name may still come from elsewhere, because at the corner of the street, on rue Saint Denis side we could see until 1900 an extraordinary sculpture, of which Jean de la Tynna (1765? -1818) says:
“At the South-East corner of the Street […] is a long tree carved in wood, which seems to us to be from the end of the 14th century . It has twelve branches, and on each is a figure standing in a sort of tulip which reminds one of a pulpit to preach; the Virgin is at the top: it is called the tree of preachers. And we believe that the street owes its name to this tree.
In fact, this superb Gothic sculpture represented “The Tree of Jesse”, an allegory of biblical genealogy, of which a figurine at the base was a saint preaching. You can see this tree at the Carnavalet Museum.
But from another paradise, rue Saint Denis has long been the theater. From the cemetery of the Innocents to the boulevard Saint-Denis, the street has always been one of the high places of the Parisian night … Epicureans came from everywhere for its taverns, its wine and especially for its daughters of joy.
So dear friends, let’s preach well,
but most of all, let’s preach friendship and good wine!