The Musee d’Orsay in Paris’ city center houses some of the most famous historic works of art in the world. Though the Louvre is the first place tourists flock to when choosing their museum destinations in the city, the Musee d’Orsay is also quite vast with collections ranging from Renaissance classics to contemporary modern pieces. If you’re planning a visit to the d’Orsay, I would recommend leaving at least a four or five hour window to see the museum, but you could easily spend two full days enjoying the artwork.
What was once a railway station and an opera house, the Museum building has its own interesting history, including its role as the central deportation center for the Jewish and disenfranchised victims of World War II. The Museum now is comprised of six levels, each with seemingly endless rooms, separated by the school of artwork displayed, the artists, and the time periods. The collections of work include many of the greats, such as Degas, Monet, Manet, Sisley, Pissarro, Bazille, Caillebotte, van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir and countless others. If you’re a fan of impressionist, skip the Louvre and head straight to the d’Orsay. The paintings are breathtaking to see in person and the crowds are completely manageable. Additionally, the sculpture collection of the museum is quite impressive, with the largest pieces on display in the main center visible from all floors of the museum. There is also a large focus on architecture and design, including a room of furniture from an upper class home in the 1800’s. For a full list of collections, visit http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/overview.html.
If you’re a European under the age of 26 or a student traveler attending a European University, admission is free! For everyone else, tickets range from 9 – 12 euro with options for groups, and joint passes for 15 e to other museums like the Rodin.
Photo credit: Amy Wiener