lundi 20 octobre 2014

Medieval Morocco now on at the Louvre

Saturday morning I was up early in order to head to the Louvre to see the Maroc Médiéval exhibit that had just opened the previous day.  Normally I don't like to see a "big" show near opening day as it usually means tons o' people, but I just couldn't wait to see this show.  I love Morocco and was willing to endure the other people stampeding to the Louvre to see this much-awaited collection. 

Paris is experiencing a freaky heat wave right now.  It's like a greenhouse under that pyramid!

What a surprise!  Hardly any people lined up at the entrance for this exhibit.  Am I the only Moroccophile in the City of Light? 

 Oh well, more room for me to soak up all the wonderful treasures that I can't show you because the guards refused to let me take photos.  That's stupid.  I'm not using a flash for heaven's sake!  I'm not going to damage your Coran/ancient dinar/13th century bowl fragment.

I managed to sneak in ONE shot before they caught me.
 This is just a mere suggestion of how lovely the installation was.  The rooms are dark rich purple with hints of latticework and Moorish arches.  Oh, it was all so beautiful and I can't even show you a speck of it.

Here are two things I learned from this exhibit:  1)  The Maghreb (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco) was named by the Arab conquerors who came here in the 7th century.  It was originally called "Maghreb al-Aqsa" which means The most Western Point on Earth.  (Or maybe it is the Westernmost point on Earth.  I can't even read my own notes!)  2)  What I thought was called a "Minibar" is actually called a Minbar.  It's that step rampy thing the Iman preaches from in the mosque.  There were several minbars on display and I kept reading "Minibar" on the little sign.  I thought "How clever!  Even in 980 they had places to put  all those little bottles of Schweppes and tiny bags of nuts!"

Afterwards I really wanted some tajine.  I had to settle for some dates for my snack.  Really, there should be some kind of Exhibit-Museum Cafeteria clause that states the whatever they are showing in the museum, they have to serve a representative menu related to the show in the museum cafeteria.  Couscous for all!

lundi 7 juillet 2014

This is a rare sighting.  These light up panels, installed in the Paris métro stations back in the 1930s were known as PILIs, or plans indicateurs lumineux d’itinéraires.  Users would push two buttons, one indicating the starting point of their journey, and a second one indicating their ultimate destination.  A pathway would light up, showing the trip.  If a change was involved, the lightpaths would be in different colors.

Now a relic, there are a few of these vintage displays present in a handful of métro stations (this one is at Ecole Militaire in the 7th arrondissement) but they are no longer functional.  I guess they were hard to maintain, and, as such, fell into disrepair.

Still, I'm glad that they can be spotted from time to time, even if it they are merely decorative.