March 30, 2016

Hergé’s Signature on La Compagnie Paquet’s Guest Book

Shown here is Hergé’s signature in La Compagnie Paquet’s guest book. Hergé is the pen name of Georges Rémi (1907–83), the Belgian cartoonist who created the character Tintin and was the author of Les Aventures de Tintin (The adventures of Tintin) series of comic books. Founded in 1850 by Zéphirin Paquet, La Compagnie Paquet was one of Quebec’s most successful retail businesses of the 20th century. During its 131 years of operation, the company was led by four generations of Paquet and Laurin. In the 1950s, it employed more than 800 people in its store on Saint-Joseph Street in the neighborhood of Saint-Roch, at its shipping facility, and at its various branches. The company sold a bit of everything: dry goods, bedding, clothing and accessories, furniture, grocery, hardware, and so forth. Much like other companies, La Compagnie Paquet kept a guest book for visitors who took part in special events. Hergé’s visit for a book-signing event in the spring of 1965 was undoubtedly one of the most memorable of those events.

Map of Quebec City

Plan de la ville de Québec (Map of Quebec City) is a hand-drawn map created in 1727, which shows the Upper Town of Quebec City within and outside the city walls, and the Lower Town, near the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and the Saint Charles River with its tidal flats. A compass wind rose is situated in the Saint Lawrence, on the left side of the map, and the map is oriented with north to the right. It was drawn by Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry (1682–1756), who, as the king’s chief engineer, had been commissioned to develop the city and build fortifications around it. The map shows a future citadel and a new wall to the west, as well as plans for expansion of the Lower Town. The legend identifies by letters and numbers existing structures and those the engineer proposed, such as the castle and Saint-Louis Fort, as well as the Royale, Dauphine, and Vaudreuil artillery batteries. The map also shows the Royale, Dauphine, and Cap Diamant redoubts, the potash hill (present-day Côte de la Potasse), the king’s warehouses, the gunpowder warehouses, the quartermaster’s palace, the bishop’s palace, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Recollects’ church, the Jesuit church and school, the seminary, the Ursuline monastery, and the Hotel-Dieu (hospital) with the Augustinian Monastery. Also marked are the church in Lower Town (Notre-Dame-des-Victoires), and “filles de la congrégation” (an establishment that housed young French immigrant girls until they married), the proposed citadel, the existing wall and fortification of the citadel, as well as the proposed new wall. The existing and future building works are drawn using distinct colors, red for the former, and yellow for the latter. Originally established in 1608 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain on the same site as a fort built by Jacques Cartier in 1535, Quebec City became the capital of New France. It is one of the oldest cities in Canada and, indeed, within all of North America. It is the only North American city to have retained all of its fortifications, including its outer wall. Scale is indicated in toises, an old French unit measuring about 1.95 meters.