As you walked around the rue du Louvre in Paris, you have probably noticed an atypical and mysterious column: this is the Medici Column.

A column to observe the stars

This hollow Doric column was erected in 1574 in the courtyard of the Hôtel de la Reine. If this hotel did not survive the Revolution, the column was luckier: it was threatened with destruction on several occasions given the multiple architectural transformations in the area.

medici column in Paris

Astrology, the passion of Catherine de Medicis

This column is 31 meters high at the request of Catherine de Medicis for her astrologer Cosimo Ruggieri. A man of influence on the Queen, he often climbed with his protectress to the top of the column to utter magic formulas or predict the future in the stars.

A dark prediction

One day, the astrologer predicted to the queen that she would « die near Saint Germain ». Terrified, Catherine de Medici hurriedly left the Tuileries Palace under construction, a palace near the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois church, and bought the Hôtel de Soissons, far from all places which would bear the cursed name of “Saint- Germain ”. But in 1589, in Blois, the Queen was dying. So she sent for a priest to bring extreme unction to her. While he was near her, the Queen asked him her name. « Julien de Saint-Germain » he replied…

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