Friday, March 5, 2010

Musée Rodin

Everyone who comes to Paris wants to hit the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, and the Pompidou. After that, there are still lots more choices (150 in all, I'm told) but just what qualifies as numbers 4 through 10 is a pretty subjective business. Still I'm willing to bet that of all the smaller museums in town, the Musée Rodin is a favorite of many visitors. And with good reason! The work is familiar yet still interesting, the location central, and the setting divine. Go for the special exhibitions, the permanent collection, or chuck the indoors and pay the 1 euro entry for the gardens, and you will not be disappointed.

The building dates from the early 18th century and had a long history of aristocratic tenants before the Revolution, and students and artists after, including Isadora Duncan, Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse, and of course M. Rodin. The rooms, which are badly in need of a major updating, are filled with Rodin's own work (finished and in draft form) as well as pieces by other artists he collected for himself. The process of creating bronzes is complicated but the curators have assembled models to explain the different steps in the process.

Then there are the lovely gardens, dotted with masterpieces like The Thinker, The Gates of Hell, The Burghers of Calais, and a controversial portrait of Balzac. It was too cold this week to linger there but I know I'll be back.

Pondering the universe or what's for lunch?


Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Oh I would like to go here! It's true: there are *s*o many museums to choose from. I have lived here for 21 months, as of yesterday, and still have yet to visit the d'Orsay *blush* but I have made it to some smaller, interesting ones like Musée Cernuschi near Parc Monceau. There are a lot of choices past the big three at the top.

I think I will follow your advice, though, and go when the weather is nicer and the foliage in fuller bloom. :)

Thanks for highlighting this one!

Starman said...

My favorite is the Musée Marmottan. Of course, that's because they have the largest collection of Monet. And the Building is gorgeous.

Nicole said...

My biggest recommendation to visitors looking for something smaller is the Musee Picasso, which I think does a fantastic job of explaining to a regular person just why Picasso is so famous. I know that they are currently doing renovation work but I hope that they stick to the great chronological display that they used to have. Another lovely museum is the Musee de la Chasse. I love how intimate it feels- like you are just strolling through someone's house. It is an interesting museum for kids as well, mainly due to the animal 'cabinets'.

Anne said...

So many choices, so little time! I agree with the recommendations about the Marmottan and Musee de la Chasee but haven't yet checked out the Musee Cernuschi. As Nicole pointed out, the Picasso museum is closed for repairs until sometime in 2012.

The Armchair Parisian said...

I love this musée. I recall going there first thing on our first day in Paris many years ago and found it enchanting. It was a perfect, low key thing to do with jet lag while we waited for our room to be ready. It was cold & wet outside, but we enjoyed lunch in the cafe in the garden.

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