Monday, August 12, 2013

Come into my Lapidaire...



History, history. Draped around my torso and puddling at my feet in the longest gown. When I walk its train stretches behind me and around here in Provence. The hems kiss such Roman stones and Gothic spires in just an every day kind of way. I am grateful for the comfort, the fine company.

So when I discover a true atelier of time's treasures, I can't help but share it with you, most certainly one that is hidden in plain sight. The Musée Lapidaire has been housed in the 17th century chapel of the former Jesuit College since 1933, smack on the main artery of Avignon. But today, perhaps so many people are busy with the contemporary folly of lécher les vitrines of the H&M across the street that they don't bother to part the massive red curtains at the entry.

Well, it is their loss. The Greek, Roman and Paleo-Christian statues, vases, funerary monuents, mosaics and sarcophogi are gorgeously accentuated by the white stone Baroque architecture. And while I am, unsurprisingly, a great admirer of Arles' own anitiquities museum, I must say that the Musée Lapidaire has a mighty fine collection, one that is beautifully presented in such a small space. Surprises abound, most especially over the magnificent Greek vases that were bought in the 18th century from the aristocratic Nani family of Venice. I don't think that I have seen anything like them during my travels so far. I was equally delighted by the Etruscan terra-cotta pieces, including the langorous reclining damsel below. However the museum's oeuvre-pricipale dating from 50 BC, "Le Tarasque de Noves," which depicts a flesh-eating monster (one still popular in Provençal lore today), gave me the giggles.  

I bowed my head apologetically and pulled la robe d'histoire tighter around me as I continued on.









Le Musée Lapidaire - Collection Archéologique du Musée Calvet
Chapélle des Jésuites
27, rue de la Republique
84000 Avignon

Open from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm, closed Mondays
Admission: only 2€!



I want to send a very sincere thank you to all of you that so kindly sent birthday wishes via comments or email. They delighted me to no end and bring nothing but happiness, the best gift of all...

Yes, I had a wonderful time and so am passing it along, wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

21 comments:

  1. So beautiful, as always with your phtos. All the more reason to come to Arles...it is next on our list!

    ReplyDelete
  2. PS At this moment, we are sitting outside on a gorgeous, cloudless night waiting for the Perseid meteor showers to begin. Hope you have a chance to see them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh meteor shower!! I saw a few on Saturday night--could that have been part of it?

      And while there are many reasons to come to Arles, this little museum happens to be in Avignon! :)

      Delete
    2. Tee-hee, silly me for not paying close attention! As Avignon and Arles are so close we will get to both, no doubt, and a few others whike we're there, I hope! Yes, you probably saw the Perseids on Saturday. Last night was supposed to be the biggest show, but I crawled into bed at 1 am having only seen three:-(! Still, worth being outside watching the stars on a beautiful night.

      Delete
    3. Absolutely! It is one of the things that drives me bananas about living in town--no star-gazing! And yes, both towns are a must for any visit to Provence. :) Aix as well--all of the good towns start with A around here! I wonder why that is?

      Delete
  3. Ahhh, when I saw the subject line in my email list, I hoped this is where you'd bring us. One of my favorite places, I usually had to "get lost" after lunch and, ahm, stumble across it to get my house guests in with a "gee, let's check out this little place for a minute." It usually ended being this great treasure "they discovered." Fine with me: I got to visit it again, made guests happy and they had a great discovery story to tell back home.

    Thanks, Joan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah-ha! So I am not at all alone in thinking that it was a great find!!! I think it will be a new favorite of mine too.

      Delete
  4. Oh, it may be unwise to giggle at the flesh eating monster. His cousin has recently appeared in the Northern Hemisphere http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/men-in-sweden-warned-after-sighting-of-testicleeating-fish-8755664.html It might give the monster new, unfortunate ideas : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yowza! Shazam! I hope that statue doesn't have access to the internet. Hehehehe...

      Delete
  5. Heather, what news of the dogs? Are they both OK?
    My bestie here in Houston has lost 2 black labs in the last month. They are so happy they had the time with them for all those years, but it's so hard to say goodbye. That just isn't fair to the humans, is it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I am so very sorry to hear that, Marsha. To lose two at once is so terrible. The boys are doing ok, just suffering a bit from the heat--so their evening walks are not as long as the pavement is too hot on their paws. But otherwise all right--thank you for asking!

      Delete
  6. I know exactly where this church is!
    I'm so happy you had a great birthday x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, to be surrounded with so much history and beauty...

    Lovely, Heather. Thank you for sharing this visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you would have been charmed by this D.

      Delete
  8. A wonderful collection.
    Is that similar to Keat's Grecian urn?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An excellent question if ever there was one, Edgar!

      Delete
  9. Hi!

    I love love love!! (as you know; your posts!!)

    I do have a suggestion for that museum......they may (if they are smart) listen to you!

    Their website consists of a "way too fast" slide show! Terrible! That I couldn't stop!! (could be "user error"!)

    It spoiled the experience for me........way too fast....and I couldn't figure out how to get "OFF)!!!

    (only my opinion!)

    Wonderful post!!

    Penelope

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more! If I have a means to pass on your suggestion to "slow it down" to the powers that be, I will.
      Hope you are well and the ducklings too,
      H

      Delete

Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at) yahoo.com...