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Musée d'Orsay

Major 19th- & 20th-century European art collections housed in a monumental, former railway station in Paris, France.

Musée d’Orsay is a majestic, modern museum located on the left bank of the Seine, in central Paris that contains the greatest art from the latter half of the 19th century.

HISTORY

The Musée d’Orsay was originally a ‘Beaux-Arts’ railway station, called Gare d’Orsay, that was built for the Exposition Universelle, the World Fair, that took place from 1889 until 1900. The Gare d’Orsay railway station was built for convenience for those traveling to the fair. It was designed as a hotel and railway, with the charming hotel masking the modern metallic features that come with a railway station, it was able to blend in with the nobility of the buildings that surrounded it. After 1939 the railway station was outdated, however, it continued to serve alternative purposes such as a mailing center whilst the hotel remained open in full function. Upon the closing of the hotel in the late 1970s, the railway station was destined in its entirety to be demolished, and replaced by a new, more modern hotel. It was then that the Direction des Musées de France intervened, as they needed a new museum and with the new found interest in 19th-century architecture, the Gare d’Orsay was rescued and turned into the Musée d’Orsay.

FEATURES

It was opened on the 6th of December 1986 and holds national collections from other museums like; Le Louvre, La Musée de Jeu de Paume and the national museum of modern art. The Musée d’Orsay is known as the city’s museum of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, featuring the work of Monet, Cezanne, Seurat and much more. The collections found at the Musée d’Orsay range through paintings, sculptures, graphic arts, and photography, naturally, though the Musée d’Orsay is considered to be the first piece of art itself displaying the innovative designs of its time.

TIMES AND PRICES

It is open daily, except for Mondays, from 9:30 am until 6 pm and closes at 9 pm on a Thursday evening. Admission is free to the public on every first Sunday of the month. It is also free if you are under the age of 18 if you are a citizen or EU member between the ages of 18 and 25 if you are disabled physically, and if you are unemployed. Otherwise, regular admission costs 12€. For the financially savvy traveler there is a reduced cost of the entrance at 9€, if you go after 4:30 in the afternoon any day except Thursday, which you can then enter after 6 pm. This will also be most suitable for those who do not like crowds as the museum is busiest between 11 am and 5 pm. There are guided or audio tours that are available to purchase as well. As extra entertainment, besides the beautiful architecture and art, there are lovely cafes that are conveniently situated inside the Musée d’Orsay where you can enjoy a yummy snack or even meal with a beautiful view of the city. As one of Paris’s more recent museums, it is definitely one of the places to visit whilst touring.

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