Monday, 18 August 2014

Celebrities who wax

For a bit of fun while in Paris, you can visit the Musee Grevin. There are more than 300 life-like wax images of celebrities of yesterday and today. I met a few personages I've always wanted to meet; some where more life-like than others. Some of them were distinctly unconvincing and, well, waxy.

You are not allowed to touch them. I discovered this after I dared to get close and personal with Monsieur Hollande, President of France. President Obama didn't come across as natural and Nicolas Sarkozy looked constipated.

What can one say about the appearance of famed French singer Johnny Halliday. He looks so ghastly in the flesh these days, his wax image (while extremely fake-looking) looks a hundred times healthier than the real thing.

And Mr Nespresso - George Clooney? Judge for yourself. I found him rather cheesy.

The display of waxworks is split into different sections in different rooms. There's the Brasserie Parisienne where you might meet Ernest Hemingway, or Jean Reno or Pablo Picasso enjoying happy hour. Shades of Midnight in Paris?

Snapshots of the 20th Century focuses on 10 major events such as theFirst step on the moon, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bleriot's channel crossing to name a few.

History of France is an interesting section. It focuses on the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, the Napoleonic era, and to the 19th century, so you'll see Joan of Arc burning, Louis XIV and his court at Versailles, the assassination of Henri IV, Leonardo da Vinci.

The Grevin Collection contains masterpieces that created the reputation of the museum: Michael Jackson (unconvincing), Elvis Presley (Hmmm) Charles de Gaulle.

Also to be found are sports stars, comedians (no, not Robin Williams), French TV documentary presenters such as Stéphane Bern (fairly life-like?) who specialises in nobility and royalty, action heros such as Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis, pop and rock stars of course such as Lady Gaga and Jimi Hendrix, actors such as the inevitable Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, characters from literature such as Esmeralda and Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Saint Exupery's Le Petit Prince. I was disappointed not to see the Phantom of the Opera, this being Paris and all.

Cartoon and animated characters? Sure thing. Look for Asterix and Scrat. You'll remember that Scrat was an acorn-obsessed sabre-toothed squirrel that lived during the ice ages, attempting to store his precious acorn, and having a tough time of it. You'll find the emphasis on French celebrities a bit difficult as most of them are too obscure for visitors from other countries.

Journalist Arthur Myer (1844-1917) came up with the idea of creating life-size models of people who made the news headlines. It was an instant success. Today when you go into the first room (Palais des Mirages) it's almost blackout while they run some special effects. I couldn't see the point or relevance of this presentation but what the heck. It was originally created for the 1900 Universal Exhibition and moved to the Grevin Wax Museum in 1906.

I'd recommend a visit here to while away an hour and a half having fun with someone else (not so easy on your own). The whole point is to take photos.

If there may be a lengthy queue consider booking tickets on line via Viator, to beat the queue. We needn't have bothered on the day we arrived. Wheelchair accessible for the most part.


Anonymous said...

Fun! And great photos! I've never been really tempted by the wax museum, but after reading your post, now I am!


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