One of the great pleasures in Paris is to spend a half day at the Rodin Museum. Not only to savor his wonderful works, both inside the villa and dotted around the gardens, but also for the view of the gold dome of the Invalides rising above the head of The Thinker, and to linger at the garden café.
We recently discovered that the Rodin Museum in the Hotel Biron is closed until April 3, 2012, for renovations/restorations. However, the special exhibit on Rodin’s drawings is still open (in the temporary exhibition space in the entrance building) and the garden is open (and free, instead of one euro), although many of the outdoor sculptures have also been moved out of the garden for cleaning.
If this is your only opportunity to visit Rodin in Paris, then it’s still worth it. You can wander outside and get a good view from outside of the mansion (Hotel Biron) that houses the museum, and most of the “main” sculptures are still in place: the Gates of Hell; the Burghers of Calais; the Three Shades; Balzac; The Thinker; and Ugolin in the pond at the bottom of the garden.
The Thinker is scaffolded for cleaning and we saw workers up on a platform examining him, which must give an interesting perspective on this famous piece. In addition, the Rodin works behind glass in the small outdoor part of the museum are visible as always, in the Marbles Gallery. And, of course, the wonderful view of the golden dome of the Invalides next door is always there.
Workers are getting the garden ready for late spring and summer and all the expected visitors—rolls of instant lawn, many flowers ready for planting. The rose bushes are still dormant now, but in the warm weather are always gorgeous, a real feature of the gardens.
When we were there in mid-March it was a warm day, so there were many people wandering in the garden, as we were, or sitting around the pond at the bottom of the garden. The small café on the edge of the garden is a lovely place for a snack meal or a cup of tea or coffee, if you’ve already eaten.
The museum and gardens are easy to get to; Take Metro, Line 13, Varenne station; or RER Line C, Invalides station.
Hotel Biron, Musee Rodin
79 rue des Varennes (7th arrondissement)
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5:45pm, but gardens close at 5pm October 1-March 31.