France (Wikipedia)

Mentions in Pocketbook: August 1664.

On 1 February 1666, King Louis XIV, in preparation for the War of Devolution, ordered all Englishmen to leave France within three months. Lister’s studies at Montpellier were thus peremptorily finished, and he left for Lyon, accompanied by Francis Jessop, physician Henry Sampson, Peter Vivian, a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Sir Thomas Crew. Lister later met Ray and Skippon and ‘Dr Moulins’ (the Scotsman James Milne from Aberdeen) there before they all proceeded on horseback to Paris.

Arriving on 16 March, 1665/6, the group stayed two weeks, catching a glimpse of Louis XIV en promenade to Versailles, the Sun King in an open chariot.

While in Paris, the group of young naturalists met Dionys Joncquet, a professor in the Jardin Royal (now the Jardin des Plantes), who wrote a magisterial catalogue of the 4,000 plants grown there.   Founded in 1626 as a garden primarily dedicated to medicinal plants, the Jardin Royal hosted courses on botany, zoology, and forestry. Along with the garden at Montpellier, it was considered an essential stop for any botanical explorer, part of a network of collections and curiosity cabinets that genteel collectors and natural historians would visit. Lister and Ray also met Guy Crescent Fagon (1638–1715), a court physician and described by Ray as ‘a very ingenious person and skilful herbarist who had the greatest hand in the editing of the Catalogue of the Physic Garden then put forth and was employed in the laboratory and apothecary shop’. 1

On 1 April 1666,  Ray left to travel out of Paris in a chasse-marée or ‘fish-cart’ for Calais.  Lister and Skippon ‘not liking that way of travelling’ stayed behind for a week, leaving in a comfortable and less aromatic ‘coach waggon’ along with a Genevan refugee and a young Swedish soldier who ‘had stolen away a wench’. 2 In his account of their journey, Skippon related that although three Frenchmen went in hot pursuit of their wagon, the Swede ‘outvapour’d them, and turn’d them down stairs. . . hectoring them all the way at the inn-gate’ where they stayed en route. 3  Skippon later related, ‘When he came to London, I met with this Swede, and ask’d him in Italian where was his Bella Donna, he replied he had dismissed her and said . . . I have got a handsomer’. 3

Skippon also related other sites that he, Lister, and other English expatriates saw in Paris during their three weeks there.  The major sites are described in this site with their own separate pages, but the early modern map in our gallery below is also pinned with all the locales they visited to give an idea of their travels in the city.


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  1. Charles Raven, John Ray: Naturalist (Cambridge, 1986), 138.
  2. Skippon, ‘Account’, 733.
  3. Skippon, ‘Account’, 735.
  4. Skippon, ‘Account’, 735.

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