French Friday #29: Il court, il court le furet

Today has not gone as planned. If King Midas had the golden touch, then today I had the touch of decay and demise. There weren’t any major catastrophes, more just a series of disappointments and frustrations that ultimately resulted in nothing productive to show for my day. And it would have been so good! Blah. I guess we gotta let those days just roll off our backs. I briefly debated just flaking out on French Friday, but that would have been like three weeks in a row (although I think the first two that I missed had more valid excuses). So I will not flake out on you. I had a good post, but I can’t find the pictures I needed for it, so it’s being shelved for another time. Which is a bummer, because I liked that one. But I shall forge ahead and give you something French while it is still Friday. Good thing I’m on Pacific time ’cause I’ve still got another three hours.

I’ll probably never have another chance to use these photos because they don’t fit any particular theme. You’ll see in a minute. First, you should know that they were taken in the Museum Carnavalet. It has nothing to do with the carnival, but everything to do with the history of Paris. It is housed in an old mansion in the Marais district. There are old store shingles (signs, not roofing tiles) from the 1600s-1800s, maps of the city in its various stages, paintings of the city from different eras, rooms reconstructed from other mansions, and a variety of objets-d’art and other things that don’t fit neatly into any category. Like the pictures you’re about to see.

But first, a decoy picture so that my whole post isn’t spoiled when it goes up on Facebook with a little telltale thumbnail.

Hôtel Carnavalet

Here is the interior courtyard of the Hôtel Carnavalet. It is not a hotel. “Hôtel” means mansion. It’s difficult to get a photo from the true outside of the building because the streets are so narrow, but here you get to see the lovely garden with the extremely manicured miniature hedges. Inside this stunning building are all of the treasures I’ve already mentioned, and then, there’s this…

Everyone needs a taxidermied ferret diorama.

As you would naturally assume, such a jewel is lovingly housed in a glass case. Can’t have your ferrets getting dusty. At least, we think they’re ferrets. The faces don’t look quite right, but they were about the right size overall. I shudder to think what else they might be. From left to right, we have the Society Lady Ferret dressed in her finest velvet robe with a spectacular hat; the Tinker Ferret reaching for his tiny little mallet to… who knows? Maybe the table leg is wobbly and needs fixing. Third, is the Blacksmith Ferret, fashioning a horseshoe with his bare hands (paws?), which may explain the gruesome expression on his face. And lastly is the Wizard/Dunce Ferret. It’s hard to be sure. And is that a baseball bat at his feet? I really don’t understand this. I also have no explanation for the glass tubes placed throughout the display or the questionable spots on the floor. There was no sign on this work of nightmares art to give any hint as to its origins, purpose, or what the heck it has to do with the history of Paris.

And just in case you need a different angle to enjoy these cuddly little guys:

Ils ne courent plus, ces furets

There is an old French children’s song called “Il court il court le furet” — The ferret runs. This is usually one of the very first songs high school French students learn. It’s catchy, it’s easy, and it comes with a little game.

Il court, il court, le furet
Le furet des bois, mesdames
Il court, il court, le furet
Le furet des bois jolis
Il est passé par ici
Il repassera par là
Qui l’a?

He runs, he runs, the ferret
The ferret of the woods, my ladies
He runs, he runs, the ferret
The ferret of the lovely woods
He went this way
He’ll come back that way
Who has him?

I would gladly sing this to you all, but alas, I have not the means. I do, however, have youtube links. For your listening pleasure:

A weirdly creepy version befitting our wee friends up above. (With lousy picture quality, also befitting our dodgy photos)

A partitioned choral version.

A more traditional version with “animation.”

You’re welcome.

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