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The Orsay museum in Paris

In 1980 the Gare d'Orsay (a former train station) was definitively closed and it was decided to accommodate a museum in this beautiful building. Only six years later, the Italian architect Gae Aulenti already succeeded in bringing this project to a successful conclusion. Nowadays, this is one of the most visited museums in Paris (after the Louvre of course). And that of course has a lot to do with the amazing collections you'll find here. With artworks by Rodin, Manet, Munch, Moreau, Van Gogh and much more, this is a museum of the highest possible level!

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Musée d'Orsay orsay museum

The must see’s of the Orsay collection

With thousands of paintings and hundreds of sculptures there is more than enough to see for everyone. Every year, more than three million people visit the Orsay museum in Paris and that has a lot to do with the beautiful art you can find there.
The most beautiful works of art in the Musée d’Orsay are of course from the great masters. But who and what is really worth a visit? I would like to give you some tips:

Vincent van Gogh

The works of Vincent van Gogh are probably the most famous ones you’ll find in the Orsay collection. You can find no fewer than 27 paintings from this impressionist in this museum! Especially his self-portraits (there are several), ‘Starry Sky over the Rhone’, ‘The Church of Auvers’ and ‘Siesta’ are impressive. But his lesser-known works are also a feast for the eyes.
Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh, now one of the great painters of the nineteenth century, had little success during his life? He sold only one painting and that only a few months before his death… The big collection that you can see here is supplemented by dozens of other works in other museums around the world. All his paintings were finished in ten years.
In Paris, Van Gogh’s artworks can also be seen in the Louvre and the Musée Rodin.

orsay museum van gogh

One of the famous self-portraits of Vincent Van Gogh at the Orsay Museum in Paris.

Édouard Manet

Édouard Manet is one of the greatest painters France ever knew. With 34 paintings you can see a lot of his beautiful works here. This painter was mainly characterized by paintings in realism and impressionism. In contrast to van Gogh, Manet was indeed recognized when he was still alive.
The most famous works by Manet that you’ll find in the Musée d’Orsay include ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe’, ‘Olympia’ and ‘The balcony’.

manet musee d'orsay

Some works by Edouard Manet in the Musée d’Orsay. The middle one is the famous ‘The balcony’.

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne is another great French painter. His masterpieces belong to modernism, but also impressionism. During his life, Cézanne was often laughed at and criticized, but he still had quite a lot of success. As it goes with artists, his works were found to be masterpieces only after his death.
There are 56 paintings by Paul Cézanne in the Orsay museum. Some of his most famous works in the Musée d’Orsay include: ‘The card players’, ‘Still life with onions’, ‘Les Baigneurs’, …

cezanne orsay museum paris

There is much to tell about Cézanne and his works of art!

Auguste Rodin

This French impressionist sculptor may ring a bell. That’s probably due to his most famous sculpture, ‘The Thinker’. You can currently view this statue in the Rodin Museum (also in Paris). However, much of the art of this sculptor can also be seen in the Orsay museum of Paris. His Impressionist sculptures are very noticeable because of the irregular surface, so that it sometimes seems as if the images come to life due to the light falling on the statues in a rather weird way. The gates of hell, l’Age d’airain and l’Hiver are just some of Rodin’s works that you should definitely see in the Musée d’Orsay.

auguste rodin museum orsay

In just about every corridor and on each floor you’ll find some of the raw sculptures by Auguste Rodin.

Claude Monet

Monet is of course not to be confused with Manet. This painter was able to practice his profession for more than 60 years, and as a result he even caused a real tilt in the painting world. He’s even seen as the founder of Impressionism. Landscapes, still lifes, portraits, … Almost everything is covered in the works of Manet. Poppies, La pie, La Gare Saint-Lazare and the bridge at Argenteuil were my favorite works by Monet at the Musée d’Orsay. But there are of course many more masterpieces on display!

claude money musee d'orsay

The pastel shades of Claude Monet fascinate young and old in the Musée d’Orsay!

