The Musée d’Orsay (officially “public establishment of the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie – Valéry Giscard d’Estaing” since 2021) is a national museum in Paris (France) inaugurated in 1986.

Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris along the left bank of the Seine, overlooking the Édouard-Glissant promenade, it is located in the former Orsay station, built by Victor Laloux from 1898 to 1900 and redeveloped into a museum by decision of the President of the Republic Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

Its collections present Western art from 1848 to 1914, in all its diversity: painting, sculpture, decorative arts, graphic art, photography, architecture, etc.

It is one of the largest museums in Europe.

The museum has the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the world, with nearly 1,100 paintings in total out of more than 3,650 in its possession.

The public can see masterpieces of painting and sculpture such as Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe and l’Olympia by Édouard Manet, a print of La Petite Danseuse de fourteen ans by Degas, L’Origine du world, A Funeral in Ornans, The Painter’s Studio by Courbet, The Card Players by Cézanne or even five paintings from the Rouen Cathedral Series by Monet and Bal du moulin de la Galette by Renoir.

Temporary monographic or thematic exhibitions periodically concerning the work of an artist, a movement or a question of art history are often set up.

An auditorium hosts various events, concerts, cinema, shadow theater, conferences and symposia and shows specifically aimed at young audiences.

In 2022 the museum had 3.2 million visitors, up from 1.4 million in 2021. It was the sixth-most-visited art museum in the world in 2022, and second-most-visited art museum in France, after the Louvre museum.

The museum building was originally a railway station, Gare d’Orsay, located next to the Seine river. Built on the site of the Palais d’Orsay, its central location was convenient for commuting travelers. The station was constructed for the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans and finished in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle to the design of three architects: Lucien Magne, Émile Bénard and Victor Laloux.

It was the terminus for the railways of southwestern France until 1939. By 1939 the station’s short platforms had become unsuitable for the longer trains that had come to be used for mainline services. In the 1970s work began on building a 1 km-long tunnel under the station as part of the creation of line C of the Paris metro and the RER with a new station under the old station.

In 1970, permission was granted to demolish the station but Jacques Duhamel, Minister for Cultural Affairs, ruled against plans to build a new hotel in its stead. The station was put on the supplementary list of Historic Monuments and finally listed in 1978. The suggestion to turn the station into a museum came from the Directorate of the Museum of France.

Address: Esplanade Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, 75007 Paris, France.

Hours:

Monday Closed
Tuesday 9:30 AM–6 PM
Wednesday 9:30 AM–6 PM
Thursday 9:30 AM–9:45 PM
Friday 9:30 AM–6 PM
Saturday 9:30 AM–6 PM
Sunday 9:30 AM–6 PM

See more:

20 arrondissements of Paris

Architecture of Paris

Museums of Paris

Entertainment in Paris

Bridges in Paris

Parks in Paris

Streets and squares in Paris

Shopping in Paris

Transport in Paris

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