I swear, today was going to be my day to be all cultural. Mr. Muscato had plans of his own, so after lunch (which itself followed a vigorous morning of shopping at Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette, frustratingly the day before the big annual sales start) I headed off across the Tuileries and the Seine to the Musée d'Orsay.
Once there, however, I found enormous queues of exceedingly regrettable types touristiques. I decided I simply couldn't stand waiting in line for an hour more and was, therefore, forced, forced! to move to my Plan B.
Which was to visit the Musée de la Poupée, which turns out to be one of the hidden gems of a capital full of them. It's a miniscule private museum tucked into a tiny street near the Place Beaubourg - only half-a-dozen rooms or so, but all packed with every conceivable kind of 18th, 19th, and early 20th century doll (and a generous helping of teddy bears, doll furniture, and associated treasures). They are all displayed in enchanting and extremely creative dioramas - an Edwardian parlor, a Victorian classroom, a Trip to the Zoo, etc., and are just adorable.
I had been attracted by an advert for the museum's current temporary exhibition, "Rêve ta vie avec Barbie", a comprehensive look at Mattel's fair-haired girl's enviable career over the past half-century. If you're in Paris before the end of September, you really ought to stop by.
In one of those little happenstances that makes life interesting, this infinitely twee destination is just next to, of all things, the Jardin Anne Frank, a hidden oasis of calm and green in one of Paris's most congested neighborhoods, where if you like you can sit for a while and think sad thoughts. I did.
But then I went and found Mr. Muscato and, as usual, felt much better.