Fezzik In Paris

Two Americans, three cats, and too many places named "de Gaulle"

Last Saturday continued the trend of haphazardly-planned weekends, and we again wandered out to the convention center at Porte de Versailles.

The primary target of our interest was the exhibit on the Lascaux cave paintings, with a Lego exhibit of some sort on our list of secondary options (confession: I have repeatedly considered buying this set, but have not, due to doubts about how to get it back to Texas).

The Lascaux exhibit was, for the most part, well done; it included a history of the cave’s discovery, exploitation, near-ruin, and subsequent closure to the world at large. The Purrito questioned the point of the small-scale models of each of the cave’s chambers, and we agreed that they would have been more useful from a visualization standpoint had their interiors been painted or at least marked in a way that illustrated the placement of the major pieces.

The recreations of three of the major “panels” (the cow queen, the only scene with a human figure, and a scene that completely escapes me at the moment) were well worth seeing, to say nothing of the black light effect that was used to show the carvings under and around the paintings.

One aspect that I found lacking was that of artistic interpretation; I have vague recollections (from that damned art history class again) that the paintings are interesting form a technical standpoint (not from a materials standpoint, but rather from an execution standpoint), but no such commentary was to be found here. This is in-line with the apparent goal of approaching the cave from a strictly archaeological perspective, but I don’t think the scientific merit of the cave would have been tainted by a bit more discussion of the actual art.

Ex-post-toro, we decided that the Lego exhibit could wait. Unfortunately for everybody involved, there was a free “bio” exhibit, which really should have been a small slice of the Salon de l’Agriculture. In reality, it was an amusingly sad hall filled with new-agey woo; lithotherapy (crystals that are supposed to heal you; I’m not sure if this is a feng shui thing (it heals you from its place on the shelf?) or if you’re supposed to rub them all over yourself, or if you’re supposed to trepan yourself and insert the crystal into the resulting hole or…), chakra reading, iridology seminars, hemp clothing, and innumerable self-help books.

I feel compelled to note that the that-person-probably-smells-really-bad aesthetic is cross-cultural. Which I found a touch surprising, given the amount of donkey (and goat and horse) soap that was available for purchase.

Our jaunt into Le Salon Maison et Travaux was mercifully short; while it had originally been on the primary activity list, said salon was definitely not what we thought it would be.

A quick trip to Beaugrenelle (a shopping center in the 15e) later, and we headed home via a branch of the RER C that I did not know existed.

I’m doubtful that we’ll make it to the actual Lascaux (with it’s expanded recreation of the original cave), but I think the cow queen will be pleased with our pilgrimage to this satellite shrine.

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