In a city of possibilities, how to best spend a few hours in Paris? I recently accompanied my husband on a work trip in France and knew I would only have a free afternoon in Paris. On previous visits, I had checked the city’s greatest hits off my list and was looking for something bite-size and uncrowded but memorable.

Knowing of my interest in art and design, my photographer friend Marie Hennechart suggested the Musée Bourdelle and its new Rhodia cafe. It was a tip worth sharing.

The museum is devoted to the art of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, a student of Rodin’s and a teacher of Giacometti’s. It’s set in his preserved Montparnasse studio enclave and has a new restaurant in what had been the apartment Bourdelle’s daughter, Rhodia, and her husband, Michel Dufet, the Art Deco interior designer, built for themselves in the late 1940s.

Rhodia and Michel together created the museum and were dedicated to preserving her father’s work. The designers of the café, in turn, kept many of the apartment’s details, including its wall of clerestory windows and yellow-and-white palette, while giving it a fresh new guise. Come see.

Museum photography by Pierre Antoine and Le Rhodia photography by Marielle Gaudry.

The Museum

Above: Bourdelle’s sculpture workshop has a wall of plaster casts used as teaching tools for his students and a herringbone floor. It’s part of a complex the artist created in the heart of Montparnasse. Admission is free and there are no velvet ropes or mobs.
outside the studio, front and back courtyard gardens are filled with towering b 18
Above: Outside the studio, front and back courtyard gardens are filled with towering Bourdelle sculptures.

The Café

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