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Heartbeats and bells in the Paris Latin Quarter

Come with us to the Paris Latin Quarter (and check out more sounds from Paris over here), as we visit Saint-Séverin, a 13th-century Gothic Catholic church in the heart of this historic district.

The bells are ringing out on a Sunday morning for mass, reverberating off the cobbled streets of this beautiful part of the city.

City version:

It’s often said that the sound of a church’s bells are like an auxiliary heartbeat to their local community – their individual, particular sound is unique and as identifiable as the back of one’s hand.

Particularly in pre-industrial times, bells were the heartbeat of the entire town in the sense that they would dictate the regularity of the day – time to wake up, time to eat, time to pray and time to retire.

This piece takes that concept of the bell as the heartbeat of a community by blending those two sounds together – the bell sounds to the people of the Paris Latin Quarter, and is gradually overtaken by the sound of a heartbeat, until nothing remains of the bell and it is subsumed entirely by the body.

Memory version: