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Berlioz arrived in Paris in early November 1821 to study medicine. He first lodged with his cousin and fellow medical student, Alphonse Robert, at 104 rue Saint-Jacques, in the Quartier Latin, as is known from the register of inscriptions for the doctorate of the École de Médecine (the building and the number have long disappeared: this whole side of rue Saint-Jacques is now occupied by buildings of the University of Paris, constructed in the 1890s). The following year, still registered as a medical student, he separated from Robert and moved to no. 71 rue Saint-Jacques, which is still extant. Judging from a 19th century drawing by André de Doba (Musée Hector Berlioz collection) the building has not changed much since Berlioz’s time (see below).
It is not known how long Berlioz stayed at no. 71. According to David Cairns, Berlioz I (1999), p. 147, who refers to the memoirs of the actor Adolphe Laferrière, Berlioz then stayed for some time with Laferrière at the Hôtel Louis-le-Grand, rue Saint-Jacques, around 1823-1824. The exact location of this hotel, which is no longer extant, does not appear to be known.
The next fixed point is provided by two letters of Berlioz, dated 16 September 1824 (CG no. 33bis, in vol. VIII) and 18 February 1825 (ib. no. 41), which both have the address no. 79 rue Saint-Jacques: the composer thus stayed there from autumn 1824 to the spring or summer of 1825, when he moved to 27 rue de Harlay. The building is no longer extant and seems to have been demolished when the rue des Écoles was opened (at the level of no. 77 rue Saint-Jacques).
We would like to thank Pierre-René Serna for information concerning Berlioz’s domiciles in the rue Saint-Jacques.
The photographs reproduced on this page were taken by Michel Austin. © Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin. All rights of reproduction reserved.
71 rue Saint-Jacques: main entrance
This 1928 drawing by André de Doba is in our own collection.
© (unless otherwise stated) Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin for all the pictures and information on this page.
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