It is a feeling at the antipodes of the Freudian “disturbing strangeness”, this impression of an agonizing familiarity with a threatening other, that the Belgian psychoanalyst Lydia Flem sought to arouse with this Paris fantasy which tries, in the wake of a Perec, to “exhaust” a Parisian place, in this case rue Férou, a modest alley that connects Place Saint-Sulpice to the Luxembourg Gardens.

But where Perec, installed not far away, at the café de la Mairie, favors the sparkling synchronic verticality of the moment, a flash that carries all the elements of the decor in its whirlwind, Lydia Flem nests, hoards and amass, practicing a fascinating dive diachronic in the “abyss of time”. Haunted by a tragic family past, trying to answer the question “Is there a possible harmony between her body, the house and the world?” “, to question what are, in depth, familiarity and habitat, she leafs through and scrutinizes rue Férou from the most distant Middle Ages to the contemporary era, exhausts the registers of inheritances, professional lists, draws up the history of the least square millimeter. Suddenly appearing, fill the scene with some famous residents, fictitious or historical: Athos, the mystic Jean-Jacques Olier, Madame de La Fayette, Balzac’s Melmoth, the photographer Eugène Atget (who took his portrait), Michel Déon and especially the Man Ray couple who lived there for twenty-five years in the heart of a whimsical nest opening onto the sky.

With Paris fantasme, this attempt to exalt a Parisian street, Lydia Flem, keen on Férou, touches without fail “an impalpable je-ne-sais-quoi in the air that opens the lungs of the imagination, makes the heart beat in unison with legend and centuries, the impression of belonging to a space-time greater than oneself, fabulous, romantic, mythical”.

Let us admit that on the list of illustrious “peasants of Paris”, of the great “loafers of both shores”, the polytechnician, mathematician and philosopher Auguste Comte (1798-1857), founding father of positivism, would not appear (if he appears there ) than in the depths of the ranking. Flagrant injustice that David Labreure, director of “La Maison Auguste Comte” eruditely palliates. Indeed, he evokes for us a Count certainly from Montpellier but Parisian from head to toe. Feet that served him, between 1817 and 1847, to pace the city with passion, from the Sainte-Geneviève mountain to Père-Lachaise (and no doubt he often passed rue Férou), Polytechnique, where he was bored, to the tomb of Clothilde de Vaux, her ideal muse, passing by rue Payenne, where she died and where the Positivist chapel stands. The epicenter of Comtien Paris being of course the apartment at 10, rue Monsieur-le-Prince, where he lived, delivered his teaching and where his posthumous worship was organized. A Paris at the heart of the world, which for Comte was “the” “human metropolis”, Mecca of a regenerated humanity.

In these times of hypermnesia, it is hard to imagine that in the aftermath of the Revolution it was fashionable to go and do your architectural shopping among the ruins of abbeys, to abolish for reasons of obsolescence or clutter the famous landmarks. Even to the point that Hugo had to tap his pen on the table to denounce this aberration. Incarnates this response War against the wreckers!, published in the Revue des deux mondes in 1832, salubrious rant of the young Hugo for whom “we must account for the past in the future”.

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