We began day 4 with a visit to the National Museum of the Middle Ages (aka the Cluny). Like the other Paris museums we visited, this one could occupy a person for days.
The Museum had lots of splendid reliquaries. These were used to hold sacred relics, such as pieces of the “true cross.” It has been said that if all the wood from the “true cross” in medieval churches was gathered in one place it would be enough to build Noah’s ark.
We’ve seen some fascinating reliquaries and relics over the years–the veil of Mary in the cathedral at Chartres, John the Baptist’s head in the cathedral at Amiens (one of several such heads on display worldwide), a finger of St. Teresa in Avila. When our children were young and we traveled a lot, one game we played with them, in an effort to make visits to old churches and cathedrals amusing and interesting, was to see who could find the most interesting relic. Our holy grail was a reliquary containing a saint’s toenail.
But this is the most fascinating reliquary I’ve ever seen–the Reliquary of the Umbilicus of Christ (1407).
Sadly, my close up of the holy umbilicus came out blurred. The inscription reads “De Umbilico Domini Jesu Christi.”
The Cluny’s star attractions are the “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries, from the early 16th Century.
This one is not as famous, but I enjoyed it–a tournament scene from 1480.
After the Cluny we went for a long walk and had a picnic lunch in Luxembourg Gardens.
We stopped in at Shakespeare and Company.
For nearly a hundred years, this bookstore has been giving lodging and quiet spaces to writers and artists, among them Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Joyce. Andrea Hejlskov (I know some of you read her blog) stayed here during the recent Climate Summit.
The Notre Dame is just across the way from Shakespeare and Company.
Parisians love books. The walk along the Seine is lined with antique booksellers.
Another full and fun day.