Thursday, October 25, 2012
Walking around our hotel in the Latin Quarter of Paris, Terry noticed a poster for a Medieval concert. Terry loves Medieval music having sung with a Medieval chorus when she lived in New York City. The next day we returned to go to the Musee de Cluny for the concert. The concert took place in the Notre Dame Room which was filled with sculptures from the cathedral's various stages of construction. 21 monumental heads originated from the gallery of the Kings of Juda (circa 1220-1230). They were buried during the French Revolution and discovered by chance in 1977.
The Musee de Cluny is housed in two Paris monuments. The Northern Thermal Baths of Luteria, the only Gallo-Roman monument surviving in Paris, were probably built in the late 1st century and were active for about two centuries. The complex consisted of cold, tepid and hot rooms devoted to baths, physical exercise and underground rooms for administration, laundry and wood storage. The baths can be seen today from the street from behind black iron gates. They are an quiet open ruin with the hectic city life bustling around them. The one elevated room, the frididarium (cold room) was recently restored. The Hotel de Cluny was built on the site in the 15th century replacing the Parisian residence of the Cluny abbots that existed on the site since the 13th century. The museum today houses art from as early as the Roman Empire (51-58BC), the Middle Ages, Romanesque and Gothic Eras. Most of the sculptures, paintings and stained glass are religious in theme. The most stunning room is filled with the The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry set. These tapestries were lovingly restored and they cover every wall acting as huge cinematic storyboards.
The musicians spoke in French more than they played. I'm sure it was enlightening banter, but I didn't understand a word. When they did play, the music filled the ancient room transporting the audience back in time. There was another artist sketching in the audience. I suspected he was local, so I didn't get a chance to talk to him. I was in a city where sketching is the norm.