Things to do in Paris – Musée d’Orsay

Entrance Musee d'Orsay Paris, France

In Paris, you can find extraordinary art on practically every corner, and many of the museums are among the most famous in the world.

Main Hall Musee d'Orsay Paris, France

One of the city’s most beautiful museums is Musée d’Orsay.  It attracts over 2 million visitors each year, and for the art lover, this museum is a must.

The collection of artwork, which spans mainly the years 1848-1914, is impressive, yet unlike the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay isn’t overwhelming.  The museum’s collection includes works from various movements, including Neo-Classicism, Realism and Symbolism, but it’s known for its vast collection of Impressionist art.  On display are objets d’art, paintings and sculptures, and in addition to works by Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Emile Pissarro, Rodin, and Van Gogh, to name just a few, the museum holds 195 works of, or related to, Edgar Degas.

Some of the museum’s Impressionist paintings include:

Degas- La classe de danse 1874

La classe de danse (The Dance Class) – Edgar Degas, ca. 1874

"L'Absinthe", par Edgar Degas (1876)

L’Absinthe – Edgar Degas, ca. 1876

Claude Monet 024

 Femmes au jardin (Women in the Garden) – Claude Monet, ca. 1866

Camille Pissarro 018

 Châtaigniers à Louveciennes (Chestnut Trees at Louveciennes) –  Camille Pissarro, 1879

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette

 Le Moulin De La Galette – Auguste Renoir, 1876

Self-Portrait (Van Gogh September 1889)

 Portrait de l’artiste (Portrait of the Artist) – Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

Starry Night Over the Rhone

La nuit étoilée (Starry Night Over the Rhône) – Vincent Van Gogh

Caillebotteraboteurs

Les Raboteurs de parquet (The Floor Scrapers) – Gustave Caillebotte, 1875

Note:  D’Orsay’s main Impressionist collection is kept on the upper level, so if you’re here primarily to see the Impressionists, you may want to skip the rooms on the lower levels and head straight to the top floor.

Entrance and Clock Musee d'Orsay Paris, France

Situated on the banks of the River Seine, Musée d’Orsay occupies a site that was once part of the 16th century gardens created for Queen Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry IV of France, and daughter of King Henry II and Catherine de Medici.

Clock and Hall Musee d'Orsay Paris, France

The current structure on the site was built as the Gare d’ Orsay, a railway station inaugurated during the World’s Fair of 1900, and for those who enjoy architecture or railway history, the building itself is worth seeing.

Clock Musee d'Orsay Paris, France

A prominent feature of the building is the enormous Beaux-Arts clock.

Behind the clock at Musee d'Orsay Paris, France

It’s worth a visit to the museum, just for the opportunity to walk behind and peer through the glass panels.

Getting there

Musée d’Orsay is located at 1, rue de la Légion d’Honneur,  just across the river from Place de la Concorde and the Louvre.  Via the Métro, take RER line C to Musée d’Orsay.

Ticket Info:

Adult admission = 11.00€ (includes permanent collection and exhibition) + any additional fee for temporary exhibits; reduced admission after 4:30 pm (6:30 pm on Thursdays)

FREE = First Sunday of each month and with the Paris Museum Pass

Combo tickets:

Musée d’Orsay + Musée de l’Orangerie = 16.00€ (valid 4 days from purchase)

Musée d’Orsay + Musée Rodin = 15.00€ (same day use only)

Additional museum discounts = Admission tickets for Musée d’Orsay may also allow discounted entry to other sites, including Palais Garnier (Paris National Opera House).

For more up to date information on exhibits, prices and opening hours, check the Musée d’Orsay website.

Travel tip: 

Lines to purchase entrance tickets at Musée d’Orsay can be very long.  We recommend using a Paris Museum Pass or purchasing your tickets online, which allows you to print out your own ticket, skip the tickets line at the museum and enter the museum at Entrance C on Rue de Lille

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