A Freezing Cold Paris
Tuesday February 28, 2012
I arrived on a beautiful sunny morning with a forecast to reach a high of ten, thinking: ‘What a lovely break from snowy cold Toronto!’ Little did I know that it would be short-lived.
After several days of enjoyable mild weather, it began to turn. I was walking along Rue de l'Amiral-de-Coligny after meeting a friend for coffee at Le Fumoir…
…when winter hit. In full force! It became so extremely cold that my skin hurt. I was freezing in my light wool coat and spring-like scarf. Le Louvre was across the street, so across the street I ran. While running by, I noticed that even the fountains had frozen over.
Hungry and a little shaky from too much coffee, I grabbed a baguette from the café, snuck it in (tsk tsk) and off I went to wander, warm up and have lunch on foot.
There are over 35,000 pieces of art on display at the Louvre. And with its luring history, one can roam for hours and never visit too often.
Not sure why I took his picture. I liked him. Later, when showing my niece travel pictures, her comment was: “He looks like a character in Shrek.” “I suppose he does,” I chuckled in response.
It’s hard to believe Venus de Milo was sculpted around 100 BC. She is breathtaking. I love where she stands, with the sun wrapping around her every day.
One of my favourite paintings is The Wedding Feast at Cana. I am fascinated at its size and all the detail. I would love to have seen Veronese’s easel!
The painting has had quite an adventure since its birth in 1563, from being torn in half in order to move it from Venice to Paris to being rolled up and moved around in a truck during WWII and even dropped and damaged in four places as recently as 1992. It’s a wonder it still exists. I could look at it for hours.
After I’d had my fill of the Louvre I decided to remain in doors and so I hopped on the Metro in search of my next museum (unfortunately shopping costs too much)! It didn’t take long to decide on Musée de Cluny.
Several years ago I read the book The Lady and the Unicorn, an interesting and compelling story of how a series of six tapestries came to be. They are dated from the late fifteenth century and on display at the Musée de Cluny, where they have been since 1882. This medieval wonder is now one of my favourite places to visit while in Paris.
I also love to re-visit the Heads of the Kings of Judah, which were sculpted around 1225. During the French Revolution the décor of the Notre Dame cathedral was seriously damaged and twenty-eight statues on the main façade were taken down and sold to a builder as scrap material. Not until 1977 would twenty-one of them, along with many other fragments, be discovered during a renovation of a private mansion in Paris. They were buried under the courtyard.
Now they reside at the Muséede Cluny. If you look close enough you can see the remnants of colour, a little pink on their cheeks or red on their lips.
The exterior of the museum is quite beautiful. The courtyard, with its watering well, feels as though it has been untouched since its construction in the late fifteenth century. It is such a fascinating place.
Exiting the museum, I realized that it was now late in the day. I braved the freezing cold in order to make it to the next warm destination: my cozy hotel room at Hotel de Fleurie.
Twas another perfect day in Paris.
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