French As you Like It Spotlighted on Paris Perfect

Rodin-Museum-Rose-Garden-ParisMarguerite Monnier, the founder of French As You Like It, recently wrote a second guest post for Paris Perfect. She shared another of her favorite places to give a French lesson, Jardin du Musée Rodin in Paris.

If you are visiting Paris and looking for ideas of fun things to do, why not practice your French while visiting some cultural locations? It doesn’t take much to acquire some basic knowledge and it’s a great way to interact with French people as there’s nothing Parisians like more than to help “correct” visitors’ French. Why not try asking someone casually what time is it? Quelle heure est-il? Or even on a more practical level, is this seat available? Est-ce que ce siege est libre? How much does it cost? Combien ça coute? You’ll know you’re getting somewhere when you’re able yourself to give directions – go straight and turn left: allez tout droit et tournez à gauche.

I have given hundreds of French lessons at cultural sites both on and off the traditional tourist path. And when the sun is shining one of the nicest locations to practice French is the Musée du Rodin. While I find the whole exhibition captivating, when you don’t have much time or prefer to be outside on a beautiful day, I recommend skipping line and buying a ticket for just the garden from the machine inside the entrance. Slide past the line of fidgeting tourists and for only €1 you have all day access to the beautiful garden and many of Rodin’s sculptures.

French-Lessons-Paris-Rodin-Museum-The-ThinkerThe gardens were overrun and wild when Rodin rented a portion of the hotel as an atelier in 1908. Today, covering more than 7 acres, the garden is divided into a rose garden in the north, a large ornamental garden in the south, the rocky “Garden of Orpheus” in the east and the “Garden of Springs” with a reflecting pool in the west.

Rodin started putting his work and sculptures from his personal collection in the garden in 1908. Greek and Roman copies of male and female torsos are intermixed with Rodin’s The Thinker and The Burghers of Calais. In 1995, the museum created the marble gallery to preserve the marble sculptures that were being damaged by moss and the weather. Through wide glass windows, you can see these sculptures with your garden admission.

To practice your French, here is a short text about the museum and some vocabulary in French:

Les jardins du musée Rodin

C’est le secrétaire du sculpteur, le poète Rainer Marie Rilke qui a découvert le lieu en 1908 : « Vous devriez, cher grand ami, voir ce beau bâtiment… Ses trois baies vitrées donnent sur un jardin abandonne. » Rodin aime ce désordre végétal, il s’y installe le 15 octobre de la même année.

En 1993, l’architecte paysagiste Jacques Sgard va respecter l’aspect classique du jardin (tapis vert, bassin, alignement de tilleuls) et redessiner les deux grands parterres comme des parcours thématiques. L’équilibre est trouve, esthétique et poétique.

Des bronzes de Rodin jalonnent la promenade dans le parc : la monumentale Porte de l’Enfer accueille le visiteur des l’entrée ; le Penseur, figure symbole de l’artiste, domine la roseraie ; les Bourgeois de Calais jalonnent le sous-bois, au centre du bassin ; Ugolin dévore ses enfant ; Orphee enfoui dans la verdure se découvre au détour d’un bosquet.

Musée Rodin Vocabulary 

jardins – garden

le lieu – rental

baies vitrées – bay windows

tilleuls – lime trees

jalonnent – to mark

dévore – devour

un bosquet – a small grove

Are you interested in a personalized French lesson on a specific topic or at a site “off the beaten path” in Paris? Contact us at [email protected].

Image credits: The Thinker by billandkent and Roses at Rodin Museum by Todd Martin