Well, after being warned off yesterday, Versailles is not going to happen. We decided to try the Musee Rodin and, maybe Hotel Invalides afterwards. We hopped on the Metro, having to change, which annoyed Mirinda a bit, then came up in the sun drenched front of Hotel Invalides. The weather was ridiculously hot. We strolled along to the Rodin museum to find a long queue snaking around the corner. Mirinda was not best pleased. We sat at a handy café, ordered a coffee and watched the queue.
Like Papillion counting his seven waves, we discovered a pattern. The queue would grow to around the corner then gradually diminish then grow again. All we had to do was hit the back of the queue at the maximum waning point. We timed people as they queued from this point and it looked like a wait of around 10-15 minutes. Feeling brave, we risked it. Mirinda snapped and snarled at a poor Musee Rodin employee but otherwise, the wait was ok.
As we reached the front door, a small man was there to search bags (just) and to allow entry for the next group. We just scraped in. Impeccable timing! Not, however, for the couple in front of us. They had stood, resolutely in front of us all the way to and through the front door and when in sight of the final hurdle, the ticket counter, they left the queue, walked out the exit and disappeared into the Paris heat. Very odd. Still, it meant we were two people closer.
Just short of 20 minutes, we paid our cash, hired talking sticks and entered the garden. We laughed heartily at the very long queue for the Camille Claudel exhibition. She was his very young mistress and student. She went mad. The wait was an hour…at least. Her stuff looked good but not THAT good!
Well, Rodin, at least, was worth the queuing, I HAVE to say. Rodin was an immense man of genius. What he couldn’t do with the human body in any medium doesn’t exist. Though in saying it, I’m not sure he tried jelly. It’s also interesting to note that he didn’t actually do a lot of the sculpting himself. Apparently he made models and drawings and had one of his students do them.
We saw The Thinker, sitting high up on his pedestal, looking all the world like his copy in The Lives and Loves of Dobie Gillis. We stood in rapt awe at The Gates of Hell, a gigantic bronze door representation of Dante’s Inferno. We admired the smooth, fatal lines of The Kiss, a marble version of the fatal love of Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini. Rodin also created a rather erotic Pygmalion & Galatea, quite different to the one we saw in the Louvre.
Without the talking stick, the museum would have been pretty but not half as interesting. A valuable investment. We spent a good few hours in the house and gardens. We bought an excellent book on the contents and history of the Musee Rodin.
Leaving the museum, we decided it was too hot for any more tourist stuff so we headed back to the Place d’Italie and settled ourselves in a lovely brasserie where Mirinda had pineapple juice and spag bol while I had a BIG glass of Leffe and a delicious lamb stew. It was then back to the hotel for more resting. The heat today is the worst yet! Though the weather on BBC World News, claims tomorrow is going to be 23 and wet in Paris. It’s hard to believe.
For dinner we walked down the back streets and settled on a lovely little restaurant opposite a park. We sat on the pavement and had a lovely meal, while the ever present swallows swooped and dived, searching out their clifftop nests for the night. We slowly strolled back to the hotel.