If you add a priest, a preacher and a rabbi, I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere!
Back to the Latin Quarter today…Jenge – this is for you – it’s called the Latin Quarter because before Napoleon had Latin replaced with modern French at the Sorbonne, Latin was the language used at the university. So in this area, around the Sorbonne and other universities…you would hear the students all speaking Latin.
St. Germain des Pres – a beautiful church, and still functioning as an active parish today. Some churches are really only of historical or architectural interest now but there are quite a few that are still active parishes. It amazes me that they have to post signs asking people not to walk around and speak during Mass.
A whole bunch of people (and I’ve attended a few Masses hear – they are always crowded, even on weekdays) gathered together to pray and people think it’s acceptable to walk around, chat and take pictures? This seems appropriate? I wonder if it’s the poor image of the Catholic Church in our society or the ignorance of an increasingly secular society. Perhaps people are just unaware that there is a solemnity to prayer and a sacred to the Mass.
Okay, rant over!
This street has some fantastic shopping too! The sales in France are for two times a year – 4 to 5 weeks after Christmas and then the same in July. It’s controlled by the government (I believe that stores can also have sales for up to two weeks throughout the year at their own discretion). So, now that we’re nearing the end of July, a lot of stores are having their second markdown and there are some good deals to be had!
I went to the Musee de Moyen Age (I think it’s also called the Musee du Cluny – not sure). It’s a museum of the Middle Ages, built right into the ruins of the Roman baths. I enjoyed it! There was tons of antiquities from the Middle Ages, jewellery, chalices, serving wear, armour, etc as well as artwork, carvings, statues, stained glass and beautiful needlework.
The most famous piece for this museum is the Lady and the Unicorn – tapestries in six pieces. (the meaning of the last is still not agreed upon!) I’ve seen pictures of it before but had no idea how large it was. They’ve displayed it in a round room with the five pieces on the back wall (depicting the senses) and the last on the side opposite.
I also headed to the Pantheon and thankfully, it wasn’t too busy. It was supposed to originally be a church but was finished being built right around the beginning of the Revolution. Instead it was used to honour the “Great” of the Revolution. Mirabeau, Voltaire, Rousseau and Marat were buried here but Mirabeau later got the boot because he wasn’t ‘revolutionary’ enough. Seems harsh! Mind you, those Revolutionaries weren’t exactly known for their gentile sensibilities. Cutting someone’s head off is a very upfront way to get your point across!