Musée Rodin opened in 1919 to showcase the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum is partly housed in a hotel he used as a workshop, and in the surrounding grounds. A little more interactive than your standard museum, there are pieces on show in the old hotel, around the grounds and in a newer built building.
Not familiar with Rodin and his work before a visit to this museum, I didn’t actually realise that the museum was named after a person. However, as I made my way through the grounds there were some sculptures I recognised, and some of those inside the new and old buildings were also familiar.
We had just left Musée D’Orsay when we made our way to Musée Rodin. It’s walking distance away, and you can get a twin ticket making it cheaper to do both in the same day. However, because we’re both under 26, we were able to take advantage of being EU citizens and had free entry to both museums. The walk between the 2 museums is nice, and you pass through non-touristy areas so don’t have to put up with people stopping to take photos every 2 minutes.
We arrived about an hour and a half before closing time, and had to join a very small queue outside. After a few minutes, we made our way in and were greeted by a very stylish, modern building. From there you have the option to make your way outside into the grounds, or explore the sculptures held in the newer building.
We chose to go outside and walk through the gardens as it was a pleasantly warm and sunny day. The first sculpture we came to was ‘The Thinking Man’. As we stopped to take a moment to take a good look, I heard some whispering behind me. Instinctively I turned around to see why someone was so close to me, and all I saw was a bush. Convinced I’d been hearing things, I turned back, only to hear it again. Then squawking. Yup. And soft hooting. I was totally confused, and took about 5 minutes to work out where the odd noises were coming from. If you ever visit, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there are speakers in the bushes and shrubbery.
Anyway, we took a couple of pictures posing with the statue, and moved on. We followed the path to the back of the old hotel, and saw a lovely walkway toward a pond. People were relaxing on the grass, meandering among the bushes. There are smaller ponds (tiny, more the size of a bath) behind a row of bushes on either side of the pathway. And at the far end, beyond the large pond are hedge archways. We made our way through them, stopped for some pictures (such tourists!) and made our way back toward the old hotel, past some more sculptures.
Just a quick word on The Gates Of Hell – many of Rodin’s pieces feature on this huge sculpture. It’s a good idea to head anti-clockwise around the gardens so that you arrive here last, as you’ll recognise many of the sculptures in the garden. Can you spot The Thinker in the middle, above the doors?
Inside the old hotel, there’s a no photo policy. However, everyone was taking pictures and the staff said nothing, so I thought it maybe wasn’t enforced (as it was in Musee D’Orsay). Regardless, this was my favourite.
After we’d made our way around the old hotel part of the museum, we headed into the newer building that we’d first entered. There is a VERY strict no photo policy here, and we heard several people get told off for having their cameras out ready to take some snaps. This part of the museum is quite cool, because you get to see the plaster models Rodin made, and the actual models that would have probably been created by someone else, using the plaster model as reference.
Musée Rodin isn’t your typical, boring, stand for ages looking at paintings kind of museum. It’s nice to be able to take a stroll through the gardens and spot pieces of art as you go. I don’t know that we’d have enjoyed it as much if the weather hadn’t been nice, but we both really enjoyed it here.
- It’s definitely worth visiting when the weather is nice so you don’t have to queue in the rain and can make the most of the sculptures in the garden.
- Varenne metro station is the closest, but Saint-Francois-Xavier is also nearby, and you’ll pass by Napoleon’s tomb on the way there.
- Get a map as you go in – they’re free, and although not essential, it’s nice to know where you’re heading and what you’re looking at.