Orsay Museum

Snapshot

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Prices & Opening Times

Prices

Full price €16
EU visitors under 26: Free
Paris Museum Pass holders: Free

Free on the 1st Sunday of every month

Tickets Cancelation Policy

Official website: non-refundable

Affiliated partner: free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance. Buy ticket here for €17

Opening times

Tuesday – Sunday: 9.30 am to 6.00 pm

On Thursdays, closes at 9.45 pm

Closed on…
Mondays
1st May and 25th December

Last admission at 5 pm

Highlights & Photos

Highlights
  • “Blue Waterlilies” by Claude Monet (1916-1919)
  • “Starry Night Over the Rhône” by Vincent Van Gogh (1888)
  • “The Basin at Argenteuil” by Claude Monet ( c. 1872)
  • Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe/ Luncheon on the Grass by Édouard Manet (1863)
  • Dinner at the Ball by Edgar Degas (1879)
  • Dance in the Country by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1883)
  • The Clock
Photos

How to get there

Metro: Solférino station (line 12)
Rer: Musée d’Orsay station (line C)
Bus: 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, 87, 94
Vélib‘: Musée d’Orsay
Car park: Carrousel du Louvre, Bac Montalembert

Eat & Drink nearby

Musée d’Orsay restaurant

First floor of the museum

Serves traditional French cuisine

Tuesday – Sunday

Lunch: 11.45 am to 2.35 pm

Tea time: 14.45 am to 17.30 pm

Thursdays

Evening menu: 7 to 9.30 pm

Lunch menu | Evening menu

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Full Guide

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The galleries of the Musée d’Orsay are spread out over three distinct levels:

  • The ground floor runs parallel to the museum’s central nave.
  • The terraces of the median level lead to other exhibition spaces.
  • The upper floor is set up above the museum’s entrance.

There is a cafe, a bookstore, and a theatre, all within the museum’s walls.

1898-1900: The Gare d’Orsay train station is built in Paris, designed by architect Victor Laloux with luggage ramps and elevators. A 400-room Hotel d’Orsay is also built next door.
1939: The station becomes outdated due to the growing demand for railway electrification, and is used mainly for suburban trains. It is briefly used as a mail processing facility during World War II.
1962: Orson Wells shoots the film The Trial in the abandoned station.
1970s: Plans are made to demolish the station and replace it with a modern hotel, but protests from preservationists lead to the cancellation of the demolition
1977/78: The French government announces plans to convert the station into a museum. ACT Architecture Group was hired. Gaetana Aulenti designed the Interior.
1980s: Extensive renovations are made to the building to prepare it for use as a museum, including the installation of air conditioning, the addition of a new floor, and the creation of an underground space for administrative offices and storage.
1986: The Musée d’Orsay opens to the public for the first time, showcasing art from the period 1848 to 1914. The museum’s collection includes works by artists such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Gauguin.
2009-2011: The museum undergoes a major renovation to improve color and ilumination, enhance security, and update the climate control system. A two-year renovation costing €20m
2016: The museum celebrates its 30th anniversary.

“Starry Night Over the Rhône” by Vincent Van Gogh (1888)

  • Painted by Vincent van Gogh on the bank of the Rhône River, which was only a minute or two’s walk from his rented Yellow House on the Place Lamartine.
  • Van Gogh was fascinated by the challenge of painting at night at this time
  • He positioned himself to capture the shimmering blue water of the Rhône River reflecting Arles’ gas lighting
  • In the foreground, two lovebirds can be seen taking a romantic stroll down the riverbank.
  • Vincent placed a high value on color depiction and regularly wrote to his brother Theo about the hues he used in his paintings.
  • The sparkling colors of the night sky and the innovative artificial lighting of the time are brilliantly captured in Van Gogh night paintings, including in this ” Starry Night Over the Rhône “

“The Basin at Argenteuil” by Claude Monet ( c. 1872)

  • Monet lived in Argenteuil from 1871 to 1878
  • He painted numerous scenes of the Seine and its environs during this time
  • “The Basin at Argenteuil” was completed by Monet in 1874
  • This was the same year as the first Impressionist show in Paris
  • Monet used choppy, irregular brushstrokes and complementary colours to imply movement and light
  • The sky and reflections make up the bulk of the scene
  • The ever-changing sky, swaying river, falling leaves, and floating yacht add to the impression of fleetingness

Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe/ Luncheon on the Grass by Édouard Manet (1863)

  • The painting is called “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe” or “Luncheon on the Grass”
  • The painting features a naked young lady in the front,  another naked lady in the distance and two men are depicted in street clothes
  • It caused controversy and was heavily condemned. The controversy arose not because of the nudity (common in French painting of the time), but because of its combination with the two men.

Dinner at the Ball by Edgar Degas (1879)

  • Edgar Degas replicated Adolph Menzel’s “Dinner at the Ball” in his own painting.
  • Menzel’s original painting was completed in 1878 and displayed in Paris the following year.
  • Menzel was a German artist, and his painting was shown alongside other works by German artists.
  • Degas likely found Menzel’s painting appealing due to its uplifting subject matter and impressive lighting effects.

