Book Series Textes vernaculaires du moyen âge, vol. 14

Guillebert De Mets

Description de la ville de Paris 1434

Medieval French text with English translation

Evelyn Mullally (ed)

  • Pages: 180 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:2 b/w
  • Language(s):English, Middle French
  • Publication Year:2015

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55496-9
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57423-3
  • E-book
  • Available

Early-fifteenth-century Paris described by Guillebert De Mets from Geraardsbergen


“(…) an excellent and welcome addition to resources on fifteenth-century Paris. (…) There is much here to please both the interested amateur and the specialist reader. As a final note, Mullally's small but handsome volume is just the right size to take along for a walk through modern Paris. With the help of the additional maps suggested by Mullally, one can follow the path Guillebert describes and see the medieval city as through Guillebert's eyes.” (Ellen M. Thorington, in The Medieval Review, 2016.08.15)

“Mullally’s edition brings welcome attention to this intriguing work and author, as well as the lost features of medieval Paris of which it is an important witness.” (Hannah Morcos, in the Modern Language Review, 111/4, 2016, p. 1138)

« L’édition d’Evelyn Mullally fournit une traduction anglaise tout en donnant aux non spécialistes les moyens de la comprendre par des explications contextuelles sur les institutions urbaines en introduction, ainsi que d’abondantes notes qui éclairent les noms de lieux et de personne en fin d’ouvrage. On peut espérer que de cette ouverture naîtront des réflexions et une histoire comparée fructueuses. » (Boris Bove, dans Francia-Recensio, 3, 2016)

“In all, the updated edition of the Description is a welcome addition to the study of late medieval Paris. It opens up many possibilities for further research.” (Michael Sizer, in Mediaevistik, 29, 2016, p. 508)

“The translation is superb. A partial translation appeared in 2002 in a collection of translated sources from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries.[1] That translation still serves a purpose as a teaching text, but all serious work on the text should now begin with Mullally’s edition and translation.” (Daniel Hobbins, in H-France Review, 16, 2016)


The editor, Evelyn Mullally, is a retired senior lecturer in medieval French from the Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is the author of 'Guide de Paris au Moyen Age' Biro & Cohen Editeurs/Editions du Patrimoine, Paris, 2011.


In 1434 Guillebert from Geraardsbergen completed his description of Paris. It is a remarkable record of what was considered noteworthy at the time both historically and topographically. There are picturesque details which are often cited in annotations to the poetry of Francois Villon, notably concerning the Cemetery of the Innocents, the depiction of the Virgin and of heaven and hell in the Celestines and the reference to the famous beauties of the city. The author was an innkeeper and town councillor in his native Geraardsbergen, but also a profssional scribe involved in the book trade who was a 'libraire' for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. The unique manuscript that contains this text also features an important illlustration by an otherwise unknown artist. A whole group of fifteenth-century Flemish manuscript illuminators is now associated with this master, who was given in 1915 the title 'Master of Guillebert De Mets'.


Introductory matter: the Work, the Author, the Sources, the Editions, the Manuscripts, Language, Patronage, the Administration of Medieval Paris, the Churches, the University of Paris, the Streets, Five 'Grands Bourgeois'.

Text and rejected readings.

Translation and notes.