Musée d’Orsay in Paris: Artists, Paintings & Clocks

Recently we went on a lovely trip to Paris, and instead of doing one mammoth post outlining every single thing that we did, I thought it might be nice to instead break the trip down into easier to read bite sized chunks. This post is all about the exceptionally charming Musée d’Orsay in Paris, like most museums in Paris it’s of world class calibre.

Welcome to Musee d'Orsay

I actually prefer it to The Louvre, and not being a massive art geek (that’s what Trudy is for ;)) I find it a much more manageable museum to explore.

It’s more enjoyable simply because it doesn’t overwhelm you – I think it’s safe to say that The Louvre is just TOO BIG for most people (myself included), and whilst awesome to see it’s essentially art overload.

Musée d’Orsay has a wonderful history, the building was originally a train station that was designed and built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Sitting pretty on the left bank of the Seine it’s a gorgeous structure to see, I would go to see the building alone even if there wasn’t a fantastic museum inside.

The Gorgeous Musee d'Orsay

Luckily the inside is far from empty and happens to be loaded with some major works from Monet, Van Gogh, Cézanne & Renoir and that’s just a few of the painters on showcase, there’s also a huge collection of sculptures from the likes of Edgar Degas (the bloke who loved ballerinas).

Degas' Ballerinas in Musee d'Orsay

The museums is sprawled over three charming levels, but the real drawcard and one section of the museum no-one should miss would have to be the Monet and Van Gogh works located on the top floor. Musée d’Orsay is host to a tremendous collection of both painter’s works and is a treasure chest of Impressionism pieces (that’s right, I know what Impressionism is).

Make sure you check out the clock on the top floor too, it’s an excellent spot for photos of Paris “through” the back of a mammoth train clock and reminded me of a recent film by Scorsese called Hugo. It’s a charming little film shot in Paris that Scorsese made for his 12 year old daughter (and whilst a little off-topic, is worth watching).

View From Train Clock

There is also a restaurant on this floor that looks nice but would have been way out of our backpacking budget.

I remember turning to Trudy and saying, “There’s nothing that older people love more than a restaurant INSIDE a museum.”

That’s like the European pinnacle for them, I reckon. Good on them though, if I wasn’t trying to travel on a budget I would have sat down and ate there myself (I’m not jealous, promise)…

How To Get To Museum d’Orsay

In 2011, the museum was visited by 3,144,449 people so it’s certainly a popular spot and is one of the many museums in Paris that should be on your to-do list. If you can manage to visit outside of the European summer holiday season this is the best way to go as you appreciate it a lot more when there aren’t throngs of people milling about every artwork.

The museum is remarkably easy to get to, either on foot or using the superb Paris Metro system.

Metro: Get off at the Solferino or Assemblée Nationale on the Green Line 12 – from here it’s a short stroll (follow the signs) to Musée d’Orsay.

Walking: Paris is indeed a place to walk and explore and Musée d’Orsay is in a very central location of the city. It’s right on the river Seine and is on the opposite bank to the Louvre. Power up Google Maps on your phone (or even use a traditional map, there are still a few of those around!) and take a delightful walk along the river bank, meandering your way slowly to the museum.

View Larger Map

How Much Do Tickets Cost

Shadow of the Clock
If you’ve managed to wangle yourself a European passport then you’ll be happy as a pig in mud because European citizens under 26 get into the museum compeltely free.

For everyone else you’re looking at the following ticket prices:
Museum ticket: €9
Exhibition ticket: €12

That’s pretty reasonable (although I say that knowing that Trudy and I both got in for free) considering how stunning the building is from the inside and the fabulous offerings from some of the world’s greatest painters.

For more information, check out the official site as it’s quite comprehensive and provides a wealth of information about the classy Musée d’Orsay (as well as what current exhibitions are on display).

4 Responses to “Musée d’Orsay in Paris: Artists, Paintings & Clocks”

  1. Louise says:

    Good one Tommy! I love that bloke who loved ballerinas too!!

  2. Tom, that’s an excellent post for any potential visitor to read. One question though. Did the museum give you permission to take photos because you were going to write about it, as photos by the general public were prohibited a few years back.

    • Tom says:

      Hi John, nope – things must have changed a little since you went as they were not permitting anyone from taking photos when we were there!

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