The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer by Edgar Degas

  • The sculpture depicted a contemporary subject, which was a student dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet.
  • Edgar Degas started working on a sculpture of a young Belgian dancer named Marie van Goethem in the 1880s.
  • Marie was a student at the Paris Opera Ballet Academy.
  • The sculpture was unique because it was essentially a wax figurine clothed in genuine clothing.

Dance in the Country by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1883)

  • The artwork is dominated by the life-sized figures of the two dancers, but a table, a hat, and two faces lying on the floor are visible in the right background.
  • The woman in the painting holds a fan in her right hand and smiles directly at the camera.
  • Renoir painted a companion piece called Dance at Bougival in the same year.

Olympia by Édouard Manet (1863)

  • The artwork depicts a naked woman named “Olympia” resting on a bed.
  • In the painting, a servant brings Olympia flowers.
  • Models Victorine Meurent and Laure portrayed Olympia and her servant.
  • Olympia was initially shown at the 1865 Paris Salon.
  • The painting shocked viewers at the time due to Olympia’s threatening stare and the indication that she was a prostitute.

Blue Waterlilies by Claude Monet (1916-1919)

  • This was one of Monet’s favorite subjects.
  • Monet had a garden and a small pond on his property where he cultivated these plants. This space was a source of inspiration for him.
  • The square format of the canvas and the absence of a frame convey a sense of infinity.

The Clock

  • The massive and still-working clock and six sets of bronze allegorical sculptures decorate the interior square.
  • The famous Louvre clock is 24 feet in diameter
  • The side facing the Seine and the Louvre and the side facing the Tuileries Garden have clocks incorporated into the building’s design
  • The centre of the Louvre clock is constructed of glass
  • Visitors may take in the beautiful view from the museum’s rooftop observation deck

There are several main attractions that are located near the Orsay museum, including:

  • Les Invalides (15 min walk): Complex of buildings is home to several museums, including the Musée de l’Armée, which features an extensive collection of military artefacts, and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • The Louvre Museum (10 min walk): World-famous museum is located just a short walk away from the Orangerie museum. It is home to a vast collection of art and artifacts from around the world, including the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
  • Pont Alexandre II (10 min walk): Bridge near the Orangerie museum known for its Art Nouveau lamps, sculptures, and decorations.
  • Pont Neuf (15 min walk): Iconic bridge spans the Seine River and offers great views of the city. It’s also a popular spot for street performers and artists.
  • The Tuileries Gardens (15 min walk): These beautiful gardens are located just across the street from the Louvre Museum and are a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Le Bon Marché (15 min walk): This is one of the oldest and most famous department stores in Paris, dating back to 1852. It offers a wide range of luxury goods, including fashion, home decor, and gourmet food.
  • Place Vendôme (10 min walk): Square known for its luxury shops and fine dining. It also features the Vendôme Column, which was erected by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz.
  • Place de la Concorde (10 min walk): Located just outside the Tuileries Gardens, this historic square is known for its impressive fountains and the Luxor Obelisk, which was gifted to France by Egypt in the 19th century.
  • Palais-Royal (15 min walk): A former royal palace, this historic building now houses the Council of State and the Ministry of Culture. You can also explore the lovely gardens and arcades.
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés (15 min walk):  This historic neighbourhood is home to many designer boutiques and independent shops selling everything from fashion and accessories to art and antiques.
Temporary Exhibitions

Pastels
From Millet to Redon
14 March 2023 – 2 July 2023
Seine Gallery, Level 0

Manet / Degas
28 March 2023 – 23 July 2023
Seine Gallery, Level 0

Experience more in Paris

Louvre Museum
Eiffel Tower
Fontainebleau castle
Moulin Rouge Show
Seine Cruise
Versailles Daytrip

Frequently Asked Questions

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The Orsay Museum (Musée d’Orsay) is a world-renowned art museum in Paris, France, that specializes in the art of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is located in a stunning Beaux-Arts building that was once a train station.

The Orsay Museum’s collection includes an impressive array of works from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Art Nouveau movements, among others. You can see paintings, sculptures, furniture, and decorative arts by famous artists such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir or Van Gogh.

The Orsay Museum is open every day except Mondays from 9:30 am to 6 pm. On Thursdays, it stays open until 9:45 pm.

The Orsay Museum is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is easily accessible by public transportation, including the Metro (line 12, Solférino station) and the RER (line C, Musée d’Orsay station).

Admission fees vary depending on age and nationality. However, general admission for adults is 17 euros, and admission is free for visitors under 18 years old.

If you purchase your tickets online via the official website it is not possible to change or cancel the ticket (as described in the conditions of sale).

Our affiliate partner allows cancellation up to 24 hours before for a full refund. You can buy the ticket for €17 (instead of the €16 from the official website) here.

Yes, the Orsay Museum has a gift shop where you can purchase books, souvenirs, and prints related to the museum’s collections and exhibitions.

Yes, the Orsay Museum has two restaurants and several cafes where you can enjoy a meal or a snack. The museum’s restaurant, located on the top floor, offers stunning views of Paris.