Immersion In Paris: A French Lesson At The Rodin Museum
Learning French outside the classroom is so much more motivating. Why not take advantage of being in Paris to improve your conversational skills? Perhaps a French lesson at the Rodin Museum in Paris? Today, let me take you on a virtual French lesson in this small yet gorgeous museum, surrounded by a charming garden in central Paris, just a few minutes from Invalides.
L’Hôtel Biron : Rodin Museum in central Paris
The Biron mansion hosts a large part of the work of Auguste Rodin. He moved here in 1908 in this “Hôtel particulier” (Mansion), where he worked and lived among other artists such as Matisse and Cocteau.
From 1911, he became the only tenant of this prestigious Mansion where he invited prestigious Artists and Philosophers. He liked to admire the garden and its coppice from the large windows. It was also the setting of his major pieces of work.
From 1919, only two years after his death, the place became the Rodin museum.
The Garden of the Rodin Museum: a hidden gem
I meet up with Mathilda, my English student in the garden at the entrance of the museum. We meet there for a visit of the Musée Rodin, using the appropriate French language for her pre-intermediate level. We use simple words and sentences adjusted to her level in French to express the fascinating world of Rodin’s work. No visit to Paris without the visiting this enchanting garden. It’s a must see stop.
You’ll find in the garden some of his most famous sculptures such as Le Penseur, La Porte de l’Enfer, Les Bourgeois de Calais.
The bucolic atmosphere of this large park gives you the sense that you are in the countryside. And it is in the very heart of Paris! Admire the rose garden, the grand terrace and a pond. It’s great to have a picnic there, or just to sit for a few minutes on a bench.
Le Penseur: Rodin’s worldwide well-known sculpture
But what is “Le Penseur” thinking? The iconic and the most famous piece of work from Auguste Rodin in bronze created in 1888 remains the most mysterious. “Le Penseur” (“The Thinker”) seems to represent a powerful spirit inside an athlete’s body.
First created as part of another piece of work La Porte de l’Enfer, Le Penseur “The Thinker” was first named “Le Poète” (The Poet). Rodin was inspired by” La Divine Comédie” from Dante and we can “Le Penseur” as a human being meditating on the circles of hell. But maybe we should see a representation of the artist himself?
Enlarged in 1904, there are now about one hundred “Penseurs” across the world of varied sizes.
Basic French vocabulary related to sculpture
Une sculpture: sculpture
Un sculpteur / Une sculptrice: sculptor (masculine / feminine)
Une statue: statue
Un modèle: model
Un matériau: material
Le plâtre: plaster
La terre cuite: terracotta
Le bois: wood
Le bronze: bronze
Le marbre: marble
The universal symbol of love: Le Baiser
This marble sculpture that represents a man and a woman kissing symbolizes the universal theme of love. To create this sculpture Rodin found the inspiration in a true story.
In the 12th century, Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, two characters from “L’Enfer de Dante” are surprised by Francesca’s husband while kissing. The jealous husband murders them.
Camille Claudel, talented sculptor, collaborator, muse and mistress of Rodin, inspired to the artist his most lyrical sculptures. Le Baiser is one of them. She also worked on the sculpture.
Le Baiser was first made in plaster, then in terracotta and in bronze. As Rodin didn’t master the technique of sculpture in marble, he was supported for the marble version by three sculptors’ assistants.
The first version in marble of large size of “Le Baiser” was first presented at Le Salon de Paris in 1898, ten years after his official order by the French government.
Rodin Museum – Practical Information
77 rue de Varennes
Métro: Varenne (line 13) ou Invalides (line 13, line 8)
RER : Invalides (line C)
Bus : 69, 82, 87, 92
Le Musée Rodin opens all days except Mondays from 10 am to 5.45 pm
To avoid a long queue, I recommend you plan your visit at lunchtime (the museum is open, there are even food stands in the garden, and in my experience, there is far fewer people then). Also buy your ticket online:
“When Paris becomes your classroom”
On your next visit to Paris, why not enjoy a private visit of the Rodin Museum in French and practice your French at the same time with a specially selected native French teacher who also speaks English fluently, and will share with you the secrets of Paris.
If you’re in Paris, discovering the city while conversing with your private French teacher can be an enjoyable and a far easier way to improve your skills, understanding, speaking, and accuracy. Explore private French lessons Paris here
In addition to personalised French lessons customised to match your needs, learning abilities, your schedule, and your location in Paris, French à la Carte also offers themed tours. With our French lessons for Paris lovers, you will learn French while experiencing the daily life of a Parisian, just for a few hours!
Fashion, Gastronomy, walks in authentic Paris: make the most of your stay and try our off the beaten track program.
See you soon! “a tout suite!”