hudebnik: (devil duck)
[Transcribed from paper diary]

9 July: Angers was incredible, although we would have enjoyed the exterior of the château and the city more if it hadn't been raining much of the day. But still, the city has lots of cute medieval streets, the château (dating mostly to the 13th c.) is most impressive, with its seventeen 40'-diameter round towers, thick wall, and huge, steep-walled moat, and the Apocalypse Tapestries are amazing. I took only a few photos of them, as we bought a guidebook that shows all the scenes in vivid color (shot from the back, which hasn't been exposed to light very often in 600 years so it hasn't faded as much). And the Cathedral is gorgeous too. I'd better return to that topic.

And the TGV was an interesting experience. When two of them pass, at (say) 180 km/hour each, or more, the relative speed is at least 100 m/sec, so the entire length of the other train passes one's window in a second.

Yesterday, 10 July, we returned to the Louvre to see some rooms that had been closed on our previous two visits: medieval French, Italian, & Spanish sculpture, medieval French, Dutch, German, & Flemish painting. On our tired way out, we re-visited some of the medieval "objets d'art".

10 July: lunch picnic (c. 5 € groceries), dinner 8.60 € at gyro place

The Cathedral at Angers has the same sorts of 12th-century sculpted figures at the portals as Chartres did, but one of the women has visible side-lacing -- as far as I knew, the side-lacing was only a hypothesis put forth to explain the horizontal wrinkling over the midriff in this garment. [ profile] shalmestere and I spent a while last night puzzling over the various photos and postcards of these stretched portal figures. Today we plan to visit Senlis, whose Cathedral was built only a few years before Chartres (and in similar record time -- 40 years), so we hope to add more data to the pot. The Queen of Sheba figure in the "French medieval sculpture" section of the Louvre is in the same style, and I got some photos of it too.


Jul. 6th, 2002 07:29 am
hudebnik: (devil duck)
[transcribed from paper diary]

c. 12€ dinner, 22€ lunch (on card), 15€ exhibit catalogue, 5€ admission, 20€ guided tour, 36€ (on card) SNCF, c. 40€ pilgrim badges & gifts.
Chartres Cathedral is amazing.  And the rest of the town is nothing to sneer at either: another 12th-century church built on the ruins of a Gallo-Roman amphitheatre, a former Benedictine monastery whose 1000 AD bell tower survives, along with 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th-century sections, and a large section of town whose surviving houses and shops have been restored to an incredibly picturesque tableau, while still functioning in the 21st century.
La Chemisette de la Vierge is actually a two-foot piece of a formerly 18'-long rectangular piece of white silk, which apparently has been dated to roughly 2000 years old by scientific means.  But the artifact we really went to see is a later 14th-c. red silk pourpoint: I took about ten photos of it in available light, then gave up, scrapped that roll of film, and switched to 1600 ASA, which made it a little easier.  We also bought an exhibit book that includes several pages on the restoration of the pourpoint.
hudebnik: (devil duck)
Back to Notre Dame to climb the towers and see the St. Louis shirt.  The upper towers were closed, but the lower tower was quite sufficient both to give us a view and to tire our legs.  The Treasury of the Cathedral really doesn't contain much of pre-18th-c. interest, except the shirt.  We spent at least ten minutes in front of it, measuring, sketching, and photographing.  The arm-holes are quite large and (if I followed grain lines correctly) fairly steeply sloped: the bottom of the armscye is 4-6" out from the top!  The bottom of the shirt is only another 4" out from there.  The one remaining arm is quite short -- elbow or mid-forearm, at most -- and has a narrow opening at the end, as though St. Louis had spindly arms.  The neck and bottom hems looked rolled to me -- smooth on one side, protruding on the other -- although I'm not sure how to reconcile a rolled neck hem with the continuous reinforcing tapes that go an inch past the point of the V.  The armscye seam looked flat-felled to me -- again, smooth on one side, protruding on the other.

Anyway, we left Notre Dame for lunch in the Latin Quarter, thinking to go on to the Museé d'Orsay and/or the Sewer Museum, but changed out minds and returned to the Cathedral for the 15:00 Veneration of the Relics -- a fragment of the True Cross, a nail from the True Cross, and (most special of all) the Crown of Thorns.  It was a surprisingly moving experience: as [ profile] shalmestere said later, "I have never felt so close to my persona."  Anyway, we each bowed and got within an inch or two of what could be the Crown of Thorns, and is certainly a bunch of twisted woody spiny stuff dating back at least 800 years.

I finally made my phone call to MCU and was told that no, our ATM cards would not work in France, but that we could take them to a bank, ask for a cash advance, and it would be treated the same way.  So I did that, sorta: the two banks where I asked said they don't do cash advances, and both recommended a Bureau de Change, which took out 6% + 1€ as a fee. But that's better than the last place I cashed a traveller's check, which took out 9,8% + 6€ as a fee. So we have cash now.

After dinner [ profile] shalmestere came up to where I sat on the bed, waved a pack of cards, and made playful-puppy noises. In reply, I did my famous imitation of a goofy greyhound, playbowing, spinning around in a circle -- and colliding with the corner of the open casement window. I washed the wound in the sink, dabbed up some more blood with paper napkins, and had [ profile] shalmestere apply antibiotic cream and press the flap of skin back into place. I think it's stopped bleeding now... not that it was ever bleeding very hard...

Tomorrow, Chartres.

Paris stuff

Jul. 2nd, 2002 08:06 pm
hudebnik: (devil duck)
We got a late start this morning: two other maudite Americains were ahead of me in line for the shower, and we spent some time looking for a bank to cash a traveller's check. So by the time we reached Notre Dame, there were enormous lines of tourists -- one for the tower tour, and one for the church proper. The latter line, however, moved fairly quickly, and we got inside within a few minutes. Several photographs -- the end of the first roll and the beginning of the second -- of tombs, early 14c. painted wooden sculptures of the life of Christ, stained glass windows, etc. We stepped into the line for the towers, but when after 15 minutes we had only moved a fifth of the way to the door, we gave up and went in search of lunch. It was drizzling, so we sat indoors until, all at once, four people at three adjacent tables lit up, and [ profile] shalmestere asked the waiter to move us outside, where there was only traffic noise and car exhaust to deal with (much preferable to both of us). After lunch, we returned to l'Ile de la Cité to visit the Crypte Archaeologique (the Gallo-Roman and medieval ruins underneath the square in front of Notre Dame), the Sainte-Chapelle, and the Conciergerie. I hadn't been to the Conciergerie on my previous visit to Paris: it started life as a Gallo-Roman fort, then a Merovingian palace, then Capetian,... The visible remains are largely 14th century, but were re-used as a prison for centuries, most notably during the French Revolution.

At some point we realized that the Notre Dame Treasury, which we had skipped because it had an admission fee and a guidebook said it was mostly ecclesiastical vestments, also contained St-Louis's shirt. So we'll have to go back to Notre Dame some other day, first thing in the morning before the lines form.

Lunch c. 30€
Books & cards c. 30€
Dinner c. 13€


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