We have now arrived at Place Saint-Sulpice. I will simply reuse the words of the writer Georges Perec who in 1974 observed the place for three days in the Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris.
“There are many things in place Saint-Sulpice; for instance: a district council building, a financial building, a police station, three cafés, one of which sells tobacco and stamps, a movie theater, a church on which Le Vau, Gittard,
Oppenord, Servandoni and Chalgrin have all worked, and which is dedicated to a chaplain of Clotaire II, who was bishop of Bourges from 624 to 644 and whom we celebrate on 17 January, a publisher, a funeral parlor, a travel agency, a bus stop, a tailor, a hotel,
a fountain decorated with the statues of four great Christian orators (Bossuet, Fénelon, Fléchier, and Massillon), a newsstand, a seller of pious objects, a parking lot, a beauty parlor, and many other things as well.
A great number, if not the majority, of these things have been described, inventoried, photographed, talked about, or registered. My intention in the pages that follow was to describe the rest instead: that which is generally not taken note of,
that which is not noticed, that which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds."
(Translation : Marc Lowenthal)
Since Atget, much time has passed and since 1974, many people, cars and clouds have also passed. The tall church built in the 17th century still towers above the fountain; the administrative
buildings still provide services. Of the three bistros, from which Pérec observed this very Parisian place, only one remains: the Café de la Mairie at the corner of Rue des Canettes. This is also where Antoine (Fabrice Lucchini) meets Catherine (Judith Henry) in the film La Discrète (The Discreet). However, one may wonder whether this Italian style square could still be a place today to hear refined witty exchanges; or even observe the simple daily life, so much
the place has become so chic.