The Reliquary of the Umbilicus of Christ and Other Parisian Distractions Posted by Hello
While I was in Paris, I went to Cluny, also known as the Musee National du Moyen Age. To anyone who has ever gone or enjoyed the Cloisters, you need to go to Cluny. I mean, right now. Don't wait. Unless you can only book on a Delta flight, then you should wait, but not too long. Cluny makes the Cloisters look like Six Flags, all gimmicky and cheap.
Cluny, much like the Cloisters, is a hodge podge. It has fifteenth century shoes (which very pointy-both the heel and the toe), which honestly make Manolo Blahnik shoes look divinely comfy in comparison. There are third century fabrics from Egypt, which were more patterned and exciting, and I dare say even erotic ( especially the topless Amazon hunting pattern) than I imagined possible. There are gargoyles which one can get a much closer look at without having to schlep to the top of Notre Dame (good for disabled little girls like myself). There are fifteenth century Venetian swords (Machiavelli) and chain mail. There are the Roman Baths. There is a Book of Hours that can be leafed through AS WELL AS a book of illuminated music ( I didn't even know such things existed). One triptych featured an assembly of various saints all armed ( swords, clubs, knives). One saint in particular was wearing reading glasses while looking at a book and yet in his other hand was a drawn sword. Kind of makes me understand the storing I hear about parochial schools and nuns. (Unfortunately I can not find pictures for many of these items, and my faith that others took decent photographs was apparently in this case ill placed. I guess that means I'll just have to go back!)
Of course the most famous pieces at Cluny are the Unicorn Tapestries which are, to my thinking, much better than the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters if only because they are in better condition. However, the six tapestries (the five sense and the "soul at rest") were also more accessible than the tapestries at the Cloisters because the images were simpler.
What does seem like an utter lack of PR savvy is that in the reliquary room is alledgely in possession the reliquary of the umbilical cord of Christ, and no one seems to notice. One would think that perhaps such an item should be more advertised, but it simply displayed in a corner of a room without fanfare or neon lights or even a bumper sticker. It does, however, count for the smugness of the French. I mean they have the UMBILICAL CORD OF CHRIST. One has to think that counts for something.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Until you have seen the Luxemburg gardens, you have no idea how decadent and yet accessible a public park can be. I never considered that brown eyed susans and begonias ( my mother's favorite) set in a meticulously maintained park could be so beautiful. There were wild color combinations, statues surrounded by gold and purple flowers.
In the gardens I see another perspective photograph, a group of men playing what I can only assume is bocci ball. I don't know how the hell one plays bocci ball, but well there were balls involved so I'm just guessing.
I walk slowly through the entire gardens sitting and resting by the miniature statue of liberty. There is the large reflective pool, the palais du Luxembourg, the miniature pony rides for the kids (instead of horse drawn carriages), the carousel that Adam Gopnik's son spent a lot of time riding.
Threshold of Revelations
In the gardens I realize that I will not, despite my enforced march, see everything I want to see in Paris. I have to accept that something, Les Invalides, La Place de la Republique, will have to be sacrificed. Further I realize that UDR's forecast that I will never want to leave to true. I wonder how it is he can prefer to live in NYC knowing that Paris exists. How can his ex-wife live in NYC when she has lived in Paris?
New York City, of course, has its own advantages, but NYC is kind of like my mother often annoying, occasionally traumatizing, but also filled with wonderful stories, lots of distractions, and great food. Paris is like a first love, even the faults seem charming initially.
Je suis un artist sensitif.
On my way back from the luxemburg gardens, completely starving and in need of a rest, a young French man, named Julien, asks me where a certain street is. Not knowing, I simply handed him the map I had in my hand and thus began another three hour extravaganza. The young man in question spoke French with a lisp, or perhaps that was simply Provence accent. We ended up meandering through the latin quarter in search of a street that remained unfound. Eventually we sat and talked, which was difficult considering that his english was limited and so was my french. After we chatted for a while and he didn't hint at going back to his place or try and kiss me, I said "You know you aren't like other Parisian men. You aren't aggressive." He stopped and looked at me "Well," he said "That's because I write poetry." I began thinking that King Missile definitely needed to do a cover of "I am a sensitive artist" in french.
Immediately following the admission he was a poet, Julien asked to go back to my hotel with me. He had a dinner party that night but he of course he had time to stop by my room if we left right then. I told him it wasn't possible. He asked if we could meet the next day before he went to work. I said sure and told him where to meet me. I knew I wouldn't be making that assignation, which probably didn't matter since the likelihood is he couldn't find where I told him to meet me.
more to come...

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