A great local history .

On Books, Streets & Migrant Footprints


Rue Saint-Jacques once was a major passage in the Quartier Latin of old Paris before it was turned into a backstreet with the creation of the Boulevard Saint-Germain as part of Haussmann’s regeneration scheme of the capital. It was the starting point for pilgrims to make their way along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle that led eventually to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia where the remains of the apostle Saint James are supposed to be buried. The Paris base of the Dominican Order was established in 1218 in the Chapelle Saint-Jacques. However, it was not for religion or piety that the street won its reputation, but for the crucial role it played in the history of French printing.


In 1466, German-born Johann Heynlin obtained a doctorate in theology at the Sorbonne. Three years later he was elected Rector of the university and became Professor of Theology. He established of the first…

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