Musee D'orsay Overview

Museè D'Orsay is home to the largest and some of the finest Impressionist and post Impressionist art. Some of the masterpieces include those of Van Gogh, Manet, Pissarro, Monet, Degas, Renoir and many more. The Museum not only features paintings of renowned artists but also showcases some incredible sculptures, rare photographs, decorative artwork, graphic art, pastels and architectural drawings of legendary architects.

Located on the banks of the Seine river in Paris, Musee d’Orsay is a popular destination for collective art spaces which mainly caters to French art. It was however constructed as a train station but with time it was converted into a museum. Representing the impressionist and post impressionist art forms, this exhibition hall has been enticing visitors and art lovers from all over the world.The design of Musee d’Orsay was conceptualised by Gae Aulenti in the year 1980 and it took more than 7 years to complete the structure.

There have been a number of renovations and restoration to convert this age-old architectural marvel from a train station to a prospering museum. The very first construction started with installing metal frame structure and it was later completely concealed with an envelope of limestone to preserve the architectural harmony. With our Best Europe tour packages you will see the interiors of the museum reflect the superb artworks and intricate design elements picturizing various historical occurrences.

The interior decor of the museum can be referred to as a palace of fine art because of the myriad collection it exhibits. Musee d’Orsay at the present times hosts a number of exhibitions, film screenings, concerts and performances. It also houses some of the important relics and artefacts of the times gone by. Some of the most loved artefacts of the museum are the Musee d’Orsay clock, artworks by some of the famed artists such as Renoir, Cézanne, Gaugin, Dali, Monet and Van Gogh, sculptures, architectural structures and various other decorative arts.

Some more significant relics of the old days are the famous self-portrait, Starry Night over the Rhone, Whistler’s mother, and the Artist's studio. At the time when it was renovated as a museum, two new floors were crafted out of the older construction. The ground floor at the present times features paintings, sculptures and decorative arts of the 19th century while the top floor features the artworks from 1874 – 1886.

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• The Musee D'Orsay is the first photography museum in France and features some of the extremely rare prints in both black and white and color.
• The Museum has the world's largest collection of impressionist paintings.
• The glass dome of the main hall with the sunlight pouring in offers a perfect place for the incredible sculpture collection that the Museum owns.
• The most popular exhibits include Small Dancer Aged 14 by Edgar Degas; Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh; Bal du Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir; Poppy Field by Claude Monet; Bazille’s Studio by Frederic Bazille to mention a few.
• The Museum building which started out as a train station but then converted into a Museum is in itself an incredible piece of architecture.Suggested Read: Romantic Places In Paris At NightAlso Check Out : Cool Things to Do in Paris at Night

How To Reach

The Musée D'Orsay museum is located at a distance of about 4 km from the city centre of Paris. It takes about 12 – 15 mins to cover the distance via Rue Beaubourg or Rue de Rivoli: 

1. By Metro: If you wish to travel by metro to reach the famous Musee d'Orsay museum then you have to reach either solferino or Musee d’Orsay station. The museum is located at a walking distance from both the metro stations.

2. By Bus: Paris has a very well-maintained bus service that connects the all-important part of the city and also some nearby destinations as well. If you are travelling by bus, then the nearest bus station where you have to get down is Rue de la légion d'Honneur.

3. By Car/Bike: If you are aware of the route, then you can cover the distance by your personal car/bike. It would certainly take less time to cover the distance then using public transports. 

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Best Time To Visit

Musee d'Orsay can be visited all through the year but if you wish to make the most out of your trip to this place in Paris, then it would be better if you plan out the trip in between November and March. It is the time when the temperature remains moderate and sightseeing is bliss in Paris when all the natural surroundings are at their best.

One more thing that you should keep in mind is that the museum should be visited between 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM if you wish to beat the crowd or else you can plan out to visit from 6:00 PM to 9:45 Pm in the evening. 

