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Revamped Rodin museum reopens in Paris

A jewel of the Paris art landscape is ready to return. After getting a three-year long makeover the Rodin museum in Paris is finally set to reopen this week.

Revamped Rodin museum reopens in Paris
Photo: AFP

The French prime minister on Monday inaugurated the revamped Rodin Museum in Paris, which is set to open to the public later
this week following three years of renovation work.

The museum, dedicated to the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, famed for his statue “The Thinker”, is one of the country's most popular museums with around 700,000 visitors a year.


(Prime Minister Manuel Valls tours the revamped Rodin Museum. Photo: AFP)

French premier Manuel Valls recalled visiting the museum with his artist father and hailed the sculptor's determination to present “his vision, how things really are” in the face of convention.

The historic Hotel Biron, which has housed the museum since 1919, underwent ba complete overhaul over the last three years, for the first time since Rodin himself used it as his Paris studio until his death in 1917.

The museum said the new layout will highlight Rodin's creative development and allow some works to be brought out of storage and displayed for the first time.

It reopens to the public on Thursday.


(Photo: AFP)

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FOOD & DRINK

Let them eat bread: the origins of the French baguette

More than six billion baguettes are baked each year in France and UNESCO has now inscribed the tradition in its “intangible cultural heritage” list.

Let them eat bread: the origins of the French baguette

The French baguette – one of the country’s most abiding images – was given world heritage status by UNESCO on Wednesday, the organisation announced.

READ ALSO French baguette gets UNESCO world heritage status

Here are some of the more popular theories:

Napoleon’s Bread of War
The oldest tale has the baguette being kneaded by bakers in Napoleon’s army. Less bulky than a traditional loaf, the long slim shape of the baguette made it faster to bake in brick ovens hastily erected on the battlefield.

France’s most famous man of war was preoccupied with getting his men their daily bread.

During his Russian campaign in 1812, he toured the ovens daily to sample the day’s offering and ensure the crusty batons were being distributed regularly, according to historian Philippe de Segur.

He also had portable bread mills sent to occupied Moscow, but the setbacks suffered by the Grande Armee in one of the deadliest military campaigns in history ended his bid to export the doughy staple.

Viennese connection
Another theory has the baguette starting out in a Viennese bakery in central Paris in the late 1830s.

Artillery officer and entrepreneur August Zang brought Austria’s culinary savoir-faire to Paris in the form of the oval-shaped bread that were standard in his country at the time.

According to the Compagnonnage des boulangers et des patissiers, the French bakers’ network, Zang decided to make the loaves longer to make them easier for the city’s breadwomen to pluck from the big carts they pushed through the city’s streets.

Breaking bread
Another theory has the baguette being born at the same time as the metro for the 1900 Paris Exposition.

People from across France came to work on the underground and fights would often break out on site between labourers armed with knives, which they used to slice big round loaves of bread for lunch.

According to the herodote.net history site, to avoid bloodshed, one engineer had the idea of ordering longer loaves that could be broken by hand.

Early rising
In 1919, a new law aimed to improve the lives of bakers by banning them from working from 10 pm to 4 am.

The reform gave them less time to prepare the traditional sourdough loaf for the morning, marked the widespread transition to what was called at the
time the yeast-based “flute”, which rose faster and was out of the oven in under half an hour.

Standardised at 80 centimeters (30 inches) and 250 grams (eight ounces) with a fixed price until 1986, the baguette was initially the mainstay of wealthy metropolitans, but after World War II became the emblem of all French people.

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