Discoveries are made each day in Paris. A friend of mine who has lived in Paris for the past seven years said she discovers something new each day. I have a long way to go for sure! Over the course of a month I’ve had many but today was worth mentioning. Please excuse if I sound naïve when I say Auguste Rodin was someone I had little knowledge of before moving to Paris. Unless you’ve studied art or have a great interest in it, you may not know who he was—like me! Now I have at some point in my life come across his works, but before today I would not have been able to match his name to any of his work. Art just isn’t in my repertoire. History yes, art—not really. Ask me about a French King or Queen and I can tell you all sorts of information—a piece of art–your guess is as good as mine!
My discovery– Musée Auguste Rodin which is housed in the architecturally splendid Hôtel Biron, built (1727-1732). This Paris “country house” sparked my interest because of its history, not because of the world-renowned artist that just happened to call it home for a time in the early 1900s. His work is very fascinating and worth seeing if one is interested in rather large or small and sometimes bizarre, intimidating and thought-provoking sculptures. Otherwise go for the scenery and the architecture. Much of Hôtel Biron‘s interior furnishings disappeared over time or were sold off by previous owners, so the inside is a little bare if you don’t consider the sculptures a part of the decor.
So why am I intrigued? Hôtel Biron has a history that dates back to a period long since passed. It’s one of my most favorite periods in time. Last fall I spent 16 weeks discussing, researching and contemplating its impact to human history. It’s a era in which I wish I had lived (maybe I have and that’s why I’m so drawn to it..oooh now that’s intriguing!)—the Age of Enlightenment. Naturally, when I discovered Hôtel Biron was an actual “house” with a garden, a rather large attached garden in the center of Paris, I pounced on the opportunity to experience and see this abnormality. Paris over the centuries has pretty much gobbled up its mansions and turned them into government offices, museums, hotels, or demolished them all together. Others have been incorporated into apartments which line the streets of Paris. A few still remain with their gardens intact—like Carnavalet and Hotel Soubise. Other beauties I seek to experience.
If you would like to leave reality for a few hours and imagine yourself a princess (like I always do) or prince, for only a euro you can sit all day with the golden Dôme of the Invalides looming through the trees, take in the fragrant roses, babbling fountains and wondering pigeons to admire an era that stands still in the heart of Paris.