Planning your trip to Paris, France and wondering if the Rodin Museum is worth visiting? This post has you covered! I’ll tell you everything you need to consider before deciding whether or not to include the Rodin Museum in your Paris itinerary.
The Rodin Museum is a fabulous museum located on Rue de Varenne in central Paris. It is known primarily for its collection of sculptures from the artist Auguste Rodin, a man some call the Michaelangelo of modern sculpture. Rodin’s works are evocative and striking, though many of them appear unfinished.
The Rodin Museum first opened its doors in 1919 and contains two main attractions: the Hôtel Biron and an outdoor sculpture garden. It is tucked back from the city streets of Paris, making it a bit of a refuge in an otherwise central and busy area.
About Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is a French artist known as the founder of modern sculpture. His works are known for being incredible experiments with the human form, often evoking strong emotions in the statues’ movements and postures.
Rodin’s masterpiece, The Gates of Hell, was yet to be cast in bronze at the time of his death. The first bronze cast of The Gates of Hell sits in the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, while the second sits at the Musée Rodin in Paris.
In 1916, Auguste Rodin bequeathed his works, possessions, and intellectual property to the French state. The French government in turn bought the Hôtel Biron, which they turned into a museum dedicated to Rodin. He died the following year.
Interestingly, as part of this donation, Auguste Rodin also allowed the Rodin Museum to make up to 12 bronze casts of each of his works. The sale of these casts has helped to finance the museum, making it the only self-funding museum in France.
Is the Rodin Museum worth visiting?
Is the Rodin Museum worth visiting? I think it depends on who is asking. Some travelers will love the opportunity to marvel at the bronze statues of the late artist Auguste Rodin. Because the museum only features one artist prominently, it can lack the intrigue and diversity of other art museums in Paris.
Although I definitely wouldn’t consider the Rodin Museum to be off the beaten path, it’s less popular than many other museums in Paris. The Louvre Museum or the nearby d’Orsay both receive far more visitors every year. For many, the Rodin Museum will be a stop on their third or fourth visit to Paris, when they’ve seen the major sites and are looking for smaller attractions.
Yes, the Rodin Museum is worth visiting if…
The Rodin Museum can be a great part of a Paris itinerary for the right type of traveler. I visited this museum on a recent trip to Paris, after it eluded my itinerary for several trips. Truthfully, I didn’t know anything about Rodin or his work, I just wanted to visit a relaxing museum after I was a bit spent from walking all over the city.
I was very impressed with the Rodin Museum, and I loved how tranquil it felt in comparison to the other places I had visited that week. The Hôtel Biron was not too busy or crowded, so I was able to see the major works without any pushing or shoving. My favorite part, however, was the sculpture garden, which had almost all of my favorite pieces in the museum.
You’re a big fan of Rodin’s work
Auguste Rodin is one of the most famous sculptors in the world. His works show the physical manifestation of a range of emotions, like misery, fear, and joy. The first major work that Rodin exhibited was The Age of Bronze, which was deemed so realistic that he was accused of casting the piece from a life model.
Fans of Auguste Rodin might enjoy a museum tour with a local artist, who can give additional insight into his work.
You’re looking for a relaxing activity in Paris
The Rodin Museum is very secluded from the city streets of Paris, so you’ll immediately feel like you’re in a more relaxing environment when you walk through the gates.
The gardens of the Rodin Museum are particularly contemplative and lovely, and the roses are in bloom starting in May each year. The back area near the fountain is particularly nice, with plenty of shady and sunny benches to choose from. Most of my favorite pieces were in the garden, so you’ll have plenty to take in when you’re circling the Hôtel Biron.
If you’re not ready to leave after spending a few hours at the Rodin Museum, there is a cafe where you can order a snack and an espresso before heading back out into the city.
It’s a really nice day
If you’re looking for an outdoor activity on a nice day in Paris, the Rodin Museum could be a great choice. The gardens are immaculately trimmed and manicured, much like the other parks in Paris, but less crowded because there is a fee to enter. There are places to sit in the sun and the shade, so you can spend a while meditating or journaling on a bench, sketching a sculpture, or just taking in the scenery.
The flowers in the sculpture garden were carefully selected to ensure that there are always flowers in bloom, no matter when you visit. So, a nice day in January could still be a great time to visit the Rodin Museum.
