Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Decrepit Beacon of Enlightenment

Blagnac Histoire & Memoire is an historical society dedicated to the history of, ta-da! Blagnac, a small city and suburb of Toulouse. It's a wealthy city with lots of tax revenue generated by Airbus and its well-paid employees, so the association gets a decent subsidy from the Mairie in order to print their review, Blagnac, Questions d'Histoire. In 2013 the association published a special edition exploring the histories of the city's street and place names. Almost an entire page is dedicated to the Place de la Révolution, discussed many times here on LoS because of the curious monument located there which has been dubbed the "Illuminati Pyramid" but is officially named Le Temple de la Sagesse Supreme. Oh what a monster we unleashed upon the English-speaking world! (I can't tell you how many sites reproduce several of my photos and field observations without attribution. The French pull these little tricks as well....I just tried to right-click and save an image of the world map from another website but they'd blocked that function and a little message popped up to tell me the image was protected by copyright.  Fair enough, but I took the g-dam photo in the first place! The author had copied a photo I took and had the nerve to claim copyright!)

I've decided to translate the entry regarding this curious plaza for your edification. For further elaboration, feel free to peruse our posts bearing this tag. 



Conceived as the Southern port of entry into the Grand Noble quarter, this plaza was built in 1989 as a solemn commemoration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution; it is also officially known as the Place du Bicentenaire, (Bicentennial Plaza). It displays more or less easily identifiable symbols that recall one of the great founding acts of our history.

A large rectangle, delimited by monumental arcades, the plaza combines a play of circles, ovals and spokes. It starts as a central tumulus, crowned with a pyramid pierced by a window, inserted into a frame in the form of a house.  The pyramid is a fountain where from hundreds of holes water gurgles into a basin in the form of a double hemisphere world map.  In front of the pyramid, bronze stelae represent the cosmos and bear the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.  Facing the pyramid on the North is a large belvedere-gallery and to the South an ensemble with a long shaft surmounted by a tricolor flag and a votive column wearing a Phrygian cap and a cockade.

When he presented his project in 1988, architect Jean-Philippe Dubourg, winner of the contest organized by the city, explained that all these are linked: 
"The belvedere emits a laser, a ray of light pure and abstract, on a North-South axis....This light will modulate, taking on the essence of the Rights of Man as it passes through the Temple of Supreme Wisdom (the pyramid) and the House (allegory of the Homeland)...Thus symbolically metamorphosed, the ray of light will be refracted in the parabola (the cockade) of the votive column of the French Revolution, spreading the incontrovertible truths contained in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen into the ether....the central tumulus is a also a subtle botanical garden, metaphor of France as a gentle garden of liberty, planted with a Liberty Tree and a multitude of perennial plants, from gaillardia to santolina, plants dating from the Revolution."

In the opinion of his colleagues and fellow architects, Jean-Philippe Dubourg's project paid homage to Enlightenment philosophy and to the revolutionary ideals which it inspired; without a doubt, through the pyramid, to Freemasonry (whose role in the genesis of the Revolution has been greatly exaggerated); and finally to the great architects of the 18th century (Boullée, Ledoux and Lequeu); all the while applying the precepts: 
"A rational architecture using simple geometric forms and having a moral bearing on Man."
My photo, borrowed and copyrighted!
Since 1989 the plaza has suffered from the wear and tear of time and from technical failures.  The laser, victim of recurrent outages, never really functioned.  The double hemisphere world map has disappeared under a coating intended to plug leaks.  On the stelae, one looks in vain for the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen; the support panel is loose and damaged...Perhaps it will one day recover its place?  Finally, the garden has lost its luxuriance, the maintenance requiring too much care....Despite all this, the plaza has retained a certain allure.

The plaza has gained, despite itself, a renown well beyond the limits of Blagnac, thanks to the Internet.  According to Internauts fond of esotericism, it symbolizes the "New World Order", a world dominated by a small elite of initiates: the Illuminati.  This thesis hasn't failed to astonish and amuse the citizens of Blagnac; perhaps they are flattered to discover that a monument in their city illustrates such a remarkable plan? 

B.Q.H n. 1-2-3-4-8


  1. Guyz, Jean Philippe Dubourg was my professor in Toulouse architecture school from 1995 to 2000. He was an awesome teacher and a true legend in the area. He liked to talk about occultism in architecture and many other things. For him the world was filled with mysteries and enigmas left by the ancients architects. And we, as architects where adventurers on their paths. We used to talk about "secret Toulouse", underground passages, secret crypts. He told us about the passages under the Basilica of Saint Sernin... In short, he was like a child, i think he just wanted to see the world a little more magic that it is in reality.(A bit of mystery is so thrilling). But he was also a science well in the same time. I learn so many thing about architecture. He could pass from Le Corbusier to Boullée by venturing through the city of Irem as described in the nameless city by Lovecraft. There was not an ounce of malice in this man with whom we were going to drink wine after school and talk about the last book to buy at "Ombre blanche". This man was the joy of life and simplicity embodied. Imagining that he was the most powerful illuminati in the place makes me laugh a lot !(So does he). But who knows !? Sacré Dubourg !

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. Je n'ai jamais pensé Mr Dubourg était "Illuminati," ni que le monument réprésent une "agenda" secrète. C'est évident le monument à des symboles Masonique et qui colle avec l'idée "Illuministe" mais il y a tjs un grand dose d'ironie dans mes articles. J'ai écrit sur le monument et il y a eu beacoup des autres qui sont pris le rélais et qui cite le monument comme une type de preuve qu'il y a un complot etc. J'avais tjs envie de faire un interview avec Mr Dubourg pour comprendre ses intentions et objectifs, mais, croyez moi, je n'ai jamais senti que son travail était au service de Franc-Maçons. Je voulais simplement noter les liens entre le monument des symboles qu'on trouve ailleurs. Son amour de l'occultisme en architecture est bien évident dans le monument! J'aimerais bien discuter plus avec vous sur le sujet. Je crois quand j'ai écrit l'article, j'avais pas l'intention "d'ttaquer" Mr Dubourg, mais la réaction a pris un ampleur imprévu. Merci encore et veuillez excuser mes fautes en français! :)

  2. Votre français est très bon. Mais comme la majorité de vos lecteurs sont anglophones, je vais poursuivre en anglais.

    I understood that you had no bad intentions with Mr. Dubourg. I think he just wanted to integrate all the symbolism of the French revolution into this monument. The double discourse of architecture, one for the layman, and the other for the initiated, was very common in the post-modern culture of the 1960s and 1970s (I think Jencks speaks best of it). It's the "happy few" side of this trend that's a little elitist. But Duburg was a modern guy (very into Louis Kahn work ), so I think he just had fun coding his work to entertain people like us. I would be happy to discuss it (i can't find any PM link ) Cheers.

    1. My email is stevenmadkins (@) if you'd ever like to get in touch. Is Mr. Dubourg still teaching and / or practicing? I'd very much like to interview him. I wrote the first English-language article about the "Temple" and a conspiracy website took my photos and wrote an article that's been reprinted and translated all over the web. My pictures must have been reused on dozens of sites. So for the anglophone world I kind of let the genie out of the bottle. I did a whole series on the use of pyramids in Toulouse and perhaps I was not vigilant enough in making it clear I wasn't proposing conspiracy theory but more like poetic free-association!

      Anyway, get in touch. Maybe we can have a beer or coffee in Toulouse....


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