“There couldn’t be a more splendid world, and here I am existing in it.”
— Mary Oliver from her poem, “I’m feeling fabulous, possibly too much so but I love it.”
Today in the Latin Quarter, we visited the Musee National du Moyen Age with about 600 little children. Ok, maybe not that many and maybe they were well-behaved, maybe. This museum has an amazing collection of medieval art housed in a 15th century building. The collection is composed of ceramics, statuary, tapestries, religious artifacts etc. The tradition of carving elephant ivory was underway by 400 BC. Yikes. Is there any hope for elephants?
For me, the most stunning artifacts were the gigantic-wall-size woven tapestries featuring a unicorn and golden-haired maiden set on a millefleure background. The subject of each of five tapestries was one of the senses: hearing, seeing, touching smelling, tasting. The sixth one is an unravelled mystery. Why is the beautiful maiden accepting the box of jewels?
Deanna and I wandered toward the Jardin de Luxembourg, home of the Senate and the extensive garden. When it’s warm, the garden is packed with sun worshippers and children sailing toy boats on the large, circular pond. We found a cafe called Polidor which opened in 1845 and looked it. However, this was clearly a place for those the late, great anthropologist Jim Spradly would call the “real regulars.” A long table ran down the center of the room. Other tables ran perpendicular to it. Everyone sat together divided only by red/white checked paper place mats. We joined a gray haired man (bald on top) with a heavy beard who was shuffling bills and making business calls on his iPhone whike he drank red wine and finished his lunch. We noticed that a lot of men wore real chapeau and hung them on the coat rack. We were the only estrangers. I had the beef and mashed potatoes for 12 euros. Delicious. Busy, crowded. Pit toilet. Yep.