Every Sunday David takes the day off and we go for an adventure together in Paris!
This Sunday we decided to visit the Latin Quarter. Apparently the Latin Quarter gets its name from the University that is situated here, and the fact that Latin was spoken in and around the University in the Middle Ages. Thanks for the tidbit, David.
We visited Paroisse Saint-Étienne-du-Mont first.
We arrived just as the service ended, with church-goers flooding out the doors into the square after the priest. This picture of the church was taken near the end of the day, so the doors are closed and it’s less busy.
The organ was playing, and it was like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It had an other-wordly feel to it. The music seemed to reach me from every direction, so at first it was hard to distinguish from where it was coming. It was a hair-raising experience!
To my friend, Adrian, I was definitely “feeling” it.
I got a lot of pictures of the interior, but sorry for the blurriness!
We didn’t have long inside because they were closing their doors for silent prayer.
I was really drawn to the doors… and have noticed looking through most of my pictures today that I took a lot of pictures of doors…
But don’t they just pop?
Next, we picked up some strawberries and stopped at a small park to eat them (and the other goodies we packed for ourselves before we left!).
We saw another one of the university buildings during our walk (get ready for another picture of a door).
Most Parisian buildings are drab in regards to colour. They’re stone or brick, and while architecturally stunning, they lack any colour. I think part of the reason I’m drawn to the doors is that they’re generally the only part of the building that has colour.
While we were stopped in a small park to eat our snacks, we realized we were directly across from the Musée national du Moyen Âge (Middle Ages Museum). So we decided to go ahead and visit!This may have been my favourite museum we’ve visited thus far (yeah, I know, that’s a tall order!).
- It wasn’t so large as to be overwhelming. Let’s be honest, after a certain point you just can’t really absorb what you’re seeing anymore! The Louvre was amazing… but it was just too much. I feel like you need to see a museum like that in sections, and not all at once.
- It focused on a specific time period so that you weren’t disorientated as you were walking through.
- It was extremely well organized. ‘Nuff said.
- It had displays dedicated to the blind, which I really appreciated (eg. stained glass and sculptures that you were allowed to touch, a lot of braille).
- It had really good descriptions and details in multiple languages (English, French, Spanish, and German to name a few).
- Finally, it was just really interesting! I highly recommend.
Yet another door… just before the entrance to the museum.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about them:
The Lady and the Unicorn (French: La Dame à la licorne) is the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders from wool and silk, from designs drawn in Paris around 1500.
The set, on display in the Musée national du Moyen Âge (former Musée de Cluny) in Paris, is often considered one of the greatest works of art of the Middle Ages in Europe.
Five of the tapestries are commonly interpreted as depicting the fivesenses – taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words “À mon seul désir“. The tapestry’s meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as representing love or understanding.
Each of the six tapestries depicts a noble lady with the unicorn on her left and a lion on her right; some include a monkey in the scene. The pennants, as well as the armour of the Unicorn and Lion in the tapestry bear the arms of the sponsor, Jean Le Viste, a powerful nobleman in the court of King Charles VII.
However, a very recent study of the heraldry appears to lend credence to another hypothesis – previously dismissed – that the real sponsor of the tapestry is Antoine II Le Viste (1470-1534), a descendant of the younger branch of the Le Viste family and an important figure at the court of Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I.
David and I found these tapestries absolutely fascinating.
I was intrigued by the above carving in wood (yes, wood) largely because this crucifixion scene also depicts the robbers on either side of Christ. I’ve noticed in most crucifixion scenes, they are not included.
Next, I entered a room filled with reliquaries. I spent a good 30 minutes in this room – it was absolutely unbelievable.
A reliquary (also referred to as a shrine or by the French termchâsse) is a container for relics. These may be the purported physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures. The authenticity of any given relic is often a matter of debate; for that reason, some churches require documentation of the relic’s provenance.
David (my husband, David, haha) explained to me that this would be a shield for a crossbowman, for the back. I thought the shape of this shield was odd, and we didn’t quite figure out why the shield was shaped the way it is, but we think it may have been to help deflect arrows. David and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at the museum!
We decided to finish our afternoon at the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Another Université de Paris building.
We sat by the water fountains, listened to the accordion music, and watched as people dined at the nearby cafés. There were also street masseuses (and masseurs), which I thought was… interesting.
In the Jardin du Luxembourg.
There were palm trees! If you look to the centre-right of the photograph below, you can also see the Eiffel Tower peaking above the trees.
There were lots of children with boats, and poles to push them around the little pond. There were also several people with remote-controlled boats.
And of course, no day is complete without an obligatory selfie.
David and I had another splendid day! There were lots of people with ice cream, delicious-looking pastries, coffee and espresso, cigarettes and wine.
And there were parents out with their children: there were pony rides, children racing along on scooters, boats, and more ice cream (seriously, so much everywhere!).
Next time we go out, we’re getting ice cream. So shall it be written, so shall it be done.