Daily Photos & Frugal Travel Tips

31 Oct

Square de Cluny, Paris

Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages

Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages Detail

Forest Of The Unicorn Sign

(Click On Photo To Enlarge)

The forest of the unicorn

In the Middle Ages the forest was much more present and closer to the population than it is now. It was an ambiguous universe where the forces of untamed nature reigned: a troubling world of monsters, fabulous animals, and wildmen and women leading a life of pleasure there, but also a protective world where those excluded from society could seek refuge. Under the tall trees planted in the 19th century (all species introduced well after the Middle Ages) grows the forest of the unicorn, a wooded area typical of the undergrowth of the medieval forest: hazel, elder, quince, holly, medlar, together with ground-covering plants and bulbs (narcissi, daffodils, bluebells). Its boundaries are marked by a woven fence of chestnut branches, typical of gardens belonging to owners of humble origins. Two circular glades, whose shape evokes the island on which the different scenes of the Lady and the Unicorn hanging are enacted, form enclosures intended for resting or playing. In the larger, the children’s glade, the animals depicted in the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries - typical of the medieval bestiary where local, exotic or fabulous animals (rabbits and foxes, monkeys and lions, and the legendary unicorn) all co-exist - gambol together, disguised as playthings mounted on bouncing springs. They probably slip out at night to join the Lady, for their footprints can be made out on the stoneware paving of the path.

Square de Cluny

Square de Cluny Fountain

The Square de Cluny,
situated close to the
Cluny Museum Of The Middle Ages,
is, yes, you guessed it,
a medieval styled garden.
(The fountain at the bottom
is nearby but not actually in the Square).

Free to wander around.

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