“My dear friend, you should see this splendid building and the room I have lived in since this morning. Its three bay windows have an amazing view of a neglected garden, where, from time to time, one can see innocent rabbits jumping through the trellis work, as in an ancient tapestry”.
So wrote poet Rainer Maria Rilke to artist Auguste Rodin from the Hotel Biron in August 1908.
By late October, Rodin had also taken up residence there in four ground floor rooms. From 1911, he’d taken occupancy of the whole house.
|View of the former Hotel Biron (now the Musee Rodin) from the garden (c) Capturing Paris 2016|
A few days before Christmas in 1916 (one year before Rodin’s death), France passed a law to establish Musée Rodin on the site and exhibit the works that Rodin had gifted to the state. Musée Rodin opened to the public in August 1919 and listed as a historic monument in 1926.
As I wondered through the glorious sculpture garden on a Spring morning, it felt easy to imagine how the garden might have looked when Rilke sat looking and writing through his window.
For me, the Musée Rodin is one of the most beautiful of Paris’ vast number of gorgeous places.
Even the security guards at the museum - stuck in the open air under the shade of a temporary tent at the gates to the site - seem to me to be the most good humoured of all the museum workers in the city.