Hidden in plain sight at the Rue Saint-Jacques in Paris, you can find a surrealist timepiece created by an artist famous for his melting clocks. Salvador Dalí installed this concrete sculpture in 1966 with the artist and his pet ocelot.
There was also a brass band, which is almost everything we learned about the opening ceremony. Too bad.
When we went to Paris in late 2017, our idea was to find some unusual places in the French capital. Something that most people don’t know about one of the most visited cities on Earth. This is how we managed to find out about the Salvador Dalí Sundial.
The Salvador Dalí Sundial has a shell face meant to reference the scallop symbol used on the pilgrimage of St. Jacques de Compostella, also known as Santiago de Compostela. However, some people see the sundial as a distorted self-portrait of Salvador Dali without his iconic mustache. This might make sense since most people think about this when they picture him.
We questioned why such things existed when we visited the Salvador Dalí Sundial. Why would one of the most important artists of the last century give a sundial to Paris, and why is it located in such an odd place?
We managed to find some theories online, and one of them tells that a friend of Salvador Dali had a friend who owned a business below where the sundial can be found. The sundial was a way of showing his appreciation.
Another theory is related to the street where the sundial can be found. The road was the original pilgrimage route from Paris to Santiago de Compostela. This is why the sundial has a scallop-shaped face that is the same and is used as a symbol of the pilgrimage of St. Jacques de Compostella.
Pilgrims would wear a scallop shell to show they were making the pilgrimage, and the heat rising above the brows indicated the hard journey ahead.
It’s too bad the sundial doesn’t work, and we don’t seem to find a reason why it happened. Maybe the buildings around it blocked the sun, and now it’s just a piece of art hanging on a wall. Something from Salvador Dali on the streets of Paris.
The Salvador Dalí Sundial can be found behind Paroisse de Saint-Séverin, on the side of a building on Rue Saint-Jacques. This is not far away from Notre Dame, and if you are around the area, you should spend a few minutes and go there to see it!
Chronicles of Surreality: The Salvador Dalí Sundial in Paris
27 Rue Saint-Jacques