Medieval museum and more
This morning started out with a trip to the Musée de Cluny, a museum focused on the middle ages. It was another long walk, but thankfully I was feeling far less sore today. The museum itself is built into two historical sites: Roman baths from the third century and a fifteenth century abbey. The crumbling walls of the baths, the Gothic architecture of the abbey, and the park surrounding the museum really made it feel like you were being immersed in the Middle Ages.
The museum is most famous for a series of tapestries called The Lady and the Unicorn. It also had many statues, wooden carvings, paintings, building fragments, and items found in churches and other religious places. It wasn't busy on a rainy Thursday morning, and I was happy to avoid the crowds that had been present at the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay. Some of the rooms were dim and lit mainly by a couple windows. Standing alone in these immense, dark rooms made me feel very small and intimidated, but that may have been the architect's intended effect.
After looking at the art, I took a stroll through the museum's medieval garden. Apparently the ideal medieval garden consisted of a meadow split into quarters by running water. Though it's winter, there were pretty flowers blooming in the meadow and the sound of birds and the creek was very pleasant.
Next, I walked over to the Notre Dame. It's been many years since I last visited, but it was just as beautiful as I remembered.
I was about to leave when I decided that I couldn't go to Paris without climbing to the top of the Notre Dame. The climb was 400 steps up a small, winding staircase. After hundreds of years of use, the steps are worn down in the middle and look like melted butter. I was followed by a family whose kids kept asking "Are we there yet?" The laborious ascent was worth it; at the top there is a panoramic view of Paris.
The rain, the wind whistling in the towers, and the gargoyles made me feel like I was in a ghost story. It was awesome.
I was VERY amused to spot my neighborhood from the top. It's a bit hard to explain in the picture above, but my hostel is near the large building on top of the hill in the distance with the darker area around it. I've been walking to the Notre Dame's general area from there every day. Lots of walking!
Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to my German friend and remaining Brazilian friend today. It was sad to say goodbye to them, but I'm so happy that I made international friends within my first week in Europe. We have each others' contact information and maybe we will meet again in our travels one day.
That's pretty much it for today. Tomorrow is my last day in Paris, so I wanted to get plenty of rest to make sure that I'll have energy for everything that I want to do tomorrow!