This wonderful collection covers a variety of art forms from the 1848–1914 period, including a superb Impressionists section. Its setting, in a converted railway station, is equally impressive. Built in 1900, in time for the Paris Exposition, the station was in use until 1939, when it was closed and largely ignored, bar its use as the location for Orson Welles’ 1962 film, The Trial. It was later used as a theatre and as auction rooms, and in the mid-1970s was considered for demolition. In 1977, the Paris authorities decided to save the imposing station building by converting it into this striking museum.

  • 1 rue de la Légiond’Honneur, 75007

  • 01 40 49 48 14


  • Open 9:30am–6pm Tue–Sun (Thu till 9:45pm); closed 1 Jan, 1 May, 25 Dec

  • Admission €8 (under 18s free, under 26s EU only free); combined ticket for museum and temporary exhibitions €9.50 (€7.00 18–25s non-EU). Tickets can be bought online.

Gallery Guide

As soon as you enter the gallery, collect a map of its layout. Escalators near the entrance lead to all three floors. The ground floor houses fine works from the early to mid-19th century, as well as striking Oriental works, decorative arts and a book shop. The middle level includes Naturalist and Symbolist paintings and sculpture terraces. The upper level is home to the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries. Some rooms may be closed for renovation – call ahead.

Musée d’Orsay Upper Level

The busy museum restaurant serves lunch and dinner on Thursdays. For a snack or a drink try the upper level café (Des Hauteurs) or the self-service mezzanine café just above.

Regular music concerts are held. Call 01 40 49 47 50.

Top 10 Features
  1. The Building

    The former railway station which houses this museum is almost as stunning as the exhibits. The light and spacious feel when one first steps inside, after admiring the magnificent old façade, takes one’s breath away.

    Musée d’Orsay façade

  2. Van Gogh Paintings

    The star of the collection is Vincent Van Gogh (1853–90) and the most striking of the canvases on display is the 1889 work showing the artist’s Bedroom at Arles. Also on display are self-portraits, painted with the artist’s familiar intensity (Room 35).

  3. Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe

    Edouard Manet’s (1832–83) controversial painting (1863) was first shown in an “Exhibition of Rejected Works”. Its bold portrayal of a classically nude woman enjoying the company of 19th-century men in suits brought about a wave of criticism (Galerié Seine).

  4. Olympia

    Another Manet portrayal (1865) of a naked courtesan, receiving flowers sent by an admirer, was also regarded as indecent and shocked the public and critics, but it was a great influence on later artists (Room 14).

  5. Blue Waterlilies

    Claude Monet (1840–1926) painted this stunning canvas (1919) on one of his favourite themes. His love of waterlilies led him to create his own garden at Giverny to enable him to paint them in a natural setting. This experimental work inspired many abstract painters later in the 20th century (Room 34).

  6. Degas’ Statues of Dancers

    Edgar Degas’ (1834–1917) sculpted dancers range from the innocent to the erotic. The striking Young Dancer of Fourteen (1881) was the only one exhibited in the artist’s lifetime (Room 31).

  7. Jane Avril Dancing

    Toulouse-Lautrec’s (1864–1901) paintings define Paris’s belle époque. Jane Avril was a Moulin Rouge dancer and featured in several of his works, like this 1895 canvas (Room 47).

  8. Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette

    One of the best-known paintings of the Impressionist era (1876), the exuberance of Renoir’s (1841–1919) work captures the look and mood of Montmartre (Room 32).

  9. La Belle Angèle

    This portrait of a Brittany beauty (1889) by Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) shows the influence of Japanese art on the artist. It was bought by Degas, to finance Gauguin’s first trip to Polynesia (Room 43).

  10. Café des Hauteurs

    As a rest from all the art, the Musée d’Orsay’s café is delightfully situated behind one of the former station’s huge clocks, making a break here an experience in itself. The food is good too.

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