The Musee d'Orsay is Paris impressionism museum. Opened in 1986 in a former train station, Musee d'Orsay exhibits among other treasures 86 paintings by Claude Monet including the Saint-Lazare Station, the Rue Montorgueil in Paris, Celebration of 30 June 1878, Wind Effect, Series of The Poplars, Rouen Cathedral. Harmony in Blue and the Poppy field.
Housed in the former 1900 Orsay train station on the left bank of the Seine river in Paris, the Musee d'Orsay is one of the top impressionist museums in the world, if not the greatest. Its Impressionist collections, including masterpieces by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse Lautrec, are worth the trip to the City of Lights. You can extend your visit to Musee d'Orsay with the visit of Marmottan Museum, a smaller size museum in Paris entirely devoted to Claude Monet, travel by car or on a coach tour to Monet's world famous Giverny Gardens near Paris.
Optimize your visit to Musee d'Orsay. Choose a left bank hotel, a great district at walking distance to Musee d'Orsay.
Built in 1900, the Gare d'Orsay was originally a railway station built for the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orleans, with trains to Bordeaux and the atlantic coast.
The station was finished in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle to the design of three architects: Lucien Magne, Émile Bénard and Victor Laloux. By 1939, the station's short platforms had become unsuitable for the longer trains that had come to be used for mainline services. After 1939 it was used for suburban services. It was then used as a set for several films, such as Kafka's The Trial adapted by Orson Welles. The suggestion was made to turn the station into a museum that would bridge the gap between the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou. The plan was accepted by Georges Pompidou and a study was commissioned in 1974. The museum officially opened in December 1986 by then-president, François Mitterrand.
In the middle of the 19th century, the Academie des Beaux-Arts dominated French art and preserved traditional French painting standards. In the early 1860s, four young painters — Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille — met while studying and discovered that they shared an interest in painting landscape and contemporary life rather than historical or mythological scenes. During the 1860s, the official Salon rejected about half of the works submitted by Monet and his friends in favour of works by artists faithful to the approved style. In 1863, the Salon rejected Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. In December 1873, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Cezanne, Morisot, Degas and other artists decided to exhibit their artworks independently. They participated in a first exhibition, held in April 1874 at the studio of the famous photographer Nadar. Critic Louis Leroy derisively titled his review article The Exhibition of the Impressionists and declared that Monet's painting "Impression, sunrise" was at most, a sketch, and could hardly be termed a finished work. Impressionism was born.
The Impressionists painted in the open air with light colors. They rejected the tradition of painting historical and mythological subjects. The Impressionists abandonned the tradition of reproducing the real world. They used color spots and strokes to suggest an impression of the real world, only perceivable at a distance from the painting.
Most famous impressionnist painters are well represented in Orsay Museum with key masterpieces.
Paris metro: Metro station Solferino
Locate Orsay Museum on Paris map.
Open Tuesdays to Sundays 9.30am to 6pm (9.45 on Thursdays). Ticket price: 12 euros.
Buy tickets online.
Two restaurants in Orsay: Orsay Restaurant. Nice decor. Seine view. Cafe Campana. Beautiful. Snacks and pastries.