Visiting the Rodin Museum

No one will argue against the value of visiting iconic monuments and museums, but it’s also important to compliment these activities with lesser known sights and localized experiences.  Even if you’re not an off the beaten path kind of traveler, you usually don’t have to look far to uncover hidden treasures in any given city.  In Paris, one such sight that comes to mind is the Musée Rodin.  No doubt Paris is home to some of the grandest museums in the word, but I was delighted by the beauty and tranquility (and shortage of tourists!) at this 7th arrondissement gem.

Why visit?

  • The Thinker – while many people might not know Auguste Rodin (pronounced row-dan) by name, we certainly know one of his greatest works, Le Penseur as it’s called in French, the deeply pensive bronze figure that sits on a rock high atop a pedestal in the museum’s gardens, lost in his thoughts… 
  • See where Rodin lived and worked – the Hôtel Biron was Rodin’s home and studio from 1908 until it was sold to the French government in 1911 (during which time he would often display his works throughout the wildly unkempt gardens), and today the former mansion is the museum’s main exhibit space for his collection per Rodin’s direct request
  • The gardens are absolutely lovely – covering more than 7 acres, the museum’s outdoor space boasts beautifully manicured lawns and trees, flowers and fountains with sculptures scattered throughout, creating something of a magical scavenger hunt for visitors 
  • The Gates of Hell – see Rodin’s first execution of The Thinker (only smaller) at the centerpiece of the bronze doors, in which the figure was original named The Poet and meant to represent Dante in this interpretation of his epic work, The Divine Comedy
  • Less crowds mean more quality time with the art – depending on the day, you may feel as if you have the place to yourself (enter through the almost non-descript entrance off Rue de Varenne – no gigantic glass pyramids yelling ‘museum here!’)
  • Free admission with the Paris Museum Pass – the Rodin Museum is one of the many sights covered by this AMAZING pass, plus admission is free for all other visitors on the first Sunday of the month

“I give the State all my works in plaster, marble, bronze and stone, and my drawings, as well as the collection of antiquities that I had such pleasure in assembling for the education and training of artists and workers. And I ask the State to keep all these collections in the Hôtel Biron, which will be the Musée Rodin, reserving the right to reside there all my life.” – Auguste Rodin

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