Edgar Degas

Of course, this well-known Parisian was also an impressionist painter and sculptor. Well, in fact he’s also considered a realist painter, but the impressionistic characteristics in his paintings and sculptures are still clear. There are no fewer than 43 paintings from this famous painter to be seen here! The ballet class, The absinthe drinker and the Bellelli family are his most famous works, but his lesser-known paintings are real masterpieces too! The cute sculptures are also masterful.

degas orsay museum paris

Degas liked to be inspired by dancing ladies!

Gustave Caillebotte

I had never actually heard of this painter, but when I saw his work ‘Les raboteurs de parquet’ here, I was very impressed. In total he has 7 paintings in the Musée d’Orsay, but the above painting is really his absolute masterpiece.

les raboteurs de parquet musee d'orsay paris

This was one of my favorite works of art in the museum. Les raboteurs de parquet by Gustave Caillebotte.

Orsay museum tickets

A ticket for the Musée d’Orsay costs €12. With this admission ticket you can enter that same day.
If you prefer to buy a ticket with which you can skip the queues, you pay €15.50.
If you would like to buy a combi-ticket for the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée d’Orangerie, you pay €16, or €20 for a skip-the-line ticket.

A priority ticket and audioguide costs €37 per person if you book online and in advance.
For a priority ticket with a guide in the Musée d’Orsay you pay almost € 55.

There are also possibilities to visit the Musée d’Orsay free of charge. For example, access is free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month, but young people (up to 25 years old) with an identity card from the EU can also enter for free. Also -18 year olds can enter for free.

If you’re planning to visit several museums and places of interest in Paris, I recommend buying a Paris Museum Pass.
These passes are valid for 2, 4 or 6 days and start at €53 per person. With these special passes you get free access to more than 60 museums and sights in Paris. It includes the Musée d’Orsay, but also the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the Arc de Triomphe, the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle and much more. In total the cost price of this card is much cheaper than paying all admission prices separately.


Musée d’Orsay opening hours

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:30 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening. On Thursdays you can visit the museum until 09:45 pm. The museum will also be closed on 1 May and 25 December.

musee d'orsay le theatre d'ombres du chat noir

A lot of attention is also paid to ‘Le Théâtre d’Ombres du chat noir’ in the museum.

6 Fun facts about the Musée d’Orsay in Paris

  1. The Musée d’Orsay was a former train station. That means that it’s therefore quite a big museum! The hall is 140 meters (459 ft) long, 40 meters (131 ft) wide and 32 meters (105 ft) high. To design this beautiful building, more than 12,000 tons of steel were used! That’s even more than what was used in the Eiffel Tower!
  2. The train station fell into disuse because the train equipment became longer and longer, so that the wagons could no longer fit in the Gare d’Orsay. In order not to leave this beautiful building empty, it was also used as a car park, theater and even as a center for prisoners of war. For a moment it looked like the Gare d’Orsay was going to be demolished, but luckily it was soon decided to turn into a museum!
  3. The largest part of the museum consists of French art between 1848 and 1914.
  4. Most of the works you see here were once located in other museums. The most important ‘donors’ are the Louvre, the Musée du Jeu de Paume and the National Museum of Modern Arts (which has now been relocated entirely into the Center Pompidou).
  5. If you like impressionism, then you should definitely visit the Musée d’Orsay! Here you can find the largest collection of impressionist paintings in the world. There are almost 1100 Impressionist works of art.
  6. There are two restaurants in the museum. Reservations aren’t necessary, but a look inside certainly is!
restaurant orsay museum paris

In this restaurant you can eat something tasty before you continue to look at the art.

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  1. Pritik Umari says:

    Thanks for sharing Musée d’Orsay museum Amazing experience with us, The Musée d’Orsay is a national museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of the Seine opposite the Louvre and facing towards the river. We can See many Historical paintings in this museum.

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