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1 Rue Légion d’Honneur (Quai Anatole France), 7th
M° Solferino or RER C Musée d’Orsay
Tel 01 40 49 48 14
Formerly a train station, the Musée d’Orsay now houses a permanent collection of mostly French art from the period 1848-1914, including Art Nouveau, Impressionism, Rodin sculptures, a photography gallery, and models of architectural arts such as the Opéra Garnier (including a replica of the original ceiling fresco covered by Chagall’s modern painting in 1964).
Opening Hours: Daily except Monday 9:30am-6pm (Thursdays until 9:45pm). Closed January 1, May 1, and December 25.
Tickets: €8 for full-day access to the permanent collection; reduced rate is €5.50 for visitors 18-25, and for everyone on Sundays and after 4:15pm (after 8pm Thursdays). Museum Pass accepted. Tickets for the permanent and temporary exhibition passes are €10 (€7.50 reduced rate; €2 for Museum Pass holders and teachers with ID). Combined tickets with the Orangerie €13. Combined ticket with the Musée Rodin €12. Discounts at the Musée Gustave Moreau and the Grand Palais with your Orsay ticket stub.
Free Entrance: Free to kids under 18, disabled visitors and their guests, art teachers (with teacher ID, except for temporary exhibitions), European Union students 18-25 with ID card, and journalists (with press card). The Musée d’Orsay is free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month.
Entrances: Individual visitors without a ticket should enter at Porte A (facing the Seine), those with pre-purchased tickets, Museum Passes, or free entrance should enter at Porte C (facing away from the Seine).
Info and Services: There’s a free coat and small bag check (also for umbrellas, but no cameras or valuables). Strollers and wheelchairs available. There’s also a regular schedule of concerts, films and shows in the museum auditorium. Guided tours are available in English for an additional €6.50. English guidebooks to the museum can be purchased in the bookshop at the front entrance. Multi-lingual audioguides are available for €5.
A Bit of History
Originally a train station built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, it was closed in 1939 because modern trains grew too large for the station. After almost being torn down, it reopened as a museum in 1986 to house collections of art from the period 1848-1914. The main hall still has the feel of a train station, especially with the giant glass and iron clock on the arched glass wall. The side rooms are more intimate and group paintings and decorative arts by style.
Don’t miss the ornately gilded Salle des Fêtes, which was once part of the hotel built adjacent to the train station. The same décor of wooden floors, marble columns, ceiling frescos and crystal chandeliers can be found in the romantic museum restaurant overlooking the Seine (lunch 11:45am-2:30pm, tearoom 3:30pm-5:30pm excluding Thursdays, dinner Thursdays 7pm-9:30pm). There’s also a more simply decorated café on the 5th floor and a self-service snack bar on the upper level mezzanine.
Some great panoramic views of the Louvre, Tuileries, and Sacré-Coeur can be seen from the windows on the 5th floor, notably from rooms 33, 31 and 28. Visitors could easily see the entire collection in this museum in a half-day; but arrive at opening time to avoid long lines.
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