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Other Essential Information

Exhibitions at Musée d’Orsay

Exhibits at the Musee d'Orsay is something that allures all tourists coming over to Paris. This exhibition lets the visitors explore various parts of the museum and draw insights from each of the relics on display. The museum of Musee d'Orsay even borrows artefacts from other nearby museums at the time of the exhibition. 

Apart from exhibitions, the Musee d'Orsay is also widely held for hosting a wide range of functions like concerts, festivals, film screenings, and art shows. All these happenings at the Musee d'Orsay make it more appealing for tourists. 

Some of the popular exhibitions that have been organized at the Musee d'Orsay are as follows:

1. The Land of Monsters

The land of monsters has been one of the most popular exhibitions that has been taking place in Musee d’Orsay. This year the exhibitions are scheduled from 10th of March to 28th of June. This exhibition was started by Leopold Chauveau who happened to be a famous illustrator, sculptor, and author at the same time. 

2. James Tissot

James Tissot made his artistry debut in the 1850s because of his passion for Japanese art and craft. An era of modernity made it way into the air of Paris with his creatives. You can come over to this exhibition from 24th of March to 19th of July this year and check out some of the bold experiments of Tissot’s painting techniques and use of materials. 

3. Aubrey Beardsley

Aubrey Beardsley happened to be one of the most popular english illustrators and engravers who made it large in a very less time. Despite the fact that he was able to explore his passion for a short time, he quickly moved ahead through his amazing publication and creations. Aubrey Beardsley exhibition is going to be organised from 15th of June to 13th of September this year. 

4. Leon Spilliaert

The Leon Spilliaert exhibition is going to be held from 15th of June to 13th of September. The theme of the exhibition is going to be light and solitude. Leon Spilliaert has been a person dealing with his troubling solitude and infinite perspectives.

He started drawing creatives based on his metaphysical questions and flemish culture. His uncategorizable works became popular in no time and he was able to gain a good name in between the top illustrators of that time.

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The Architecture of Musee d'Orsay

The architecture of Musee d’Orsay happens to be one of the main attractions that entice one to behold the intricate design elements. The museum was originally a train station and was constructed for the train line that used to run in between Paris and Orleans. It was also presented at the time of world fair in the year 1990 when the whole world was amazed by its magnificent architecture. In the year 1970, it was decided to demolish the train station and give it a new makeover so that a luxury hotel can be curated behind its walls. But the decision was again turned down and finally, in the year 1974, it was converted into a museum. Musee d’Orsay has a stunning display of artisanship in both its outdoors and indoors.The design was crafted by three young architects of those times who had a motive to segregate the sub-roof space of the train station to two new floors.

The initial construction has a 138 meters long hall which is now converted into the main artery museum. The main entrance features the great glass awning and you will still be able to get the impression of the museum being an old railway station. Glass was used on the window panes at that time to allow the natural light to find its way in the structure and make available for a real impression of brightness.

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Tips to Visit Musée d'Orsay in Paris

While visiting the famous Musee d'Orsay in Paris, then here are some traveller's tips that you should keep in your mind so that you don't face any kind of difficulties.

1. If you want to spend the maximum of your time at the attraction, then it is at all times suggested getting your ticket booked before starting for the trip. You can easily book the tickets from the online portal.

2. When curating the tour, you should give special attention to this museum as it is home to several relics of the bygone times and you should spend a considerable amount of time exploring them. It should on no occasion be the last stop of your trip.

3. It is at all times advised to get a tour guide who will take you through all the important corners of the museum. With a guided tour, you would also be able to learn a lot about various paintings and artworks on display. 

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09:30 AM to 06:00 PM
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09:30 AM to 09:45 PM
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09:30 AM to 06:00 PM
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09:30 AM to 06:00 PM
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09:30 AM to 06:00 PM
Point of Interest for Musee D'orsay


Museè D'Orsay has one of the largest collections of impressionist paintings of famous artists in the world. Here you will find famous works of Monet, Ganguin, Van Gogh, Manet, Pissarro, Renoir and many more. Some of the most famous paintings here are Bal du Moulin de la Galette – 1876 by Renoir; Olympia – 1863 by Manet; La Nuit Étoilée by Van Gogh to name a few.

