Musée d’Orsay: Home to French Impressionist Paintings – Paris Museum

Musée d'Orsay
Musée d'Orsay

Located on the left bank of Seine River, Musée d’Orsay is one of famous museums in Paris, France. Taking place in a former railway station, Gare d’Orsay which was built in 1898 to 1900, the museum is home to numerous French sculptures, furniture, paintings, and photography produced between 1848 to 1914. The highlights of Musée d’Orsay’s collection are its impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces by high-acclaimed painters such as Monet, Van Gogh, Ingres, Degas, Renoir, Manet, Cézanne, Sisley, Delacroix, Seurat, and Gauguin.

History of Musée d’Orsay establishment

Just like the Eiffel Tower, Gare d’Orsay, the railway station where Musée d’Orsay is now located, was built in celebration of the Exposition Universelle in 1990. The station building was designed by three architects. They were Lucien Magne, Émile Bénard and Victor Laloux. The station operated for 39 years before it was closed down in 1939 due to unsuitability issues. Its tracks were already to outdated to accommodate longer trains which started to be operated that time.

Railway station where Musée d’Orsay 1900 to 1939
Railway station where Musée d’Orsay 1900 to 1939

After its close down, the former railway station was used for various purposes before it became Musée d’Orsay. First, it was used as suburban services and mailing center during World War II. Then, some film productions used it as a set such as Kafka’s The Trial. The abandoned building was also once used as the Renaud-Barrault Theatre Company safe haven.

Jacques Duhamel was a person who saved the former railway station from demolition in 1970. Instead, he proposed to build a hotel out of it. In 1978, the station building was listed as of one Historic Monuments. The Directorate of the Museums of France then had the idea to turn the station into a museum which was located between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art.

Musée d'Orsay Building
Musée d'Orsay Building

To design the new museum, a competition was held and it chose three young architects, Pierre Colboc, Renaud Bardon, and Jean-Paul Philippon, as the winners. They won the contract to design the interior of Musée d’Orsay including the internal arrangement, furniture, decoration, and fittings of the museum. All preparation was completed in July 1986 and the museum was ready for its first exhibition.

Musée d’Orsay Collection

Musée d’Orsay Paintings Collections are:

  • Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Source
  • Eugene Delacroix – Tiger Hunt
  • Gustave Courbet – The Artist’s Studio
  • Jean-François Millet – Spring
  • Edgar Degas – The Parade (Race Horses in front of the Tribunes)
  • Paul Cézanne – Apples and Oranges
  • Claude Monet – The Saint-Lazare Station
  • Vincent van Gogh – Starry Night Over the Rhone Arles
  • Alexandre Cabanel – The Birth of Venus
Musée d'Orsay Paintings Collections
Musée d'Orsay Paintings Collections

Musée d’Orsay Sculpture are :

A wide range collection from sculptors such as Paul Gauguin, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Jules Cavelier, Honoré Daumier, Auguste Rodin, and François Rude.

Musée d'Orsay Jean Baptiste Carpeaux
Musée d'Orsay Jean Baptiste Carpeaux

Visiting Musée d’Orsay

The address of Musée d’Orsay is on 1 Rue de la Legion d’Honneur. It is located between Quai Anatole France and Rue de Lille in the Saint-German des Pres neighborhood. You can reach the museum by taking Metro to Solferino. If you go by bus, line 24, 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, and 94 are all crossing the place.

Inside Musée d’Orsay
Inside Musée d’Orsay

The museum is closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th so make sure you don’t visit there on those days. The ticket prices are €7.50 for adults and €9 for special exhibits. For students and seniors, the prices are €5.50 and €7 for special exhibits. Children and teenagers under 18 are free of admission. The museum also opens its door for free every first Sunday. The ticket office closes one hour before the museum closes.

Musée d'Orsay
Inside Musée d'Orsay

There are two English-language tours provided for visitors. The first is the Orsay Masterpiece Tour which lasts for 1.5 hour for permanent collections available on Tuesday to Saturday. The second is the 19th Century Art Tour which provides visitors a deeper insight of 19th century artistic movements.

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Museum of Orsay Address 

62 Rue de Lille, 75007 Paris, France
+33 1 45 49 47 03 ‎

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