So, the first Sunday of every month here in Paris is fantastic. Most public attractions in the city are free. For me, this is an unlimited, no holds-barred, go past go AND collect two-hundred dollars free pass to all the museums that Paris has to offer. Unbeatable. Today I woke up early, made a big breakfast and set out on my museum tour by once-again visiting one of my favorite attractions, the Panthéon.
I thought it fitting that, since I had started reading Voltaire’s « Candide » in French, that I should visit his tomb and read a section there. Corny ? Perhaps, but it was great nonetheless. This time, the gigantic pendulum, an example of the earth’s constant rotation and movement, was back in place and quite a site to see as it hung from the towering basilica’s topmost point. After paying homage to the great Frenchman, it was off to see some more.
After meeting some friends the next destination became le Musée National du Moyen Age translating as the national museum of the middle age and commonly known as le Musée de Cluny. This was a great museum to visit as, like the Panthéon, it is in the heart of the Latin Quarter and right by home. It was built by the French State in 1843 as a fusion of the Gallo-Roman baths and the Hôtel de Cluny, a medieval residence. The museum contains stunning finds from the middle ages such as « medieval art : sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, stained-glass, Goldsmith work, furnture and tapestries. » (from the Musée de Cluny brochure guide, March 2010). It’s iconic work is the famous lady and the unicorn tapestries, but I found the most enjoyment in the ancient ivory sculptures and one particular sculpture the Virgin Mary holding Jesus Christ after being brought down from crucifixion. The mother’s visage was extremely powerful.
After the Musée de Cluny, as is customary on Sundays, we visited the Marais district for another delicious Falafel and today, this particular fried chick pea pita was amazing. After being stuffed to the gills, we were off to Musée d’Orsay (I wanted to see some specific Van Gogh Works) but alas, there was a HUGE line and the frigid wind convinced us to head for warmer weather.
This led us to the Trocadero area (great view of the Eiffel Tower) to visit the Cité de l’Architecture & Du Patrioine. This is a highly underrated museum and was one of my favorite finds. Many large architectural finds from across France were brought here for conservation and comparison for architecture students and professionals. First, it is astonishing to know that massive entryways, spires, and statues from churches and historical buildings around France could be transported here without damage! Secondly, the displays and layout of the museum was incredibly impressive. Walking through giant carved stone archways from room to room that were from the Loire Valley, Massif Central, or Normandy was a humbling experience. Very cool architectural Works displayed with a skilled eye helped to make this a great museum visit.
After such a busy day, I was ready to head back to my host family’s residence and take a load off for a bit. I got to write this blog, upload some photos, do my French homework, and eat a gourmet dinner with the family and practice my French. All-in-all, I’d call it an extremely successful day .
QOTD : I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~Elwyn Brooks White
Latest Favorites : Student bars, Music studio at AUP, Nice weather, Long talks with friends, Successful conversations in french.