Blogs > Liberty and Power > My Father the Chair

Jun 5, 2005 1:22 pm

My Father the Chair

[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

I just got back from a delightful week in Paris, city of many of my philosophic heroes -- Abélard, Aquinas, Voltaire, Bastiat, Proudhon, Bellegarrigue, Hugo, Sartre, Foucault. (Okay, so I'm eclectic.) This trip was much more successful than my previous trip (since on my previous trip, in 2003, I was mugged on the first day and so for the rest of the week had very little money for food or museums -- though that trip was nevertheless delightful on balance as well).

Once again I stayed in my favourite neighborhood, on the border between the 5th and 6th arrondissements. This time I saw the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Panthéon, Sainte-Chapelle, the Eiffel Tower, the Marais, the Arab Institute, and Versailles. (With apologies to my colleague Hans Hoppe, the arrogant, tacky, and grotesque extravagance of Versailles does little to inspire confidence in monarchy as a curb on time-preference.) I also revisited Notre-Dame, the Jardin des Plantes, the Lutetian Arena, the Rue Mouffetard, and the Musée Cluny (where Isabel Paterson used to sit in the garden); took a bateau up and down the Seine; and enjoyed the two absolutely most delicious desserts I have ever tasted: an apricot chocolate crêpe, called a"Lorraine," at La Crêpe Carrée (42 Rue Monge), and a grapefruit sorbet at Berthillon (31 Rue St.-Louis-en-l'Île). In addition, I found a bookstore near the University (Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 6 Place de la Sorbonne) that carries nothing but philosophy books -- both new and used, both French and English (I was pleased to see my friend Dave Schmidtz's Nozick anthology on the shelf). Didn't get to the Champs-Elysées, Arc du Triomphe, Montmartre, or Jardin de Luxembourg this time, but I did those two years ago. (Unfortunately still haven't gotten to the Opéra Garnier, despite my enthusiasm for its most famous inhabitant.)

One of my favourite visits was to the elaborate and haunting Père Lachaise cemetery (take an online tour here) to visit the grave of Gustave de Molinari, founder of market anarchism. Molinari's grave isn't on the official maps, but thanks to Hervé de Quengo's website I knew that it was right next to that of another hero of French liberalism, Benjamin Constant; and Constant is on the maps -- on the Chemin du Dragon, where divisions 27, 28, and 29 come together: see the red circle. (Jean-Baptiste Say's grave, which is also -- scandalously -- not on the official maps, is supposed to be"some ten meters away," but alas, I couldn't find it.) In retrospect I should have bought flowers to lay on Molinari's grave (there are flower shops near the cemetery entrance for such purpose) -- well, next time.

While I long to be still strolling along the Seine, browsing the bouquinistes, or sipping Lavazza at a sidewalk café, I guess I'd better turn my thoughts to the many tasks awaiting me this summer. Au revoir, Paris.

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Roderick T. Long - 5/19/2006

Okay, let's try that link again:

Roderick T. Long - 5/19/2006

I've since learned how to locate Say's grave; see here.