Nearly 2.5 million visitors each year come to see the largest collection in the world of impressionist artwork, found in the ... More
Nearly 2.5 million visitors each year come to see the largest collection in the world of impressionist artwork, found in the splendid Musée d'Orsay. The building itself, called the Gare d'Orsay, was built for the World's Fair of 1900. During World War II, it was used to welcome freed prisoners. Once the train station (the Gare) fell into disuse and the adjacent hotel closed down in 1973, the building was threatened with demolition. However, it was decided to transform the building's function to house a collection of art from the second half of the 19th Century. It was inaugurated in 1986 under the governance of François Mitterrand. The principal gallery of the ground floor, 138 meters long (453 feet) and 32 meters tall (105 feet), is a reminder of the building's history. Among the masterpieces in this gallery are the scandalous Un enterrement à Ornans by Gustave Courbet and the Glaneuses by Jean-François Millet. Fans of impressionism should head directly up to the fifth floor, where works by the greatest masters of this genre are hung in galleries 29 to 48. These include La classe de danse by Degas, Still Lifes by Manet such as L'Asperge, Bal du moulin de la Galette by Renoir, and La gare Saint-Lazare, La cathédrale de Rouen, or the Nymphéas by Claude Monet. Works by Van Gogh in gallery 35 and Cézanne in 36 follow, the small galleries 37 and 38 contain pastels by Degas, and galleries 43-44 are devoted to Gauguin's paintings of Tahiti. Decorative arts are located a few flights down, worth visiting notably for the impressive collection of Art Nouveau. While on this floor, don't miss the Terrasse Rodin, where L'Homme qui marche is located. For a short rest to help absorb this astonishing collection, visit the Cafe des Hauteurs on the third floor or the restaurant on the sixth floor. Also don't forget to check out the beautiful Hotel Le Bellehasse, walking distance from here.
This is a medium sized museum in an old railway station, ideally suited for the display of art due to the wonderful light. You can easily tour it in a few hours; not the all day/week trek that you require for the Louvre, and see some of the richest pieces of art to be seen anywhere. If you love the impressionists, I advise starting at the top of the museum, get your fill of Degas and his counterparts, and then travel downwards to the other sights to be seen. A wonderful place to visit; put it at the top of your list of things to do in Paris!
The Musee d'Orsay picks up where the Louvre leaves off. If you are a lover of Impressionist painting (or pre or post Impressionist) this is a must-see.
As you would expect, there's room after room of jaw-droppingly beautiful art. Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gough and much more. It's like a living art appreciation course! You'll see many works you recognize immediately (Degas' dancers, Van Gough's self-portrait) and others that you may have never seen in books, on TV or anywhere.
There are also very nice decorative arts. One section features exquiste theatrical set planning miniatures.
Look for the large glass clock/window with a stunning view across Paris to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.
Visiting the Orsay was the best experience my family had on our Paris trip. It was wonderful. Not as crowded, but wonderful art and the restaurant was great.
The staff was very friendly! We highly recommend it.
Where do I start? The architecture... an old train started converted into a museum - the building itself is phenomenal. The collection... it has one of the richest collections of impressionist art in the world. The museum feels conviviable, despite the grandeur of the surroundings the works of art of display. It is well run and affordable, with great views of Paris from the top floor. Visit, spend the whole day there, enjoy the cafe/restaurant, browse and mingle - savor one of the best museums in the world!
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