We have traveled quite a bit since we got married, but there is one place that grabbed a hold of me and makes me want to go back trip after trip. I am talking about Paris and the city of lights. One of the things I enjoyed seeing the most amazing collections of impressionist and post-impressionist art in the world. While the Louvre is amazing, there is one place I enjoyed more, The Musée d’Orsay. I fell in love with this museum.
It is located on the left bank of the Seine and was officially opened on Dec 9, 1986. It is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900 for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography by painters such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. I have always loved Monet, so this was what inspired me to want to see this museum in the first place. Plus that fact this it is still one of the largest art museums in Europe.
We have been there a few times, but I vividly remember our first visit in October of 1999. We walked in, paid the entrance fee, and were handed a map (in English, Merci, lol) and found out there were 3 floors to the museum. However, the first thing I noticed immediately was the huge clock. Of course, we had to stop and take a lot of pictures. However, on subsequent visits, photography is pretty much prohibited anywhere inside the museum 🙁 I guess I can understand, but it’s quite disappointing. I really love and appreciate art, would never use flash, and would never do anything to ruin it. It’s just sad that others have ruined it for those who do appreciate it. Either way, we still enjoy the museum.
The museum’s specific exhibition spaces and different facilities are distributed throughout the three levels: the pavilion Among, the glass walkway of the former station’s western pinion, the museum restaurant (installed in the dining hall of the former hotel), the Café des Hauteurs, the bookshop, and the auditorium. On our first visit, we actually did take a break while we were there and had a great sandwich.
If you plan on visiting soon, here is some important info. First of all, be prepared to go through security. Since the terror attacks in Paris in 2015, they are very cautious. Their hours are from 9.30 am to 6 pm daily, except Mondays, late night on Thursdays until 9.45 pm with last tickets sold at 5 pm (9 pm Thursdays). Also worth noting, the Louvre (which is right across the street) is closed on Tuesday, thus the Musée d’Orsay gets a lot of visitors that would normally not be there. Just something to keep in mind when planning your visit. Here is a link to their website with more information.
Before you leave, make sure to check out the square next to the museum which displays six bronze allegorical sculptural groups in a row, originally produced for the Exposition Universelle:
- South America by Aimé Millet
- Asia by Alexandre Falguière
- Oceania by Mathurin Moreau
- Europe by Alexandre Schoenewerk
- North America by Ernest-Eugène Hiolle
- Africa by Eugène Delaplanche
Musée d’Orsay Museum Visitor Information
1, rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris.
33 (0)1 40 49 48 14
9.30 am to 6 pm daily, except Mondays
Late night on Thursdays until 9.45 pm
Museum cleared at 5.15 pm (9.15 pm Thursdays)
Closed on Mondays, on 1 May and 25 December
- Everyone on the first Sunday of the month
- Under 18-year-olds
- 18-25-year-olds who are citizens or long-term residents of an EU member state
- Disabled visitors with one extra person
- Unemployed visitors
- Holders of a Paris Museum pass
- Carte blanche cardholders
- Members of the Barnes Foundation
- Members of the Louvre Abu Dhabi
- Members of the Société des Amis du Musée d’Orsay or of American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay
Metro: line 12, to Solférino
RER: line C, to Musée d’Orsay
Bus: 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, 87, 94
Taxi: taxi stand and special vehicles quai Anatole-France
To plan your journey to the Musée d’Orsay, go to www.ratp.fr.
If you do drive your car (not recommended), here is a list of parking garages:
The Musée d’Orsay offers audio tours exploring its permanent collections, with commentary on over 300 works. These audio tours are available in French, German, English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian.
Priority access with no queuing via the dedicated Entrance C;
Free admission for the disabled person and one accompanying person on presentation of a disability card, a priority card issued by an MDPH (local regional authority for the disabled), supporting documentation showing that they receive French adult disability allowance (AAH) or additional disability benefit or a foreign equivalent, or the French ‘carte mobilité inclusion’ – CMI card;
Full access to the museum and its services (restaurant, bookshop) for people with reduced mobility thanks to specific facilities (access ramps, automatic doors, adapted toilets, and lifts);
Access to the auditorium for people with reduced mobility and the hearing-impaired (induction loop);
Priority access to lifts;
Loan of wheelchairs, 3-legged folding seats (those who have difficulty standing), and walking sticks at the cloakroom for individual visitors on deposit of an identity document.
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