The Rodin Museum in Paris: A Tribute to France’s Most-Famous Sculptor

Rodin Museum exterior
Image: Musée Rodin

The Rodin Museum in Paris (Musée Rodin) is dedicated to the work, life and legacy of the nation’s celebrated sculptor of the same name. First opened in 1919 within the walls of the Hotel Biron, a private mansion where Rodin produced and assembled some of his most iconic artworks, the museum houses world-famous sculptures including “The Thinker” and “The Kiss”, as well as an important section showcasing the work of fellow sculptor and student Camille Claudel.

Probably the world’s finest collection bringing together both Rodin’s masterpieces and lesser-known works, the museum boasts an open-air sculpture garden with monumental bronze works, and hosts a number of temporary exhibits each year that focus on specific aspects of the artist’s practices, his influences and successors, and other themes.

The Rodin Museum has a sister site in the Parisian suburb of Meudon that might be of additional interest for anyone interesting in getting “deep-dive” look at the artist’s work. The secondary site boasts an important collection of plaster and wax studies of some of Rodin’s most important sculptures, offering precious insight into his complex artistic practices and preparatory work. (Note: the Meudon site is temporarily closed).

The Permanent Collection: Highlights & Masterpieces

August Rodin, 'Le Baiser' (The Kiss), circa 1882, held at the Musée Rodin in Paris. Jean-Pierre Dalbera/Wikimedia Commons
August Rodin, ‘Le Baiser’ (The Kiss), circa 1882. Jean-Pierre Dalbera/Wikimedia Commons

The vast permanent collection at the Musée Rodin is a genuine treasury, housing thousands of sculptures in marble, bronze, wax, and other materials. Meanwhile, you can see plaster castings for many of Rodin’s most important works at the secondary site in Meudon.

Masterpieces from Rodin to beeline to at the Hotel Biron site in Paris include “The Thinker”, “The Kiss” (pictured above), “The Walking Man”, and “The Age of Bronze”, There’s also a beloved series of sculptures portraying– and commemorating– French novelist Honoré de Balzac, whom Rodin greatly admired.

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Rodin’s sculptures are complemented by an interesting collection of studies and drawings, miniatures, paintings, photographs, letters, and other artifacts that illuminate the life and work of the nineteenth-century artist and his creative associates.

One section of the permanent collection houses some 15 masterpieces from Camille Claudel, a student, collaborator, and sometimes-lover of Rodin’s who became one of France’s most important sculptors in her own right.

Camille Claudel, "The Waltz" or "The Waltzers", circa 1893. Musée Rodin, Paris.
Camille Claudel, “The Waltz” or “The Waltzers”, circa 1893. Musée Rodin

Iconic bronzes, marbles, and plasters from Claudel showcased in this section include “The Waltz/The Waltzers” (shown above), “The Wave or The Bathers”, “The Gossip”, and several others. The section also includes pages of correspondence between Claudel and Rodin.

The Sculpture Garden: A Pleasant Spot for Reflection & Learning

Shadowgate from Novara, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The seven-acre sculpture garden is one of the most appealing features of the museum, especially in late spring to autumn when lush blooms and greenery frame masterpieces from Rodin in interesting and poetic ways.

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Take a stroll through the lanes, lined with linden trees, roses and ornate shrubbery, to see large-scale works in bronze including “The Thinker”, “The Gates of Hell”, “The Three Shades” (pictures above), “Orpheus”, and “The Burghers of Calais” (studies in bronze).

Temporary Exhibitions at the Rodin Museum

A number of temporary exhibitions and installations are staged at the museum every year, exploring topics including Rodin’s influence on other artists, his own interest in art, literature, dance and other forms, and shows consecrated to modern and contemporary sculptors. See this page for more info on current and forthcoming shows.

Shopping & Eating at the Museum

The onsite boutique at the Musée Rodin is a useful stop for gifts and memorabilia, from prints to miniature sculptures and reproductions, jewelry and clothing, Rodin-themed home items, stationary and more. You can also visit the online shop.

For a light snack, casual meal and hot or cold drinks, you can visit the Cafe L’Augustine, situated in the sculpture garden. Gourmet ice cream is a particular draw in the summer months. Access is only for ticketed visitors to the museum.

Getting There & Practical Information

A room within the permanent collection at the Musée Rodin, Hotel Biron, Paris. Image: Musée Rodin

The Rodin Museum’s main site is at the Hotel Biron, situated on the left bank of the Seine in the 7th arrondissement. It’s in walking distance from major sights and attractions including the Invalides and Musée de l’Armée (Army Museum) and the Eiffel Tower.

  • Address: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
  • Metro: Varenne (line 13), Invalides (lines 8, 13) or Sèvres-Babylone (lines 10, 12)
  • Tel: +33 1 44 18 61 10
  • Visit the official website (in English)
  • Opening Times: The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to ˆ:30 am. The ticket office closes at 5:45 pm. The museum is closed on New Year’s Day (January 1st), May 1st and December 25th.
  • Tickets: See this page for details on current ticket fares, including for access to the permanent collection and sculpture garden. The museum is free for all on the first Sunday of every month.
  • Accessibility: See this page for full information on accessibility at the museum, including info on ramps, wheelchair access, baby changing rooms and services for visitors with impaired hearing.

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