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The Musee Rodin Museum

The Hôtel Biron houses the Auguste Rodin museum and stands below the dome of the Invalides in the Faubourg Saint-Germain area of Paris, France.

The house itself was built around 1728 by the architect Jean Aubert for Abraham Peyrenc de Moras, a wig maker who made his fortune speculating with paper money, and it is more like a chateau than a typical house with its grounds stretching for about seven acres.

The house was notable for its magnificence with beautiful facades and the refinement of the interior decoration with carved panelling for the rooms overlooking the grounds.  But unfortunately, Peyrenc de Moras did not live there long as he died in 1732 and his wife rented out the property until her death, to the Duchesse du Maine, who was Louis XIV's daughter-in-law.

The Rodin Museum

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The Musee Rodin Museum In Paris France

This grand residence was then sold to the Marechal de Biron, which is where the name Hotel Biron came from.  And although he made very few changes to the internal aspects of the house, he completely transformed the grounds, which were commented on by many as one of finest parks in Paris.

When Marechal de Biron died in 1788 the estate passed to his nephew, the Duc de Lauzun, where it was rented out for public balls until he was guillotined in 1793.  But then it reverted back to its original purpose housing the Papal legate and then the Russian Ambassador.

But then belonging to the Duchesse de Bethune-Charost, its future was destined to be in line with the devout duchess's religious principles and was handed over to the Societe du Sacre-Coeur de Jesus in 1820 to be devoted to education of young girls from aristocratic and noble birth, although all panelling etc was removed so that the girls lived in a hard austere atmosphere.

The property was confiscated in 1905 as a result of the application of the law separating Church and State property, and was going to be demolished as it looked no more than an empty shell surrounded by derelict grounds.  But in the meantime it served as temporary accommodation for artists such as Matisse and Rodin.

Auguste Rodin was completely enchanted by the beauty of the house and the charm of the grounds, so he assembled his works at the Hotel Biron with drawings adorning the walls and his Greek and Roman antiquities displayed in the grounds.

When the French State bought the property, Rodin decided that he wanted to hand over everything to the state on the condition that the property became a museum dedicated to him.  This became official in 1916, when Rodin supplied his entire collections of works, photographs, drawing and sculptures along with paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Pierre-Auguste Renoir that he had acquired.  But Auguste Rodin died in November 1917 before he could get to see his final dream come true of the opening of the museum, which took place in 1919.

The Musee Rodin has seen some changes over the years and fortunately, after World War II, the museum was able to get back a lot of the original decor including lots of the panelling and more recently two overdoors.

Auguste Rodin is known for his notoriety, but this museum has become one of the most popular museums in Paris, if not throughout France, after places such as The Louvre and Musee d'Orsay.

Within the building, you will be able to view his works and collections and outside in the grounds you will be able to wander around at your leisure viewing the incredible sculptures.  But you may be surprised to learn that everything, including the seats you can sit down on, come from Rodin himself. 

Auguste Rodin was not only a sculptor of public monuments, but also an artist who produced numerous small and intimate sculptures.  He was also in demand as a portrait sculptor, producing memorable images of many famous men and women, which ranged from Victor Hugo to George Bernard Shaw and Pope Benedict XV.

And although there are other museums dedicated to Rodin, it is no doubt that it is the special character of this museum in Paris, France, which contains significant creations such as The Thinker and The Kiss, that makes it so popular with around half a million visitors each year.

You can also, if you wish, visit the house and the gardens separately.  And if you prefer sculptures, then you can view masterpieces such as Burghers of Calais and The Gates of Hell, whilst the trees will provide welcome shade on a hot summers day, with benches placed beneath to make peaceful surroundings and the perfect spot for meditation and relaxation.

Within the great house itself you can get to see other Rodin sculptures, but also in some of the rooms you can see sculptures like the bust of Rodin, by his lover, Camille Claudel, who was his former student.

Obviously, because the museum is housed in a former residence, the displays are not on one level so there will be stairs to climb and many exhibits are behind glass for protection.  Yet it is one of those places that is great to take children if they are with you when you are visiting Paris, as it is smaller than a lot of museums and even has a small cafe with good food and big windows for viewing out into the gardens.

The museum is open every day of the week except for Mondays from 9.30am to 4.45pm and although the last admission time is 4.15pm, you would want to get there far earlier just to appreciate the beautiful gardens.

Address & Contact Details:

Musée Rodin
Hôtel Biron
79 Rue de Varenne

Telephone: 1 44 18 61 10

The Musee Rodin Museum

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