Thursday, June 28, 2012

We interrupt this blog silence with an update... from France!

Apparently the Interwebs aren't terribly good in France - we've been here for four days and I FINALLY have access! We're here for a family wedding in the south of France, but spent a few days in Paris to see some of the sights. Both hubby and I have been to Paris before, so we skipped some of the "standard" tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tour and the Arc de Triomphe. However, it's been almost 20 years for us, so we decided to see some of the museums we didn't remember too well.

First stop: Le Musee d'Armee (the Military Museum)

In addition to holding an impressive armor collection, Napoleon's tomb is housed in the Musee. Napoleon was adored by the French, but hated by European powers - since he and his armies kept, you know, invading their countries! This tomb is a monument to all the great social and political works he did, from building bridges and public hospitals, to enacting laws based on Justinian's code. It was a very interesting stop!

 Then on to the armor exhibits! Hubby was very excited about this find. It's a suit of 14th century armor, which is VERY rare. I have a ton of pics of this including close-ups of the clasp mechanisms and other functional details, which I won't bore you with. :)

 15th century jousting saddle. This one was particularly interesting because the pommel saddle steel is asymmetrical. My best guess is that the slightly hooked steel on the right helped the rider if they leaned over to the left for a better hit. More research is needed!

 Late 16th/early 17th century saddle. Wouldn't you LOVE to have a modern saddle covered in velvet and gorgeous stitching like this one? I guess that's why I love fancy-schmancy saddle pads so much!

 Napoleonic-era saddle. You can see it starting to transform to more of a modern English saddle style, as it's missing the thigh rolls and the very high cantle.

 Ye gods, it's a spade bit with a port and rollers and little keys, not to mention the 12 inch shanks... I can't even imagine trying to stuff this into a horse's mouth, much less riding with it! 

 Oberon would look good in a suit like this, don't you think?

 Crinet (top, it protects the horse's neck), chamfron (center, face guard), and engraved metal rein covers.  While we have functional chamfrons, we don't have the crinet or rein covers. Perhaps a new armoring project for hubby?  

 Ring and quintain lances from the 1500s. I've never seen a lance with such a fancy guard!

Detail of the engraving on a grande guard shield, used for jousting. These shields were used in the 16th century, and bolted onto the armor. Gorgeous!

A frog-mouthed helm and jousting suit. This one was particularly interesting because it had a two-foot lance rest (the spiral sticking off the back) on it. I wonder if this made aiming the lance nearly impossible, since the lance would essentially be locked into place?

Napoleon's Arabian, Vizier, is stuffed and mounted, on display in the museum. I couldn't help but take photos of his front feet for all the hoof nerds out there! He needs a good trimmer to work on that long toe on the right front, don't you agree?

I have a bunch more pictures AND Internet access for the next few days, so I'll continue to post. In between drinking wine and eating brie cheese on fresh baguettes, of course! 


  1. I love seeing all the armor, it's fascinating! And it made me laugh to see the picture of the hooves, it is definitely something I would do too :) Interesting mismatched feet...

    1. It's really cool to see how the armor evolved, especially for jousting. What is also fun is to see how they solved problems that modern armorers are trying to figure out. I can't tell you how many times hubby has reproduced a latch or buckle he's seen on a museum piece and gone, "wow this works really well! No wonder they did it like this!"

      Glad you liked the hoof pics too :)

  2. Are those nail holes in the LF? Don't see any on the RF but also don't see any shoe!

    1. Andrea, he did not have shoes on, but I agree that those look like nail holes on the lf. There weren't any similar holes on any other feet though. Definitely a mystery!

  3. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed your captions.

    The feet do look mismatched. I agree that they probably had shoes. I wouldn't mind seeing those.

  4. How COOL! thank you for thinking of the Hoof Nerds :) Sounds like you guys are having a fabulous trip!

  5. Perhaps the "notch" in the jousting saddle was to rest the "stick' in? How fun... I LOVE educational vacations like the one you are on!