Published on January 15th, 2017 | by Ann Rickard0
A Garden Romance
On our many Paris visits, we’d never explored Rodin’s Gardens. There was always so much else to fit in. Not this time. The Thinker and The Kiss, Rodin’s most famous works, called to us. We’d passed the gardens often on the tour bus and could see they were enchanting.
So it was that we walked from our hotel in the Latin Quarter – walking is mandatory in Paris – and arrived at the Musee Rodin in the 7 th arrondissement, all sweaty and flustered. The tranquil green gardens surrounding the handsome museum building were a joyful relief.
“Where is The Thinker?” was the first thing we said as we took headphones and strolled from one elegant room to another inside the museum, stopping to peer at small sculptures behind glass cases and stand before enormous sculptures overshadowing small rooms.
We were surprised by the large number of Auguste Rodin’s works. He was prolific. And he was a great collector as well as one of the most remarkable sculptors of his time. The museum held works by Van Gogh and Monet from Rodin’s personal collection.
Once we had examined The Kiss from every possible angle, and taken sneaky selfies before an attendant could tell us off, we headed outside to the green gardens with their shady trees and trimmed hedges. It was serene and exciting to be in these celebrated gardens, to stroll quietly among so much formal Parisian garden splendour. But there was no sign of The Thinker among the romantic statues standing so lyrically between the trees.
“The Thinker is big, huge, enormous, how come we haven’t seen it yet?” we muttered as we wandered along avenues of sculptures, peering, puzzled.
We sat by a lake for half an hour, delighted to be sharing it with just a few others.
Refreshed, we backtracked and studied our museum map, but were still unable to see the famous statue. We finally made our way back to the building to ask the receptionist if it was just us, or did most guests miss this large and famous sculpture?
Well, no wonder we missed it. Even though The Thinker was right by the entrance, he was covered in scaffolding. The Thinker was undergoing a clean-up.
This is not the first time this has happened to us as we have approached a famous icon.
When David received his mega clean for his 500 th anniversary at the Gallerie Accademia, we were there. When the Trevi Fountain underwent its two million euro refurb, we were there. We have peered through scaffolding before to glimpse a famous artwork and we could do it again.
So we gave The Thinker our respect and then took sneaky selfies with him, which we won’t show you here as all you can see is us and a lot of scaffolding. Then we went back into the hot Parisian streets for lunch.
Despite the Paris terrorist horrors of last November, there was no sign of jitters in July, 2016.
The tour buses were packed, the queues outside the Eiffel Tower long, the cafes, bars and bistros crowded, the footpaths crammed with tourists eating roast chicken and pomme frites and drinking wine.
We fought for a small table on a footpath outside one of the countless bistros, squeezed in with others so close our elbows knocked each time we raised a fork. We sat right on the footpath’s edge. Cars, motorbikes and trucks hurtled past, and it seemed that with all the other people in Paris that day, we gave no thought to anyone who might be out to harm us.
We drank to that, and The Thinker and his clean-up.
More information on Musee Rodin