Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay is a museum in Paris, on the Left Bank of the Seine. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. The museum building was originally a railway station, *Gare d’Orsay.

Basic information

It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Berthe Morisot, Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. It is one of the largest art museums in Europe.

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Curators at the Orsay move and swap out some of the art daily, and even large displays such as Impressionist paintings can shift to different floors.  Take one of the free museum brochures as you enter if you want to know current locations of collections, and ask at the Reception Desk if you need more specific information.

Since 2011, the museum has had its own Lady Liberty – look for her soon after you pass through the entrance.

This one, like the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor given to the United States by the people of France in 1886, was created by Frédéric Bartholdi – but unlike the 151 foot (46 m) tall original, this one measures not quite 10 feet tall (slightly under 3 m) and was created more than a decade after the original.

Fun Fact:  You can see two other Statues of Liberty in Paris (map), plus a full-sized golden replica of her torch called the Flame of Liberty near the Pont de l’Alma bridge (map) at Place Diana in the 16th arrondissement.

At any time about 3,000 art pieces are on display within Musee d’Orsay. Within the museum is a 1:100 scale model created by Richard Peduzzi of an aerial view of Paris Opera and surrounding area encapsulated underneath glass flooring that viewers walk on as they proceed through the museum. This installation allows the viewers to understand the city planning of Paris at the time, which has made this attraction one of the most popular within the museum.

One of the Orsay Museum’s best-kept secrets is its Terrasse d’Été – Summer Terrace – perched high above the city with lovely views of the Seine River, the Louvre, and in the distance, even Sacre Coeur perched high on its hill in Montmartre.

To find it, use the escalator, elevator, or stairs near the museum’s entrance and go up to the 5th floor.  Follow the signs to Cafe Compana.  Next to its entrance, you’ll see a narrow passage to the right that leads to the terrace and a small snack bar where you can buy drinks and pastries.

+ More info: WikipediaWikivoyage

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