No, the Rodin Museum is not worth visiting if…
If you only have a few days in Paris, the Rodin Museum might not make it into your itinerary. I wouldn’t put the Rodin Museum on a “must see” list of Paris, even though I did enjoy visiting. I’d recommend that you take a look at photos of the Rodin Museum and see if they appeal to you.
Sometimes I’ll visit art museums while I’m traveling that were barely on my radar and love them – which is how I felt about the Rodin Museum. Other times, they’ll feel like a bit of a waste. There’s always some guess work with travel, that’s part of the fun of it all!
If any of the following apply to you, you might consider another museum or activity for your day in Paris.
Sculptures really aren’t your thing
The Rodin Museum is almost entirely a collection of sculptures. If you’re not interested in seeing a collection of sculptures, you probably won’t enjoy this museum in Paris. Although there are some paintings and other collections in the Hôtel Biron, there are better museums for you to visit.
Consider instead the Louvre Museum or the Musée d’Orsay, both of which have much larger collections of paintings and other art media. You could also visit the Orangerie Museum and then take a Seine River Cruise. It’s your trip, you can make it into the best possible experience for your taste and interests.
You’re looking for a rainy day activity
Many of Rodin’s most famous works are on display outside in the museum’s sculpture garden. Although you certainly can wander the grounds in the rain or on a cold day, this wouldn’t qualify as a “rainy day” activity in my book.
Your time in Paris is very limited
Unless you’re particularly interested in seeing Rodin’s work or looking for a bit of respite from the long lines at the Louvre, this museum might not be worth including in your itinerary. It’s not as grand as some of the other museums in Paris, nor does it showcase a large number of French artists.
However, the Rodin Museum can be easily combined with the d’Orsay Museum. So, if you’re short on time and want to see two Parisian art museums in one day, those are the two I’d recommend.
Why is the Rodin Museum famous?
The Rodin Museum is famous for being home to Auguste Rodin’s sculptures. Two of Rodin’s most famous pieces were the Gates of Hell and The Thinker, both of which are on display at the museum.
This museum contains nearly 400 pieces of art. Most of the pieces are from Rodin, but his private collections are on display in the Hôtel Biron. Those include pieces by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Claudel, Rodin’s student and mistress.
What famous works are on display at the Rodin Museum?
The Rodin Museum contains a number of famous works from Auguste Rodin and a few from his personal collection. You’ll find the following pieces on display at the Rodin Museum:
The Walking Man
The Age of Bronze
The Gates of Hell
Pére Tanguy by Vincent Van Gogh
The Burghers of Calais
Of these pieces, my favorite was the collection titled, The Burghers of Calais. These statues tell the story of six citizens of Calais who volunteered to be killed in order to save the rest of the town from being killed en masse. The killings had been ordered by King Edward III during the Hundred Years’ War.
Can I see The Thinker at the Rodin Museum?
Yes, The Thinker is on prominent display in the outdoor sculpture garden at the Rodin Museum. The sculpture is situated between four trees, just to the right when you first walk in.
The Thinker is situated so that the statue is looking directly at another sculpture, The Gates of Hell.
Visitors’ Information: the Rodin Museum
If you decide to visit the Rodin Museum, here’s everything you need to know before you go.
Rodin Museum ticket information
Tickets to the Rodin Museum are 13€ for adults. Some visitors are entitled to free admission, including those under 18 and EU citizens aged 18-25.
You can purchase your tickets ahead of time or at the door, depending on your preference. If you’d like to purchase a joint ticket to see the Rodin Museum and the Musée d’Orsay, you will need to buy them when you arrive. They’re available for sale at the ticket machines, or you can ask the staff when you arrive.
Do you need a reservation for the Rodin Museum?
It’s not necessary to make a reservation before visiting the Rodin Museum, but it might help you to skip the line during the busy season. If you’re short on time and visiting during the peak season (June to August), I would recommend that you pre-book your tickets so that you don’t have to wait in line.
Although it’s always possible that the museum could fill to capacity, I don’t think it’s particularly likely to happen. You should be able to get into the museum whether or not you pre-book your tickets, unlike the Louvre Museum.
What are the hours for the Rodin Museum?
The Rodin Museum is open daily, except for January 1, May 1, and December 25. Visitors can see the museum from 10 am to 6:30 pm, and the last entry is at 5:45 pm. Note that the gardens are closed after sunset, so arrive earlier if visiting during the wintertime.
How much time should I spend at the Rodin Museum?
