You know Son,
i often ask myself who exactly I’m writing this blog for. I mean, obviously, I’m addressing these to you, but I don’t really know how interested you are in how much swimming I did while I was pregnant or where I like to shop for baby clothes. Some of this you may be interested in, certes, but I think that I’m also documenting this time as a way for me to remember how I felt during this time, what I was thinking, how I metamorphosed into this new role, how I tried to make it work for me, for us, for all of us. As I mentioned before, I am a big believer in taking care of yourself when you become a parent, and so to that end let me tell you about an outing I had last Sunday, alone, while you were with your papa and Nana.
As you know, I usually blow off steam on the weekend doing some sort of physical activity, taking a bike ride and swimming or going to the track, but last Sunday I felt I had had enough physical activity, seeing as we had started Cardio-Pushchair in the park a few weeks ago, and I felt I wanted to exercise my mind by slowly wandering around a Paris museum, something I have not done in quite a while. One of my favorite bloggers has been talking recently about her fondness for natural history museums and Victorian taxidermy, and reading her posts reminded me of how much I like the Musée nationale d’histoire naturelle in the Jardin des Plantes, specifically the Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology and the Grande Galerie d’Evolution.I had not been in quite a while, and had been wanting to go since reading those posts but I wasn’t sure how feasible it was with the stroller (sidenote: perfectly feasible), so I packed some pencils, a sketchbook, my iPod, a bottle of water, an apple and some change for a tea in a cafe into my messenger bag, and hopped on the metro.
The Museum of Comparative Anatomy is simply bones. The first level is a hall filled with collections of animal skeletons, as well as a few human bones as well. They also have things pickled in jars, hearts and stomachs and the like, and natural oddities, things with two heads etc. They also have a rather gruesome collection of infant skeletons, if you’ll forgive the ghoulishness.
The second level is essentially paleontology and mineralogy.
What I love about the museum is the Victorian university feel it has, it kind of reminds me of the Valley Life Sciences building at UC Berkeley, although they aren’t quite from the same epoque. It has wooden floors and lacy iron railings, and that musty academic smell.
I had actually only planned to go to the Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology, but after a slow contemplative walk through the museum, I realized I still had a couple of hours left. So I decided to head over to the Grande Galerie d’Evolution, which is also a simply wonderful space, all dark wood with an African safari scene in the center and arcades all around the sides. I checked out the entymology sections and admired the huge collections of creatures from all over the globe. They were doing a Darwin exhibit on the top floor, something about a celebration of the publication of On the origins of species, and so there was a lovely setup with old victorian books and beetles and butterflies in glass boxes. I bought you a little book, Les Petites Bêtes. I took pictures but unfortunately didn’t think to bring my camera so I only have photos from my cell phone, which don’t do the place justice.
Son, while wandering around, all I could think about was how I absolutely, positively cannot WAIT to bring you here! I can’t WAIT! What glorious fun it will be! I hope you will enjoy these museums as much as I do…