Much to my great surprise, Musée de la Chevalerie is not a museum dedicated to the life and times of the French singer and actor, Maurice Chevalier, who died in 1972.
That’s a lie or not so much a lie as a failed attempt at a joke. I knew Musée de la Chevalerie had nothing to do with Maurice Chevalier. Although, in truth, because I knew that cheval is the French word for horse, I figured the museum had something to do with horsemen. Or maybe, if it was more modern and gender neutral, I figured it had to do with equestrians.
That was wrong too.
According to Google Translate, “Musée de la Chevalerie” is French for Museum of Chivalry. Of course, that would have given me the wrong impression too. I thought chivalry meant selflessly throwing a cape over puddles for damsels to walk across dry-shod or possibly carrying them across said puddles. (Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about such things. I never wear capes. And I’m a weakling so damsels should appreciate me not carrying them because I’d likely drop them.)
Chivalry does mean that sort of thing, but, according to the dictionary Apple supplies with MacOS, it also, more broadly, means “the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code.” Ah. Now we’re on to something.
Exhibits at Musée de la Chevalerie
The museum consisted of just a few small rooms on two floors. Those rooms housed weapons, armour, furniture and a couple of tapestries allegedly dating from the 5th to the 15th century. There were also mannequins that were appropriately dressed and frozen in various poses such as writing with a quill pen. The mannequins likely dated from much later than the 15th century, but supposedly represented folk from then.
In truth, not all of the mannequins were motionless. One figure repeatedly bowed like an cheap robotic Christmas Santa, except that it wore the costume of a supposedly normal medieval person rather than a Santa and bowed up and down rather than side to side.
The exhibits were accompanied by descriptive text in both English and French. Despite intending to bring to mind the times of noble knights, the text was printed in a very modern font and appeared to owe its existence to a laser or inkjet printer. To make up for that modernity, the notes were displayed on the most fake of fake parchment—thick-stock paper with chintzy colouring to make it look vaguely parchment-like.
So was the Musée de la Chevalerie worth the price of admission? Of course,I can provide only a subjective evaluation. Your opinion may differ. But to my mind, it was not worth the six euros I paid to enter.
There is one exception to my assessment of value for money. The six euros would very much worth it if you were standing in front of the place just as the heavens were about to open up and send forth a deluge of near-biblical intensity. Such was the case when I was there.
Fortunately, I entered the museum when the rain was only moderately heavy. The brief torrential downpour did not commence until I was already inside the Musée de la Chevalerie. Considering that the only rain protection I had was a small, flimsy travel umbrella, the six euros was money well spent.