On Friday, I finally made it to the Beaux Arts museum in order to see the Tours 1500: Capital of the Arts exhibition before it closed. It seemed a lot of people (mostly pensioners) had the same idea, since it was pretty full. It was quite interesting - Tours was the 'royal capital' of France at this time, but the exhibition stressed that the political and financial centre never really shifted from Paris. Instead, Tours became a capital of art and culture. The exhibition was made up mostly of sculpture and illuminated manuscripts from the period, with a few paintings. It was interesting to see the manuscripts right after the Belles Heures exhibition. The quality and complexity varied quite a lot, from some very fine works by Jean Poyer and Jean Bourdichon to others that were relatively much cruder.
It also helped to illuminate (if you'll excuse the pun) some of the history of Tours. I have spent many an idle moment scanning the horizon here and wondering where all the 'towers' of 'Tours' have gone. Turns out the old city was once surrounded by a wall, which did indeed feature quite a few towers. Even before the revolution and the world wars, Tours suffered quite a bit of destruction during the Wars of Religion, and the exhibition showed a few religious sculptures which had been partially destroyed during this period (e.g. faces effaced). Sigh, people suck.
On Saturday, it was fiesta time. Fiesta Latina, that is, a Brazilian restaurant where we headed to celebrate the birthday of Charlie, one of my (only, how sad!) French friends. Charlie's a total little firecracker, nothing like the stereotypical French girl, she is basically bouncing off the walls at any given moment, talking a mile a minute, very good for improving your French comprehension! The food wasn't amazing (although the fixed menu started out with a salad with duck hearts in it, which were actually quite nice!), basically just various bits of meat cooked on a rotisserie or whatever, but the atmosphere was really fun, lots of singing and dancing going on. I think French people must have to go to a Brazilian-themed restaurant in order to really kick back and go a bit crazy over dinner. It is a bit odd having someone's naked bum jiggling about next to you (the Brazilian dancer's, not the clients') while you're trying to eat though! At one point I was also trapped in a corner of the small dancefloor while shirtless men did capoeira a few inches away. Well, not the worst experience of my life, I must admit.
I left my camera with Charlie at one point while I was dancing, and came back to a memory card full of close-ups inside people's mouths and down people's pants/tops arrgh! Here are some non-disturbing snaps from the evening. Apparently, based on this evidence, I had the same look on my face all night long, only varying the angle and people I was standing next to...