The best place in Paris to go for sheer visual pleasure? Since 2015, I’d probably say the Musée Rodin. Situated in historic Hôtel Biron, it’s always been a beautiful spot.
Thanks to major pruning of the exhibits, plus special colours by Farrow & Ball, it’s now quite magical. Of course there’s the omnipresent Paris problem: people and their selfies. In nice weather or high season, too, the crowds are oppressive.
But… during the cold days of a rainy January?
Then it’s perfect, especially upstairs. Here you can linger over Rodin’s antiquities, gawk at his mini-models and admire his naked Balzac. (On show too is a cast of the cover-up robe he had to make).
It’s a wonderful mise-en-scène, where the hours can just drift by.
• Musée Rodin Paris (the artist’s formal home in Meudon is a separate museum) is open Tuesdays through Sundays. For Camille Claudel fans, there’s also a room of her work. But, be warned: its items are often out on loan.
He was an artist who welded, soldered, crushed. When it came a challenge, he couldn’t resist any industrial material. He also created that statuette (the “César”) that is the French equivalent of an Oscar.
But giant polyurethane moulds and giant sculpted thumbs sounded awfully dated. I was wrong – the Pompidou Centre‘s retrospective of César is really fascinating. Partly because it takes up a whole floor with incredible view over Paris.
But also because this sets visitors free to wander around an entire career, one composed of absolutely giant pieces. Yes, it’s period Pop. But, wow, what textures!
• César runs until 26 March 2018 at the Centre Georges Pompidou