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Day 86: Door from Middle Ages

During our walking tour yesterday morning, we were brought to the front courtyard of Musée de Moyen Âge-Cluny for a spot of historical guide. The structure of the Hôtel de Cluny is pretty much intact since the middle ages, its façade well preserved and the one main structure missing is the wooden gallery for the sentry who kept guard the townhouse.

Our attention was drawn to the scallop shells motive found on the door, as part of coat of arms and bas-relief at the first floor level. Legend has it, back in the old day, a pilgrim (someone important to the Abbey of Cluny? It seems I wasn’t paying enough attention) on the route to Santiago de Compostela (i.e. the Way of St James, Chemin de St Jacques in French) found himself in danger of sinking in a marsh to a muddy death. However, his prayer to St James was heard and he was saved when scallop shells (emblem of St James) emerged from the marsh and opened a path for him to continue his pilgrimage. Whether you buy this or not, it’s up to you. ;)

Random trivia of the day: St Jacques is the equivalent of St James in French, and scallop is named after him, as la coquille St-Jacques.

Another random trivia of the day: to one side of Musée de Moyen Âge-Cluny is the famous Boulevard St Michel but to the other (parallel) side is rue St Jacques, one of the main thoroughfares of Paris in the middle ages.

Day 83: Perspective

As you may have noticed, most of my exploration of Paris so far has been on the Left Bank (“Rive Gauche” as we call it here). Today is no difference. Well, it is weekday and there’s a limit of how much distance I can cover after work. Inevitably, it’ll be somewhere nearby that I can get to, easily, on foot.

This door on rue Monsieur Le Prince has a lovely sense of perspective and depth to it. The door was cleverly carved in the way it looks nearly three-dimensional, and felt quite the same way too. It was not a simple flat carving by any mean. To me, this is no longer just the front to a building. It is a work of art in its own right.

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