At the Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin

The Musée Rodin might be my favorite museum in Paris. That’s a big statement, I know, and I’m probably not prepared to defend that assertion even against myself, with all of the other incredible museums to pick from. But for sentimental reasons —we got engaged at the Rodin last year, it was one of my dad’s favorites, we have the sister museum in Philadelphia, etc.– and taking into consideration the incredible sculpture garden and the fact that Rodin actually lived there, it’s a pretty solid contender. Admission for just the gardens is €2, and there are countless sculptures dotting the wide lawn and leafy, shaded sides, as well as a café and multiple benches and deck chairs for lounging. I went several times after breakfast around the corner just to see the gardens, and to relax and read in the back, past the arched hedges and tucked away from the rest of the world (it felt). On my last visit, there was a couple napping on two wooden chaise lounges, holding hands; a woman doing yoga in a sunny patch of grass; two little kids playing in a sandbox; all within feet of bronze studies for “The Burghers of Calais.” It feels magical, especially because you can see the Eiffel Tower from “The Three Shades.”

Of course, for €9 you can visit the temporary exhibition as well as the rest of the house and the art inside, and the gardens are included. I was pleasently surprised by the Mapplethorpe exhibit currently on view; it was one of the most well curated and cohesive exhibits I’ve seen. The juxtaposition of Mapplethorpe’s black and white photography, all of nude male and female figures, with the white marble and dark bronze of Rodin’s sculptures dotted throughout the exhibit was so, so striking and incredibly successful. In parts it left me speechless, it was that powerful, and I am still kicking myself for not buying the exhibition guidebook. Because, as my father always said, “Every good cultural experience must end in a retail experience.”


If you’re in Paris before September 21st, I cannot recommend it enough. Anytime you’re in the city though, this is one museum I would urge you to see. It’s never nearly as crowded as the Louve or the Musée d’Orsay, and its size makes it a manageable afternoon visit.

Musée Rodin, 79 Rue de Varenne, 75007 / metro M13 Varenne / Closed Mondays

22 thoughts on “At the Musée Rodin

  1. Let’s walk over to our Rodin when it’s not sweltering, shall we? You brother, Eric, did such a fabulous job restoring the building and the grounds. It’s still one of my favorite places to enjoy in this city…..we’re not allowing shopping on that list. Stiff competition when we include lunch, too!

    1. As opposed to my other brother who worked on the Rodin? I only have the one, lady! ;) I feel like we shouldn’t have to pick a favorite spot in Philly. We live here, we’re allowed to pick multiple favorites. xo

  2. the garden looks like a perfect place to have a quiet hour or two. i can see why it is your favorite. my grandfather had a little bronze sculpture of the ‘the thinker’ and of course he was the first sculptural artist i came to know of and find interest in. i think it would be a favorite for me too.

    the mapplethorpe/rodin exhibit sounds really interesting. i’d love to know what was chosen. i consider myself a pretty open minded person but some of mapplethorpe’s work makes me just not know exactly what to think. but his work is obviously so striking and powerful. xo

    1. Oh, that’s such a sweet association. My dad and I made a plaster mold of Balzac when I was in elementary school for a project, and Rodin was my first sculptor, too. The Mapplethorpe photographs chosen were tame, for Mapplethorpe. There was plenty of full-frontal and close-up nudity, of course, but it was more about the body forms and muscle shapes and shadows and the body as a whole, rather than anything too, shall we say, x-rated ;) xo

  3. Stunning artwork. I love the different angles you used to capture each statue. Last time we were in Paris, we didn’t make it to very many museums as we had out then 20 month old daughter with us and while she is a fantastic traveler even she has her limits. I’m putting it on my to do list for next time we are there.

    1. Thank you, Rachel! That’s so sweet. I don’t hold it against anyone who travels with a young kid and can’t somehow fit every single landmark and museum in to one trip ;) Good for you for traveling with a kid at all! It just means you have to make a return trip, which is never a bad thing! xo

  4. more amazing photos, my dear!!!!

    and were you able to at will, conjure up beautiful weather, when in paris???? ,-) if so, the french version of a chamber of commerce, should not have let you come back home!!!! just look at the sunlight and blue skies and fluffy clouds, in your photos!!!!


    1. Thank you, Tessa! I definitely felt lucky while I was there, the weather was unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, it rained plenty, but the blue skies were more frequent and totally overshadowed and outnumbered the gray days. I wish the Chamber of Commerce would officially sponsor me. That would be quite the gig! xo

  5. i adore the rodin museum and i think i have a soft spot for it too. we ate the last of our parisian macarons there, in front of the gates of hell before we left. your photo of the three statues that top the gates of hell is gorgeous, perfectly trimmed hedges and all.

    1. What a perfect spot for some macarons! I love the Gates of Hell. The large version of The Three Shades are placed in such a great location, directly across from the Gates. When Annie visited with me, she said the hedges and roses reminded her of Alice in Wonderland. I totally see it. xo

  6. Je connais pas ce musée. Je me rencontre que je connais Paris un peu mal, comme une touriste ! Grâce à toi, je réapprendre à aimée Paris ! J’insiste, tu pourras écrire une guide ;)

    1. Alors, si tu insistes, je dois! :) Vraiment, je veux écrire une guide, mais je pense que je dois visiter Paris une autre fois (ou dix!) xo

  7. I was flipping through FB before my class started yesterday and when this popped up in my feed, I immediately thought, “Rodin and Mapplethorpe… of course!” I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to read your post yesterday, but it was nice to come here today, and find that you’re saying just what I had an inkling of. Putting Mapplethorpe’s study of the nude form next to Rodin’s statues was a stellar move. Brilliant. I love the stunning, sunny day, but clouds would have been striking too, no?

    1. Oh I have plenty from the gray days, too. The gray ones might be my favorite? Is that wrong to admit, given how incredible the city looks with blue skies and sun? It must be the tortured artist inside of me ;) The exhibit truly was brilliant, that’s the only word for it. It leaves in September and I wish I could go back before then to see it again. xo

  8. I love the Paris Rodin museum! He’s one of my favorites. I’m not sure why I haven’t been to the one in Philly since middle school… I should check that out again!

    1. Oh you absolutely should! I think there is a combination ticket at the main Art Museum where you can visit both with one admission fee, but I could be wrong! xo

  9. Really do love the photos you took, particularly the first one. And your dad was a wise wise man. I feel like his saying should be emblazoned on a shirt somewhere

  10. The Mapplethorpe exhibition looks amazing. The third picture is too perfect! You father’s quote rings true; I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a museum without stopping in the gift shop (they all have one nowadays); though, I usually don’t purchase much.

    1. I’m such a sucker for museum gift shops, it’s ridiculous. I hear his voice whenever I’m browsing one, but it’s unavoidable! They inevitably have amazing wares for sale. xo

  11. I saw the Mapplethorpe/Rodin exhibition thanks to your post, and it was great ! I thought it was a brilliant idea to compare their respective work on both an artistic and a historical ground. Also, I had not been to the Rodin museum for ages and it’s a shame because it’s really charming ! Your pictures make it looks even better though :)

    1. I’m so glad you went and that you enjoyed it, Victoria!! It was a really special exhibit, wasn’t it? And I miss the museum terribly. The last day I was there, there was a lot of construction noise and activity for the Dior haute couture show set-up. I can’t wait to go back! xo

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