More about the places, mysteries and historical curiosities which inspired The Alchemist’s Passage books.

Elise’s Paris – Imagining a City in the Past

‘The Alchemist of Paris’ is set in 1820 – the period after the French revolution and Napoleon, and during the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. It was the time when Paris was beginning to assume its role as the world scientific and cultural capital of the 19th century. Setting an historical story in a place like Paris is a great challenge, as much of what we see today and consider to be quintessentially ‘Parisian’ was created over a long period of time. Even a few years difference changes what the characters would have seen on their stroll through the city.

Read more about the landmarks of Elise’s Paris here.

The private garden behind the Delacroix Museum, Left Bank, Paris

Secret Gardens

The real life inspiration for Elise’s journey through the gardens and herbariums of Paris.

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Palazzo Spada
An exercise in false perspective.

Quiet Rome

The hidden houses and quiet streets that inspired the scenes in The Alchemist of Rome.

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Map Monday
Map Monday, Ancient Egypt

Alchemy and Modern Science

Was alchemy only nonsense or magic? Or did alchemists contribute to modern science?

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City of Signs

In a time when few people could read, how did people find their way around a city? Turn left at the Three Mice!

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