Friends kept telling me that I should visit the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature), so I stopped by on Sunday afternoon. It’s a quirky but very cute little museum, in a beautifully restored hôtel particulier (private mansion) in the Marais. You don’t have to like hunting to appreciate the sumptuous displays of taxidermy and animal-related art (with as much space devoted to the quarry as to the dogs and other animals used by hunters) as well as lots of lovely old guns. There are also quite a few contemporary art pieces interspersed with the more traditional material to keep you on your toes. My only complaint is that so many of the ambitious video elements were out of order.
Monday morning I had to work (!?), creating a web page and announcement looking for a new roommate as of September 1. My current roommate is leaving after more than five years to start a tenure-track career at the University of Texas. I’m happy for him but sad about losing his companionship, and a bit anxious (as always) about whether I’ll be able to find yet another congenial roommate. For lunch I met up with an interesting Parisian sculptor, whose work is shown in a Boston gallery that I have visited.
That afternoon I wandered again around the Parmentier quartier, which is zippy but a bit too edgy for me to feel comfortable staying another year. I had a drink at Avé Maria, which Dan and Ric had introduced me to last year, and dinner at Le Marsangy (2015 update: under new management and no longer recommended), a charming neighborhood restaurant serving traditional cuisine. The service was impeccable: I had the impression that the entire operation is composed of the chef and the waiter, and that they have been doing this for a long, long time. Not to be missed is the millefeuille d’avocat aux écrevisses, which was as good as it looks:
mot du jour: “sanglier”. French for “wild boar.” What I hadn’t realized is that these guys can be quite fierce. In classical times they were considered as formidable as the wolf, bear or lion. And they are rather common in the countryside; we didn’t see any at L’Ejumeau but we saw lots of places where they had been rooting around. Lisa’s aunt Sofie told us that the locals call them “cochons” (pigs) instead of “sangliers,” but she was at pains to clarify that the term was used purely descriptively, without the pejorative connotation that the word “cochon” often has. I had assumed that the etymology of “sanglier” was — rather dramatically — based on “sang” (blood) but fr.wikipedia.org tells me that it’s from the Latin for “alone,” since they are solitary after the first two years.