Musée d'Orsay (Art Museum)

Musée d'Orsay, located in a former railroad station, is one of the most popular art museums in Paris

Expansive interior of Musée d'Orsay
Expansive interior of Musée d'Orsay cc licensed photo by Dimitry B

The Musee d'Orsay is a magnificent art museum situated on the left bank of the Seine River running through the heart of Paris. If you are visiting Paris as a tourist, then stopping off at the Musee d'Orsay is an absolute must, in fact if you have decided that you have to visit the world famous Louvre museum then you should most definitely visit the Musee d'Orsay in order to really get the full experience of significant art works within Paris.

The Musee d'Orsay was originally a railway station known as the Gare d'Orsay, completed in 1909 and served as the main terminus for the trains servicing the railways to south western France up until 1939. The building has been used over the years for many different purposes including as a partial mailing room during the Second World War, as a backdrop and set for several films including Franz Kafka's The Trial and as a sort of headquarters for the Renaud-Barrault Theatre Company.

In 1970 plans were put in motion to demolish the entire building and the green light was given to commence demolition, however, the timely intervention of the then minister for cultural affairs, Jacques Duhamel, prevented its demolition in order to make way for a new hotel. Instead the building was added to a list of historic buildings and saved for many generations to come.

In 1974 it was suggested that the building be converted into a museum in order to create a bridge between the Louvre and the modern art museum and so the Musee d'Orsay was born and is today one of the most popular museums in Paris. Extensive work was carried out on both the exterior as well as the interior of the museum however the original railway station look was maintained in terms of the huge, rather cavernous space which provides vast amounts of light, perfect for viewing works of art.

Nearby attractions: Jardin des Tuileries, Le Musée des Arts Decoratifs and Musée de l'Orangerie

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes - Free entry with the Paris Pass.

Open Now: No

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:30 AM – 9:45 PM
  • Friday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

Phone: 01 40 49 48 14

Official Website: Musée d'Orsay (Art Museum)

Directions

Metro / RER Line Nearest Station Walking Time
M12Solférino Station4 minutes
RER-CMusée d'Orsay0 minutes

How to get to Musée d'Orsay (Art Museum) by Metro / RER

By Metro: Exit Metro Line 12 at Solférino Station and walk north on Rue de Bellechasse to the museum entrance.

By RER C: The exit at Musée d'Orsay Station is located right in front of the entrance to the musum.

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Reviews

Rated 4.5 out of 5

5 Star Rating I loved visiting this gorgeous museum. It used to be a very grand train station, but has been turned into a large art gallery, housing some of the most famous impressionist works in the world. Visitors with large rucksacks are required to drop them off in the cloakroom. The museum is free for under 24 year olds, which was much appreciated! Well worth a visit, though expect queues. The gift shops are well stocked and offer a large range of items. Postcards a little expensive (compared to museums in London).

Perdita Andrew - 16 days ago

5 Star Rating In my opinion, this is the best museum in Paris. I would go here ahead of the Louvre. Yes, the Louvre has an amazing collection; however, it is also huge and can be overwhelming. The Orsay was much more manageable but no less impressive. The collection is incredible and you will see more "recognizable" works and artists (more modern) than at the Louvre. I realize that both have their place and I greatly enjoyed both but I would visit here ahead of the Louvre.

Dan Bradfield - 19 days ago

5 Star Rating I don't consider myself an art lover. And this is the first museum in Paris I visited. But I must say it's beautiful. Bought a museum pass, earlier at the airport and got the shorter queue to enter. Was supposed to hit as many museum to get my money's worth but in the end I spent pretty much the whole day here.

Kabir Hanifa - 26 days ago

5 Star Rating Best museum experience in years. To begin, the building is EPIC, retaining much of it's open, massive railroad station grandeur from the past. The ceiling glows with light and structure like many other great rail stations, and brought to mind Grand Central, Union Station, Barcelona, etc - clearly I'm a fan, but even moderate interest will find much to love here in architecture alone. Then there is the art. Having been at the Louvre the previous day, I was prepared to be underwhelmed - pleasant surprise! It was a better experience in every way, no offense to the incredible Louvre. The art was more accessible and present, the security and crowds more manageable, displays had amazing depth and well organized. It was just excellent in so many ways, and a return trip is something I look forward to. You will miss a wonderful experience if you leave this off your list, in my opinion. Additional note, the restaurant upstairs was a lovely environment, food was simple but good, and service was fine.

Ken Simons - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating I cannot encourage you enough to go to this museum if you are in Paris. The Louvres is probably more famous, and it's another place you have to see in Paris is, but I enjoyed this just as much maybe more. The line to get in was pretty long. I saw one woman reading a book, if that gives an idea of the time in line, but it's well with it. The art was so amazing it took my breath away. I'm a big fan of impressionists, and this is impressionist heaven. But there are lots of other awe inspiring pieces of art. The building is beautiful and comfortable. Don't miss this if you are in Paris.

Beth Copeland - 2 months ago

Video


Video about the Musée d'Orsay and its focus on the age of impressionism

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