Born in Pontoise in 1330, Nicolas Flamel later went to Paris to work as a scrivener. Flamel amassed a considerable fortune for himself, arousing persistent rumors as to how he managed to establish such wealth so quickly. For many, Flamel therefore must have been an alchemist - able to transmute base metals, such as lead, into gold or silver. In his youth, Flamel had a strange dream in which an angel showed him an extraordinary book. It was in this "Book of Abraham Eleazar" that he would later discover the secrets of alchemy. Flamel went on a pilgrimage to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, where he met a certain Maestro Canches, a Jewish Kabbalist who would give him certain keys for interpreting the book, which, it is told, allowed Flamel to use alchemical methods to acquire his fortune. Flamel is credited with the reconstruction of the church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, the remains of which now stand as the Saint-Jacques Tower. Though some say that the philosopher's stone made Flamel immortal, it is known that he died on March 22, 1418. He is buried alongside his wife in the present-day Cluny Museum in Paris.

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