Located on the West Bank of the Seine in Paris, the Musée d'Orsay opened in 1986. Housing the largest collection of paintings from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist period, the museum is in the repurposed buildings of the Gare d'Orsay railway station built from 1898 to 1900. By 1939 the building became obsolete, as trains became longer. It was adapted for commuter trains and remained in use until the late 1960’s, when it was slated for demolition. Preserved by a Minister of Cultural Affairs, the building was declared an historic monument.
In the ensuing years, there were no concrete plans for the use of the building until a proposal was made by the board of museums to fill the gap between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art. The renovation of the Gare d'Orsay railway station involved creating new floor space that would befit the extensive art collections that did not have a permanent home. The redesign which began in 1981, was completed July of 1986, the Musée d'Orsay has 220,000 square feet of floorspace over 4 floors. Some relics from it’s railway station past remain in place such as the famous clock designed by Victor Laloux in 1900.
In preparation for the opening of the Musée d'Orsay, it took nearly 6 months for museum curators and staff to install the over 2000 paintings, 600 sculptures, photography, architecture and other works of French Art including furnishings. An ongoing renovation and modernization project is currently underway at the Musée d'Orsay. Enhanced by current renovation, the model of the Statue of Liberty, by Auguste Bartholdi has been relocated to the entrance of the museum. This iconic model of the Statue of Liberty now welcomes the visitor to the Musée d'Orsay.
La Dame aux eventails by Edouard Manet 1873
La Meridienne dit aussi La Sieste by Vincent Van Gogh
La Moisson a Montfoucault by Camille Pissarro 1876
La Nuit etoilee by Vincent Van Gogh 1888
Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe by Claude Monet
Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe by Edouard Manet 1863
Le Jardin de l'artiste a Giverny Claude Monet 1900
Meules, fin de l'ete by Claude Monet 1890
Pommes et oranges by Paul Cezanne 1899
Portrait de l'artiste by Vincent Van Gogh
The Church at Auvers by Vincent van Gogh 1890
Paintings by Alfred Sisley
Arearea dit aussi Joyeusetes I by Paul Gauguin 1892
Bal du moulin de la Galette by Auguste Renoir 1876
Femmes de Tahiti di aussi Sur la plage by Paul Gauguin 1891
La Cathedrale de Rouen by Claude Monet 1892
The extensive permanent collection is a who’s who in Impressionism and post Impressionism art and includes works by Édouard Manet (34 Paintings), Edgar Degas (43 Paintings), Paul Cézanne (56 Paintings), Claude Monet (86 Paintings), Vincent van Gogh (24 Paintings) and over 50 other period painters. Major sculptors represented in permanent exhibitions at Musée d'Orsay include such notables as Paul Gauguin, Camille Claudel, and Sarah Bernhardt. This impressive collection, unique architecture and artistic heritage makes the Musee d’Orsay the best museum ranked number one in the world by Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award 2018
Bernard Palissy by Charles Octave Levy Sculteur and
Theodore Deck ceramiste 1876
Le Conseil s’amuse by Jean Desire Ringel d’Illzach sculpteur and
Emile Muller & Cie editeur ceramiste 1903
Porte de l'Enfer by August Rodin 1880-1917
L'Abime by Just Becquet 1901
Le Printemps sous les traits de Flore Fabrique de Nicolas Fouquay 1730
Le Prix du Tournoi by Henry Cros 1873
Les chasseurs d'aigles by Jules Coutan 1900
Les Chasseurs d'alligators ou Les Nubiens by Ernest Barrias 1894
Monument a Cezanne by Aristide Maillol 1912-1925
Mediterranee by Aristide Maillol 1923-1927
Vir temporis acti by Adolfo Wildt 1921
Special Events are held throughout the year which include Featured Exhibitions, Lectures, Symposiums, Concerts, Cinematic presentations and Shows. For visitors on limited schedules, guided tours are available. The museum has a bookshop-gift store with audio guides for those that wish to tour the museum at their own pace while still experiencing the history and critiques of the art work.
Petite danseuse de quatorze ans by Edgar Degas 1921-1931
Gerome executant Les Gladiateurs by Jean-Leon Gerome and Aime Morot
Essai de figure en plein-air: Femme a l’ombrelle tournee vers la droite by Claude Monet 1886
Maure Anonyme 1611-1612
Negre du Soudan by Charles Cordier 1856-1857
When planning your visit to the Musée d'Orsay, remember that it is closed on Mondays. Visitors can spend the day without even leaving this grand museum to dine. The Museum features two cafés, The Café Campana and Café de l’Ours, with a formal dining experience at Restaurant Musée d'Orsay. Not your typical dining museum experience, all three choices are open during museum hours. Café de l’Ours features salads, sandwiches, cakes, ice-creams and of course pastries, it is Paris after all. The setting of Café de l’Ours is informal with views of a sculpture exhibition room.
The Café Campana was designed by Brazilian Designers, Fernando and Humberto Campana, who didn’t miss the opportunity to be inspired by The Art Nouveau of Emile Gallé, highlighting the Café with a dream like setting that incorporates art and functionality. The Café Campana features the classic menu of a French brasserie with soup, appetizers, grand salads, pasta dishes, main courses and desserts. Classic French food in an artistic setting is the hallmark of The Café Campana, located just beyond the Gallery of the Impressionists.
Restaurant Musée d'Orsay is in the former restaurant of Hôtel d'Orsay on the first floor of the museum. This is one of those restaurants that is a must visit. Exquisite chandeliers are overshadowed by the painted and gilded ceilings of this Historic Monumental treasure. Classic, oversized floor to ceiling windows crafted in the 1900’s offer sensational views of Paris, unobstructed daylight and dazzling twilight. Night time views from this one of a kind restaurant are available on Thursday nights when service continues into the night.
Pink Iced Burokas soup – Iced beetroot soup, Riga sprat, horseradish, rye tile
Grilled Salmon with puree and carrot chips
Currently Chef Yann Landureau offers guests traditional French Cuisine with special selections that are inspired by the current events of the museum. Chef Landureau did not forget the children, there is a special menu for those under 10. Adults can enjoy a 3-course meal prepared daily or select from a menu that includes Parisian classics. Start your meal with a classic French Pink Iced Burokas soup – Iced beetroot soup, Riga sprat, horseradish, rye tile. Next, move on to an appetizer that only a French Chef can prepare, Foie gras with candied apply, cider caramel and toasted brioche. Entrees include dishes that feature a Vegetarian Selection or Fish, Lamb, Beef such as Candied Lamb with broccoli/cauliflower bulgur and eggplant or Pork with smoked salt, galette with potatoes, red cabbage and paprika juice. For dessert try the Sundae Limoncello or cheese cake with mango & pistachio. French Cuisine is not complete without wine, Restaurant Musée d'Orsay has a full wine list.
Thank you Foulabe Yatera, Manager of Restaurant Musée d'Orsay
When it’s not time for a meal, Restaurant Musée d'Orsay, features the classic afternoon sweet break, made famous by the Parisians. Pastries and Tea are served in this vibrantly decorated classic, historic room. Lunch, Dinner or Tea Break, you must spend time at the Restaurant Musée d'Orsay when spending your day viewing the galleries of this museum on the river.
Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page
Some photos courtesy of Musée d'Orsay