Rodin & Picpus

When I first came to Paris, I didn’t have a lot of expectations. I came with an intentionally empty head. The only things I knew I wanted to do were to visit the Catacombs, the tomb of Lafayette, and Harry’s New York Bar. With this lack of preparation, everything I saw was awesome and new and interesting – it was a really fun way to look at the city!

However, as we explored I began to find new things I wanted to do. When Dr. Smith gave me a book of museum sketches on our third-to-last day, and I saw that I had only visited some of the museums in the book, I knew I had to visit the rest. And thus, I found one of my two favorite places in Paris: the Musée Rodin

It feels a little silly to say it, but my favorite thing about this musem was not the artwork and statues. Of course, they were amazing (and I adore the Thinker), but the setting in which the art was placed was the center of my attention. The museum is in a “small” mansion that Rodin once lived in, and the surrounding garden.

Musée Rodin, July 29, 2017

I fell in love a bit with the garden of this museum; it combined everything I’d seen in other gardens in Paris, but elegantly and with significantly fewer people (phew!). I loved that it was both a formal and informal garden – the front sections were organized and orderly, while the farther back into the garden, the more erratic and “wild” it became. For instance, in the above photo you can see the primary sightline of the garden leading to the chateau. In the below photo, you’ll see behind and around the statue (Orpheus) a more winding, less-perfectly-manicured garden, with the chateau behind. This wildness is even more pronounced around one of the Monuments to Victor Hugo, also below.

Orpheus, Musée Rodin © Agence photographique du musée Rodin – Jérôme Manoukian
Monument Á VIctor Hugo Dit Du Palais Royal, 1900, Musée Rodin

One of my favorite parts of the garden here was the rose garden around the Thinker and the Three Shades, and the benches in the area. During my time in Paris, I grew to really appreciate flower gardens, especially roses. This love of roses especially grew in the garden adjoined to the Picpus Cemetery, where there is a long row of vibrant rose bushes.

Picpus Cemetery, the other of my two favorite places in Paris, is quite a neat place. Located in the garden of the former convent of St. Augustine, it’s the home to 1,306 victims of the Great Terror during the French Revolution. Also located in it is General the Marquise de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution.

Lafayette’s Tomb, Picpus Cemetery, France

This cemetery is extra neat for a handful of extra bits of trivia:
• It’s one of only two private cemeteries in Paris
• Only descendants of Terror victims are allowed to be buried in it
• It’s very small compared to other Parisian cemeteries

Of course, their roses were also lovely ♥

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