Monday, July 7, 2008

Musée du Cluny, fierté des gaies, etc.

Saturday, 28 June

I went for a run in the morning to a park in the 19e, called Parc des Buttes Chaumont. It is absolutely beautiful... More on that later, as I had a picnic there yesterday evening and I intend to go back again before I leave... but I am getting very ahead of myself. I am sorry to say (but not that sorry) that was my last run in Paris. I have given up on excercise - I feel like my one run a week is just going through the motions, and can't really be doing that much for me... And as I run so infrequently, it always kind of hurts since I am not really in running shape... In any case I will be back to the states in a week at which time I will have nothing more important to do than to get back in shape so we'll worry about that then. Okay, end of digression, back to Saturday.

Once again, Eric very kindly gave me the day off, but he told me I had to visit the Musée Cluny, since I hadn't been there yet and the Renaissance is one of my favorite periods of art history. The museum is actually the national museum of the Middle Ages, and pertains more to works that predate the renaissance, for the most part... But nevermind that fact.

Something we talked about during our visit to the Musée d'Orsay for class was the fact that the building is more or less contemporary with the collection it houses - it was built to be a train station, and completed for the 1900 world exhibition. The collection is from the end of the 19th century. I started thinking about that, and it really is very often the case in Paris that collections are housed in contemporary buildings - the Centre Pompidou is very modern, the Louvre dates to the Renaissance and has a very strong Renaissance collection (along with many other collections...) The musée Cluny is no exception - I am pretty sure the name comes from the fact that it used to be a Cluniac Monastery, many many centuries ago. In any case, it is a very old, beautiful building :



Here is the entrance courtyard :



Note all the gothic pointed arches everywhere!

Here is the ceiling inside, in the chapel :



Flamboyant Gothic! That wasn't the only thing that I found to be flamboyant this Saturday... but I am getting ahead of myself. The museum has a very nice collection of stained glass - and it is nice that you are able to see it up close, unlike in the large churches it was intended for, where it is so many meters above your head. You can really see the detailing painted on :



The museum also has a good collection of tapestries that are very well preserved :



Ultimately the collection was very similar to that of the Renaissance museum, and not surprisingly, looks mostly at what was going on in France and surrounding areas during the 12-15th centuries or so... Whereas I am more familiar with Italian renaissance. Still an interesting museum, but since it was more of the same, I made it through in probably an hour, maybe at the most an hour and a half.

When I exited the museum, it was really noisy - lots of music, and people. Qu'est-ce que c'est que cette foule? (What's with the crowd?)



An Obama rally, perhaps?



Haha, no. Actually...



It was a gay pride parade, of course! Well sort of. It did not really seem like much of a parade to me, but maybe that is just my American standard for a parade. There were several trucks like the one above, covered in balloons or flags and playing loud music with people generally dancing. And then there were a bunch of people all just walking in street together, not really with a specific organization, just there, walking. Some of them had some pretty fabulous outfits on :



And others... well...



It was quite an interesting assortment, and fun because it was so unexpected. I am really not sure if there was some specific occasion for the parade, or if it was just kind of a random occurrence...

After watching for maybe 20 minutes or so, I took advantage of a break in the participants of the parade, crossed the street, and started walking towards Pierre Hermé's. On the way, I came across this pretty little shop :



Note my reflection in the pink on the left side : )

So even though I was planning on visiting Pierre, of course I had to stop in here too. I got a brioche aux pepins chocolats - a sweet bread with cream and chocolate chips in the middle.

Slowly I wound my way around the streets to get to Pierre's. I intended to get more macarons, but I just had to try an Ispahan, which is 2 large rose macarons with raspberries and some kind of cream in the middle :



And then I also had to get a deux mille feuille (literally, "two thousand sheets," so named because it is a very flaky pastry that seems to be made of two thousand tiny thin layers. The mille feuille is a very common pastry, so pierre just takes it the next step further.)



I had gotten a mille feuille a week before and was unimpressed, but I figured if anyone could do it well it would be Pierre. I was right; both were delectable. However, in the end, I think I prefer the simple little macarons.

In the evening, I went to meet some friends to hang out on the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge that reaches across the Seine. The city was absolutely beautiful :






Paris, je t'aime.


A bientôt,

2 comments:

I need orange said...

More and more WOW shots! The Cluny, the night-time shots, the pastries.....

I suppose the parade is another sort of wow.... :-) And -- so interesting to see what you saw, even the parts that weren't part of your plan......

Do you know what the dome is, in the night pics?

I need orange said...

Is that a rose petal, on the ispahan?

Loving the reflections in the water in the night shots!