It is the first major renovation for the two-story Hôtel Biron, which stands within a seven-acre formal garden in view of the golden dome of Les Invalides. The museum has been closed since January as part of a three-year construction project that is nearing completion, with a public reopening scheduled for Rodin’s birthday, November 12.
The aim of the restoration, according to the museum’s architects, is to evoke the creative atmosphere that inspired the sculptor, who retreated here because, he said, “my eyes encounter grace, sitting here surrounded by light.”
The makeover features more natural light, new colors and the reappearance of Rodin’s personal art collection, which also includes ancient Greek sculpture fragments. Many of the marble sculptures, including “The Kiss,” have been cleaned for the first time and restored to their original luster.
Throughout the mansion, the architects have followed the same meticulous approach. Workmen disassembled the creaky oak parquet floors on two levels, which were braced and put back together again with original parts and wooden nails. An English paint company burrowed through layers of wall paint to unearth the original colors from Rodin’s time, which were shades of gray with blue and green tones. The wooden interior partition walls had become exposed and begun to rot. As they weakened, the stone cross walls became overburdened by their load and by the structural imbalance. Large, worrying cracks were hidden over almost all the Hôtel. Probably since Rodin’s day, no restoration work had been done to the mansion.
Within the salons, all of the tall windows were fitted with custom molten glass to filter the natural light as Rodin saw it. The architects also added a computer-generated lighting system to alter the mood with light sensors that track the changing weather, seasons and hours of the day.
Be sure to save time for a tour of the garden where there are more sculptures, winding paths, exotic shrubs and hidden fountains. Sit down and digest Rodin’s world.
Open daily, except Mondays. Museum, garden and shop : open from 10am to 5:45pm. Last tickets sold at 5.15 pm. Late night opening on Wednesday until 8.45pm. Last admission at 8.15pm. New admission rates from November 12. Full rate:10€, reduced rate:7€
Musée Rodin, 77 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France
Phone : +33 (0)1 44 18 61 10
Metro : Varenne (line 13) or Invalides (line 13, line 8)
R.E.R : Invalides (line C)
Bus : 69, 82, 87, 92