|Look! An ancient bear skull!|
Many of the artifacts were tools, bowls, etc - all the everyday things that somehow got left in the dirt and preserved for thousands of years. There were also several really awesome dioramas depicting Paleolithic and Neolithic life, as well as Roman life. We think the artists must have gotten bored with the Romans because we found a little guy in one wearing a modern day button-down green tourist shirt and khaki shorts! And they thought no one would ever notice.
|Diorama of either Paleolithic or Neolithic life during winter|
|I used to be able to tell you what period of art|
this came from based on the style of the hair and eyes...
but apparently I forgot everything from Art History.
|Fun fact: Berlioz, the composer, was born in Grenoble!|
|Robert Doisneau's camera|
|Original prints of Robert Doisneau|
|Nate displaying the lovely 1800-yr-old Roman wall|
After the museum we all went and got ice cream and then planned to head home. However, as Nate, Xavier and I walked to the tram stop we discovered that we wouldn't be taking a tram anytime soon - there was un manifestation, a protest, going on that was completely blocking the trams (the people were marching down the tram rails). This phenomenon is common enough to have its own name in French, descendre dans la rue, "to descend into the streets". It is highly effective in France because the streets are so narrow, if there are a few hundred or thousand (or more) people marching in the streets, it will completely block the traffic. It happens most frequently in Paris, but will take place in other cities as well.
Descendre dans la rue can happen for a multitude of reasons - a workers' strike, a political protest, a demonstration of really any kind. I've read so much about these demonstrations in my french courses, it was quite exciting to witness one in person. It took us a while to figure out what this one was about, but as we got closer we were able to read some of their banners, as well as make out what they were chanting: "Grenoble! Grenoble! Anti-fasciste!" Grenoble is a historically Socialist (left-wing) city; this manifestation was in protest to the murder of an 18-year-old college student in the streets of Paris the previous day - he had been beaten to death by a group of extreme right-wing fascist neo-Nazis due to his political beliefs (he was a Socialist). So on this Friday, the people of Grenoble wanted to make sure that Clément did not die in vain, that his brothers and sisters would speak out against the racists in hopes of preventing another terrible death like his.
It was truly an incredible event to witness. There probably between 500-800 people marching, holding up trams for at least 20 minutes as they marched to le Verdun Prefecture, the square where many of the municipal government buildings are. Once there, several people spoke on the topics of fighting racism, sexism, Fascism, and they held a moment of silence in honor of Clément's memory. It was a horribly unnecessary death, but it was truly amazing to see how the French people didn't just stand idly by and say "Oh, that's so horrible, how sad" and then go about their days - they came together and actively spoke out against hate and violence, in a very visible way. The French are a people of action, of standing up for what they believe in, which is a trait I have always admired about this people. They refuse to lie down and just let others walk all over them - their multiple revolutions and rewrites of the constitution are evidence enough. It was quite a sight to behold, and I feel very lucky to have been able to see this first hand.
|Holding his fist to show solidarity |
during the moment of silence.
|The main banners in front of the government building at Verdun Prefecture|