The Rodin Museum is tucked away behind Les Invalides in the 7th Arrondissement, barely twenty minutes' walk from the crowds at the Eiffel Tower, and is housed in the elegant 18th-century townhouse known as Hôtel Biron.
In exchange for his continuing tenancy of the Hôtel Biron when the government purchased it in 1911, Rodin agreed to donate many of his sculptures, drawings, and artifacts for the building to serve as a museum. The light-colored, two-story hôtel looks over seven acres of picturesque lawns, rose gardens, and rows of expertly trimmed trees sprinkled with Rodin sculptures.
Things to do at Rodin Museum:
- Sneak peek into his private collection: The large-scale sculptures in the garden offer a striking contrast to the smooth marble busts inside the house, and the recently renovated chapel serves as an exhibition space. The paintings from his private collection are beautifully displayed in the recently renovated interior space thanks to its enormous bay windows that extend from floor to ceiling and flood the rooms with light. Farrow & Ball paints were used to repaint the once stark white walls in a relaxing color scheme.
- Travel back in time: The 18 rooms of the newly renovated Hôtel Biron display Rodin's life chronologically. Starting on the ground level, turn left to enter the rooms arranged in sequence of Rodin's life: His Beginnings and His Early Career. Then, as you move from rooms three through eight, you encounter Rodin at the Hôtel Biron, The Gates of Hell, Public Monuments, 1889 Fame, and Emergence of a Sculptor. The Hôtel Biron's Rodin room depicts the area precisely as it was when he resided there, down to the original furnishings.
- The highlights from the Permanent Collection are true keepsakes: The permanent collection at the museum has more than 6,000 sculptures made of bronze, marble, plaster, wax, and other materials (many of which are kept at the museum's secondary site at Meudon outside of Paris). Some of Rodin's most beloved sculptures, including The Kiss, The Thinker, Fugit Amor, Thought, and a group of sculptures depicting renowned French author Honoré de Balzac, are housed in the sculpture collection at the Hotel Biron location. Along with a vast archive, the Hotel Biron in Paris collection also includes sketches, paintings, and pictures that Rodin utilized as models for his early works.
- Don't miss the chance to attend the temporary Exhibitions: The Musee Rodin frequently holds temporary exhibitions that focus on different facets of the artist's output, his associations, and influences with other creators, as well as other topics.
- The aesthetics of the Sculpture Garden at the Museum invite and inspire: Seven acres of grass, gardens, and meticulously-shaded tree rows may be seen outside. There are numerous colossal bronze sculptures by Rodin and innumerable busts and statues made of marble that date back to Roman antiquity. In addition, the garden features a vast range of plants and flowers, linden tree-lined promenades, a cafe, and a restaurant.
- Rest and rejoice: While many first-timers to the museum would rush to 'The Thinker' with photos at the ready, it's important to take your time and explore the entire area. The property's natural beauty offers several opportunities to pause and take it in, and it also serves as background information for the works of the great artist.