Updated: Feb 23
Paris is a travelers dream with its rich history, architectural wonders, sumptuous cuisine and iconic museums. The Rodin Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Paris has been on my Paris Bucket List for a long time. We spent several hours there on our most recent visit to Paris and it exceeded my expectations. Not only do you get to see his most famous pieces up close, but in multiple sizes. You also get to see his personal art collection including pieces by Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne.
Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to Paris
Save on entry fees: If you plan on visiting multiple museums, it is more economical to purchase a Paris Museum Pass to save money, you can buy this pass for 2, 4, or 6 days.
Top-rated Paris tours and experiences:
☆Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise (my favorite Paris experience)
☆Paris: Walking Food Tour in Saint Germain des Prés (great for foodies)
☆Paris: Musée d'Orsay Guided Tour with Ticket (perfect for art lovers)
☆Louvre Museum Reserved Access Tour (essential to avoid lines)
Top places to stay in Paris: George V ( 5 Star Luxury) ** Paris, Ile-De--France (Budget Friendly Residential Apartment) ** Hôtel du Lion d'Or Louvre (Budget Friendly, Central Location) **Hôtel de la Bourdonnais (Mid Priced, near Eiffel Tower)
My favorite Guidebook for Paris: DK Press Paris
Interested in other Modern Art Museums in Paris? Check out this article from See Great Art: Modern Art Museums in Paris
How Many Rodin Museums Are There?
There are two museums in Paris, France that are dedicated to the works of Rodin and one in Philadelphia, USA. The museum in Philadelphia has 182 pieces, including the first bronze cast of "The Gates of Hell." A sculpture based on Dante's Inferno.
There are two museums in the Paris Metropolitan Area. The Rodin Museum and Sculpture Garden at 77 rue de Varenne in central Paris. This museum is housed in Hotel Biron, an 18th century Château where Rodin lived and worked in the later stages of his life. Hotel Biron is organized chronologically, as you walk through you will see the progression of his work. This location also has a vast and verdant sculpture garden, filled with large bronze casts of some of his famous pieces.
The second location is Villa des Brillants in Meudon, at 19 Ave. Auguste Rodin. It is about 30 minutes outside of Paris. The admission to this facility is free. It is closed during the winter. This was the location of Rodin's workshops, where he employed about 50 people. This location holds the original plaster cast of "The Gates of Hell."
Plan Your Visit
How Much Time to Allocate for the Rodin Museum and Gardens?
Plan to spend at least two hours exploring, the indoor and outdoor features of this museum. It is located near the Eiffel Tower and the Les Invalides, the military museum complex that was built as Veterans Hospital and under the gilded dome church within the complex is the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The museum is easy to add the Rodin Museum and Gardens to any Paris Itinerary.
Hours and Ticket Prices
The Rodin Museum and Gardens is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6.30 pm. Last entry is at 5.45 pm. The hours for the Gardens fluctuates based on the season, closing earlier in the winter due to darkness. The entrance fee is 13 euros for the Paris Museum and the Meudon Museum is free. For an extra 1 euro, you can get skip the line tickets, this is especially helpful if you are visiting during the busy summer months. If you are planning on visiting multiple museums, you can save money with the Paris Museum Pass good for 2, 4, or 6 days.
History of the Museum
The Paris location of the Rodin Museum and Gardens is located in a stunning rococo Mansion and the surrounding grounds. This property was donated by Rodin to the French State upon his death, with specific instructions that it be used as a museum for his works. The Château was built in 1732. It had been abandoned for several years before Rodin purchased it in 1908. He rented the lower floor until 1911 when he took over the entire building setting the foundation for the museum which opened August 4,1918 after his death.
Auguste Rodin was born November 12, 1840 and died November 17,1917. He is generally considered the founder of modern sculpture . Rodin possessed a unique ability to create complex, turbulent, and deeply emotional figures from clay which formed the casts for his sculptures.
Many of Rodin's most notable sculptures were criticized because they clashed the opinion of the time that sculptures should be decorative and represent their subject in the best possible light. He modeled the humans naturally with intense physicality, not in stylized perfection which was the norm of the time. While sensitive to the criticism, Rodin refused to change his style. By 1900, he was a world-renowned artist. Wealthy private clients sought Rodin's work after his World's Fair exhibit.
In 1864, Rodin started a life long relationship with a young seamstress named Rose Beuret. The couple had a son named Auguste-Eugène Beuret While he married Beuret in the last year of his life, other muses flowed in and out of his younger years. Most notably, his student, Camille Claudel who became his associate, lover, and creative rival. You will find one room in the Rodin Museum Paris dedicated to her work. Today, Rodin remains one of most widely known sculptors outside of the art community.
The Gates of Hell
Rodin was awarded a commission to create two massive bronze doors for Paris' planned Museum of Decorative Arts in 1880. While the museum was never built, Rodin worked the rest of his life on the monumental sculpture based on Dantes' Inferno. The Gates of Hell is comprised of 186 figures and stands 6 meters high. Many of Rodin's best-known sculptures started as designs from this piece, such as The Thinker and The Kiss.
The Thinker is one of Rodin's most famous sculptures. The original piece was a 27.5 inch bronze piece designed for the Gates of Hell. The Thinker is generally thought to be Dante, gazing down at Hell. You find him in the upper center of the piece just above the door. The Thinker epitomizes Rodin's style of physicality and the emotional tension in human sculptures.
The Kiss is a 1882 marble sculpture of embracing nudes originally as part of The Gates of Hell. The couple was later removed from The Gates of Hell and replaced with another pair of lovers located on the smaller right-hand column. The Kiss depicts the13th-century Italian noblewoman immortalized in Dante's Inferno. She falls in love with her husband's younger brother. The couple are discovered and killed by the noblewoman's husband. The lovers' lips do not actually touch in the sculpture, suggesting that they were interrupted and killed without completing their passionate kiss.
The Burghers of Calais
During the Hundred Years' War, the army of King Edward III of England surrounded Calais, and ordered that the entire town's population be killed. He agreed to spare the city residents if six prominent citizens would come forward to be executed. King Edward's queen, Philippa begged him to spare their lives. The sculpture depicts the men as they are leaving for the king's camp, carrying keys to the town's gates and citadel.
The town of Calais had considered a historical monument for decades when Rodin learned of the project. He pursued the commission and soon the memorial was approved, with Rodin as the artist. It commemorates those six townspeople who offered their lives to save their fellow citizens. It is a bronze sculpture with six figures, each about 6 feet tall. The six men, each portrayed individually, are contemplating their potential death.
The Rodin Museum and Gardens in Paris gives visitors insight into the life of the "father of modern sculpture" and the expressive power of his work. You wander through the home where he lived and worked seeing the drawings and small pieces he created as well as art that he collected. The vast and beautiful gardens are dotted with his larger iconic sculptures. Spending several hours exploring the museum and gardens gives you incredible insight into the artist and his creations.
Detailed posts on day trips from Paris and what to eat in Paris will be coming out in the next few weeks. For notifications on these posts and access to my dining guides and packing lists sign up for my resource page with the link below.
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