Rue de Seine
Vincent de Paul at the Rue de Seine
In 1610, we find Vincent de Paul living in the Rue de Seine in Paris, and listed as one of several Chaplain-Almoners to Queen Marguérite de Valois, the first wife of Henry of Navarre (Henry IV of France). There are several reasons why Vincent might have been able to secure such a position in Queen Marguérite's Court. If he moved to the Rue de Seine before his employment as Chaplain-Almoner, he may have become acquainted with those who already worked in her household.. Another reason is that when he was in Rome not long before, he would probably have met Charles de Fresne, Marguérite's Secretary. A third reason is that the then bishop of Aire (in the south of France) where Vincent had grown up, had also been one of Queen Marguerite's chaplains. A fourth reason is the possibility he was sent on a secret mission from Rome to King Henry IV, who was still on good terms with his first wife. Whatever the case, it was from this location that Vincent began to visit the sick in hospitals, came to know Pierre de Bérulle, and began to form his association with the de Gondi Family. It was also here that Vincent is reputed to have taken on the doubts of faith of a theologian in Marguérite's Court, and made a vow to serve the poor in order to free himself from those doubts.
The Rue de Seine Today
The small angular park of the Square de Gabriel Pierné, bounded by Quai Malaquais, Rue de Seine and Rue Mazarine, and behind the Institut de France (the domed building in the picture at right) is the likely location of the house in which Vincent resided in the Rue de Seine. A second view of the Square is shown below left.
It is somewhat ironic that one of the streets in the area is now the Rue Mazarine, given Vincent's 'strained' relationship with Cardinal Mazarin. The Bibliothèque Mazarine (Mazarin Library) is also housed in the Institut de France. This probable location of Vincent's place of residence in the Rue de Seine can be reached by taking the Paris Metro to Station Mabillon (Metro Line 10) , Station St-Germain-de-Pré (Metro Line 4)), or Station Odéon (Metro Lines 4,10).