Plan to spend 2-4 hours exploring the grounds of the Rodin Museum. Although there are fewer pieces in the sculpture garden, you’ll want to make your way around the property at a leisurely pace.
Are there guided tours of the Rodin Museum?
Yes, you can book a guided tour of the Rodin Museum with a knowledgeable tour guide. There is also an option to book a guided tour with a local artist who can offer insight into Rodin’s studio process, avante-garde vision, and diverse techniques.
You will need to pre-book both of these tours, ideally at least a couple of days in advance.
Does the Rodin Rodin have a cloakroom?
Yes, the museum has a cloakroom that is free for visitors to use. You can store items like umbrellas, backpacks, and small items of luggage, but large luggage and valuables are not allowed.
One of the great things about Paris is that there’s no singular city center, but rather a large central area. For this reason, you can choose hotels in a number of areas and still feel central and like you’re near enough to the action. I’d recommend that you stay within a 30 minute walk of the River Seine, loosely between Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
I usually stay with family when I visit Paris, but I wanted to pull together a list of recommendations that I’d send to a friend who was visiting the city.
Budget pick: The People – Paris Bercy
The People – Paris Bercy is a highly rated, modern hostel with a beautiful rooftop patio for guests to enjoy. They have a range of types of rooms to choose from, including both private hotel-style rooms and mixed dormitories. As with any hostel, you’ll want to bring your own shampoo, towel, and other essentials.
Midrange pick: Hôtel AMI – Orso Hotels
The Hôtel AMI – Orso Hotels is a great midrange choice with stylish rooms and modern fixtures. It’s central enough that you can get around the city relatively quickly, as it’s only a short walk from the metro. You can reach the Eiffel Tower in about 30 minutes by foot, same with the Luxembourg Gardens.
Note: the rooms at Hôtel AMI are quite small, so carefully look at the photos to ensure you’ll have enough space.
High end pick: Hôtel des Arts Montmartre
The Hôtel des Arts Montmartre is a beautiful hotel in the charming, cobblestone-lined area of Montmartre in Paris, the perfect place to spend a weekend or longer. The staff is warm and friendly, the rooms are tastefully decorated, and the hotel is spotlessly clean. Hôtel des Artes Montmartre is the perfect home away from home – central enough that Paris will feel at your fingertips without too much hustle and bustle on the streets.
FAQs: Is the Rodin Museum worth visiting?
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about visiting the Rodin Museum.
How far is the Rodin Museum from the Eiffel Tower?
The Rodin Museum is about two kilometers from the Eiffel Tower. It’s a 25 minute walk, a 20 minute bus ride, or a 10 minute taxi ride. Alternatively, you could rent a Velib bike and cycle the 10 minutes or so between these two landmarks.
Unless you have mobility issues, I would recommend that you walk between these two destinations. Walking the streets of Paris is one of my favorite things to do in the city, and the walking route takes you directly in front of the Musée de l’Armée and Invalides along Rue de Grenelle.
Can you see The Thinker for free?
Yes, you can see The Thinker for free on the first Sunday of the month, from October to March. There is no need to book tickets in advance, but I would try to arrive early, if possible.
Other than the free days during the winter months, you’ll need to pay to see The Thinker.
Is the Rodin Museum a relaxing place to visit?
Absolutely. A visit to the Rodin Museum is one of the most relaxing things you can do in Paris, especially if it’s a nice day and you’d like to spend time in the gardens. When I visited, I spent at least an hour journaling on a shaded bench facing a fountain.
I left refreshed and rejuvenated, then headed directly to the d’Orsay Museum because I had purchased a combined ticket.
Conclusion: Is the Rodin Museum in Paris, France Worth Visiting?
Whether the Rodin Museum in Paris is worth visiting depends a lot on who you are as a traveler. If you’re someone with a decently long trip to Paris (4+ days) and you enjoy wandering around museums when you travel, I’d say that the Rodin is definitely worth visiting. It’s a relaxing and thought provoking collection that showcases the work of one of the most famous sculptors in the world.
However, if you’re not a big fan of sculptures, or if you’re just not a big fan of Rodin’s, there’s no need to squeeze in this museum. Unlike the Louvre, which has a little something for everyone, the Rodin Museum really exists to showcase his work. The other artwork from his private collection makes up a relatively small percentage of the overall works.
If you do visit, do not skip a walk around the gardens. In my opinion, they were the best part of the museum and I most enjoyed the pieces that were outside.