365 Days of Earrings

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cluny's Surprises

 Our last day in France dawned drizzly and gray--a good day to visit the Cluny Museum's collection of early French artifacts.

I wore this pair of metal cube earrings which I bought early in this trip, in the medieval town of Moret sur Loing. Their simple, elegant beauty reminds me of the workmanship of early craftsmen. In the dim light of the museum, I did not manage a photograph.

Yesterday I visited Chartres Cathedral, long a goal of mine. Today I found myself standing in front of this tapestry, The Lady and the Unicorn, which I have also wanted to see for many years. Discovering it here was a surprise (I know, I should have read the guide books more carefully...) and a pleasure. I sat in the center of the gallery and felt bathed in the glow of the subtle lighting.

But the truly great surprise of this day was the exhibit of swords. I hadn't even known that I should ever hope to see Jeanne d'Arc's sword, or the sword of Roland, or that of El Cid. I had no idea that any of them still existed. But today I stood within inches of each. Standing in the Frigidarium, a room in Paris' 1st century thermal baths, built by Julius Caesar's Roman conquerors of Gaul, I learned about the forging and design of swords, about their mythic significance and their value as weapons and symbols of power. An exhibit of incredible breadth and depth. One of the best I've seen.

So. Tomorrow we get up early to head for the airport. Tomorrow night, I should be home in Paris, Virginia. Ready to encounter the many joys and surprises that await.

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