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Sculptures and medals

Sculptures and medals

Museè D'Orsay has an inspiring collection of sculptures and with its glass dome the sunlight streaming gives an ethereal look to these incredible masterpieces. Here you can see pieces such as Ugolin and La Dance by Carpeaux; Hercules the Archer by Bourdelle, Napoleon I as the Emperor by Barye, Walking Panther by Bugatti to name a few.

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Decorative Art

Decorative Art

Although Museè D'Orsay is famous for its impressionist paintings, the Museum also has a fantastic collection of Decorative Art that has been very elaborately acquired over a period of time. Under one roof you will find Gustave Eiffel's letters, journals and drawings; molds by Bugatti; a crystal Holy Water font; intricate goldwork by Hoffman and many other masterpieces.

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The Museè D'Orsay has an ever growing collection of amazing photographs that documents the journey of photography from black and white to colored photographs. The Museum is the first photo museum in France and features over 55,000 photographs. It has rare prints like the portrait of the French poet Charles Baudelier by Nadar, a series of pictures of the Crimean War, Egyptian archaeological photographs from the 1850s and many more.

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Graphic Arts and Pastels

Graphic Arts and Pastels

For drawings and pastels the Museè D'Orsay features collections of artists born between 1820 to 1870. It initially started with about 70 architectural drawings and decorative arts pastels in frames. There are special collections of sketches, drawings, and pastels of renowned artists that have grown to over 80,000 in number today.

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The beginning of the Architecture collection began with architectural drawings which was initially held by the Louvre Museum. The Museè D'Orsay at the start had many donations of drawings from the descendants of renowned architects and engineers and this method of acquisition continues till today. Here you can see architectural drawings of Gustave Eiffel, Marcellin Marollier, Hector Guimard, Francois Garas and several others.

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Musee D'orsay FAQs

Why is the Musee d'Orsay important?

The Musee d'Orsay is not only one of the important architectural marvels in the city of Paris but also happens to be major hotspots for tourists. It was initially built as a railway station in order to bring visitors to the world fair in the year 1900. It featured a lot of futuristic things at those times like the luggage ramps, elevators, and 400-room hotel. It was later decommissioned as a train station and was thought to change into a luxury hotel but the idea was dropped and it was renovated as a museum and exhibition hall.

What can you see at the Musee d Orsay?

Here are some of the things that you can see at the famous Musee d’Orsay museum:

1. Edgar Degas, Small Dancer

2. Edouard Manet, Luncheon on the Grass

3. Georges Seurat, The Circus

4. Auguste Renoir, Bal du Moulin de la Galette

5. Hector Guimard, Banquette de fumoir

6. Gustave Courbet, Origins of the World

7. Claude Monet, La rue Montorgueil, à Paris. Fête du 30 juin 1878

8. Auguste Rodin, Fugit Amor

9. Van Gogh, Starry Night

10. François Pompon, Polar Bear

How long do you need at Musee d Orsay?

In order to cover all the important places present inside the Musee d’Orsay, you would at least need two hours. In these two hours, you will cover a number of impressionists and sculptures.

Is Musee d'Orsay free?

No, Musee d'Orsay is not completely free. It is open from Monday to Saturday and visitors need to pay EUR 8.50 if their age is in the range of 18 – 25. Anyone who is not more than 18 years is not liable to pay any entry fees.

Who made the Musee d Orsay?

Musee D’Orsay was designed by four Brazilian architects of those times named as Gae Aulenti, Jean-Paul Philippe, Pierre Colboc and Renaud Bardon.

Is Starry Night at the Musee d Orsay?

Yes, Starry night is at the Musee d'Orsay. It happens to be a painting made in the year 1888 when the painter was in an asylum. It is now displayed at the museum so that the visitors can admire this wonderful piece of art.

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Musee D'orsay Reviews

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Reviewed: 26 Oct 2023
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