We enjoyed a glass of red wine and dessert at the café on the grounds of Le Musée Rodin. The trees, thinned from winter, gave the gardens a gothic air, as if to suggest the possibility of specters and spooks emerging from its graveled paths. That may have been the wine talking, though.
We worked our way toward Rodin’s La Porte de l'Enfer, an ominous piece in an ebony bronze and replete with allegory. Le Penseur, who sits above the Inferno, gives a much different impression than his supersized doppelgänger pensively seated amongst the Yews in the labyrinthine garden: the one atop the portal to hell would seem to have much graver considerations in mind.
L'Hôtel Biron, where Auguste Rodin rented a few rooms, houses Rodin’s more fashionable compositions, the ivory pieces which exude more of a sensuality and gaiety than of metaphysical concerns. In the bright, chandeliered rooms Le Baiser glows, Fugit Amor excites, La Cathédrale engages. L'Hôtel Biron is a beautiful space in itself with its mix of parquet and tiled floors and its wall-length arched windows.
Le Musée Rodin is an exceptional place to get lost for a few hours and enjoy the magical world of Auguste Rodin.
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La Main de Dieu--"The Hand of God," Musée Rodin, Paris
One of the great smaller museums in Paris is the Musée Rodin. Housed in the grand 18th century private residence that Auguste Rodin used as his studio from 1908 until his death, the museum is dedicated to his sculpture. The setting is intimate and the marbles seem to breathe...The gardens display statuary as well.
Among my favorites is "La Main de Dieu," ("The Hand of God"). Emerging out of the chunk of unfinished marble are the nascent figures of Adam and Eve, intertwined. The great right hand of the Creator emerges from rough rock as well; Rodin used his own hand as the model for this sculpture.
To get here by Métro, get off at "Varenne" on Line 13; the station itself displays a few works of Rodin.
The Rodin Museum is a must when in Paris. The eloquence of Rodin's sculptures typically steal the show but on this day it was the teacher encouraging the young students how to pose like The Thinker that was my favorite sight! What a way to bring art to life in the midst of the beautiful gardens of the museum. The lawn chairs at the back of the garden are the perfect place to take a quick break in the sunshine (if you are lucky) and there is a cafe right on the grounds to grab a coffee. After enjoying the gardens make sure and cross the street to visit Napoleon's Tomb. Even if you are skipping the rest of the Hotel des Invalides (www.invalides.org), Napoleon's Tomb is both impressive AND air conditioned which can be a welcome reprieve on a hot day.
August Rodin created these magnificent statues for the world to enjoy so, please, take a moment while in Paris, grab some lunch from the café across the street, and head into the breathtaking gardens of Rodin museum to enjoy a wonderful afternoon inside the "gates of hell". If you have time head west across the street and check out Napoleon's tomb. Make a day of it!
This is my favorite museum in Paris and it has everything to do with the gardens. The majority of the works by France's premiere 19th century sculptor Auguste Rodin, are actually outside. Fuel up at their delicious cafe, take a nap in the lawn chairs beneath the plane trees and enjoy a museum experience in Paris that doesn't stress you out.
You'll find this gem of a museum in the 7th arrondisment on Rue de Varenne, tucked right next to Les Invalides. It's closed on Mondays, but open all other days of the week from 10 am to 5:45 PM (last ticket sold at 5PM). If you want access to the buildings as well as the gardens, then your admission price will be 9 Euros per person. If you're looking to only experience the beautiful gardens, it's only 1 Euro to get in. It's the best deal in all of Europe and where I went every Sunday afternoon for years and years, to read the paper, journal, snooze and order my afternoon espresso.
The father of modern sculpture left his property to the state on the condition that his home be turned into a museum dedicated to his works. The museum contains most of Auguste Rodin’s significant creations—his most famous sculpture, The Thinker, is in the garden. Rodin was also a collector, buying and trading with artist friends. Thus Musée Rodin also houses works by Camille Claudel, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. The mansion is a beauty that dates to 1727.