Musée Rodin Paris

The Musée Rodin—or Rodin Museum in English—is a century-old art museum primarily devoted to the work of the legendary French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum’s main location is Hôtel Biron, an eighteenth-century estate situated next door to the Army Museum and just a half-mile from the Musée d’Orsay. Rodin lived and worked here for a portion of the final decade of his life, and today it’s home to original versions of his most famous sculptures.

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History of the Rodin Museum

Auguste Rodin himself had a direct hand in establishing the museum that bears his name to this day. In 1916, the sculptor stipulated that all his possessions—most notably his sculptures, sketches, papers, and personal art collection—be left to the French government on the condition that the state purchase the Hôtel Biron estate (where Rodin had lived and worked for a time) and establish it as a museum dedicated to his life and work. Rodin would die one year later in 1917, and by 1919 the Rodin Museum was operational. In 1948, a satellite Rodin Museum would open at a historic villa in Meudon where Rodin also once lived and worked, but the primary attraction remains located within Hôtel Biron.

Hôtel Biron was designed by the French architect Jean Aubert and built between the years 1727 and 1732. For over 100 years now upkeep of this historic site has been funded largely through the legacy endowed by Rodin: in addition to the artworks he bequeathed, Rodin also left his museum the intellectual property rights to his work, allowing the Rodin Museum to make and sell up to 12 original casts of his most famous works. These sculptures—as well as reproductions of the artist’s lesser-known pieces—account for almost one-third of the attraction’s annual budget.

Rodin Museum Highlights

The Rodin Museum is home to an amazing permanent collection of artworks, including several thousand sculptures, drawings, photographs, and paintings. The headliners here, of course, are the many diverse pieces created by Rodin himself: the museum has an incredible mixture of finished sculptures, preliminary sketches, busts, torsos, and bas-reliefs. However, in addition to all these Rodins are memorable rooms dedicated to the work of Camille Claudel and multiple paintings by Vincent van Gogh that Rodin acquired during his lifetime.

Most notably, the Rodin Museum is where you’ll find several legendary artworks by the famous French sculptor. Rodin’s iconic masterpieces The ThinkerThe Kiss, and The Gates of Hell are all here, as well as other perennial favorites like The Walking ManThe Age of BronzeThe Cathedral, and Monument to the Burghers of Calais.

Several of these fabled artworks are displayed outdoors, just as Rodin intended, within the lovely setting of the museum’s sculpture garden. This seven-acre garden is a true highlight of the attraction. Throughout the year it’s full of beautiful flowers and trees, and the attraction’s café is located nearby.

More to See and Do at the Rodin Museum

Though the masterpieces on display here get most of the attention, there’s a lot more to see and do at the Rodin Museum than just the iconic sculptures described above. Keep reading for more information.

•In addition to its remarkable permanent collection, the Rodin Museum regularly hosts a variety of special exhibitions. These periodic shows are by their very nature temporary and subject to change, but recent exhibits of note include Rodin in His Garden, which showcased 35 rare photographs of Rodin and his art; Hell According to Rodin, an in-depth examination of The Gates of Hell; and Picasso-Rodin, a collaboration between the Rodin Museum and the Picasso Museum.

•For a small additional charge, guests may reserve an audio guide. Available in six different languages, the Rodin Museum’s audio guide features over two hours of expert commentaries on the attraction’s artworks, gardens, and archives. It’s a terrific way to get even more out of your self-guided tour of the site.

•Visitors to the Rodin Museum with small children in tow will want to pick up a kid-centric touchscreen game for their little ones. This hour-long experience takes the form of a museum-wide adventure where your kids are tasked with helping Dante (poet and author of The Divine Comedy) pass through Rodin’s The Gates of Hell in order to find his beloved Beatrice, and it’s a fun way for the younger members of your group to learn more about Rodin, sculpture, and the many wonders of art.

•L’Augustine is the Rodin Museum’s delightful café, where you can enjoy a menu consisting of fresh pastas, pastries, and delicious desserts. Situated just off the museum’s sculpture garden, you’ll have your choice of dining within the café’s casual-yet-stylish interior or on the lovely patio terrace.

•The Rodin Museum gift shop sells a fantastic selection of artistic reproductions (sculptures, prints, and drawings), as well as an assortment of books, stationary, home-décor items, jewelry, and clothing.

Why the Rodin Museum Should Be on Your Must-See List

Today Rodin is considered the father of modern sculpture, rated by many art critics and historians as one of the greatest sculptors who ever lived, while his ubiquitous The Thinker is one of the most famous sculptures in the history of the art form. However, no matter how often it is parodied, cited, or copied all over the world, there’s only one place you can see the first, original version of this beloved sculpture—and that’s right here at the Rodin Museum.