I’ve always hated getting wet. So, needless to say, when I woke up this morning to a wet, gloomy Paris, I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep on the grounds that I was still fighting off jet lag. Around 11:30, I finally mustered up the energy to peer underneath the blinds of the floor to ceiling windows in my hotel room. It was still a little gloomy, but at least it had stopped raining.
While the sky was still heavy with clouds, the temperature was pleasantly in the mid-60s. I was actually a little warm in my lightweight sweater. I noticed, however, as I made my way though the Île de la Cité towards the Latin Quarter, the French were bundled up like it was the dead of winter. While a few of their heads were topped by the stereotypical berets, the ubiquitous French scarfs were everywhere. It made me wonder what they’d be wearing when it got really cold next week.
My first stop after lunch at a Crêperie, was the Cluny Museum (aka the Musée National du Moyen Age), home of the famed Unicorn Tapestries. The 6 tapestries which were likely created in the late 1500s are amazingly well preserved, considering they were not discovered and put on display at the Cluny until some time during the late 1800s. (They are much better preserved than the Unicorn Tapestries found at the Cloisters Museum in New York City). The tapestries are rich in symbolism. The first five tapestries represent the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The 6th in the series has been the subject of debate, and is know as “A Mon Sevl, Desir” (my only desire) and thought to be an apology of sorts for free will and self control.
Once I had my fill of medieval history, I set off for the Pantheon in the heart of the Latin Quarter. The Pantheon contains the last resting place of Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Marie and Pierre Curie.
I wrapped up my afternoon in the Luxembourg Gardens. Despite it being nearly November, the flowers are still in bloom and the trees are just starting to turn colors. This fall afternoon, the Garden was packed with families. Click on the video view for a panoramic view.
The days in Paris are ending earlier now; as in the US, daylight savings time ended last night. However, the sunsets are just as beautiful as ever.
One random note, I’ve discovered that Kir Royal’s (a mixture of champagne and the fruit flavored liquor-peach, raspberry, etc-of your choice) do not improve my French. However, it does have the effect of making me not care that my French is just this side of atrocious. =)
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