Paris - Ile De France

Orsay Museum - Musee Orsay - Impressionists

This page was updated on: Tuesday, December 24, 2019 at: 2:59 pm

Orsay,a museum that traces the evolution of French art from 1848 to 1914

The Orsay Museum was founded in a former railway station and the late President Mitterrand inaugurated it in 1986.

The museum traces the evolution of French art and society from 1848 to 1914. This includes various exhibitions of architecture, sculpture, literature as well as opera.

It also displays exhibits from the Musée de l'Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume, both located in the Tuileries gardens.

The Orsay Museum boasts a wide array of art exhibits, but the Impressionist collections are among the finest in the world.

You'll need half a day at least to fully visit the museum. It also offers excellent facilities and the restaurant boasts fantastic views over the Louvre and Northern Paris.

It's a good idea to Pre-book online as queues can be quite long during peak season.

Orsay Museum along the Seine
Main exhibition hall

Sculptural exhibits on the esplanade of  the Orsay Museum

As you queue to enter the museum, you'll notice several spectacular animal statues on the esplanade.

Emmanuel Frémiet sculpted the ‘Young elephant caught in a trap’; Alfred Jacquemart the ‘Rhinoceros’ and Pierre-Louis Rouillard the ‘Horse with harrow’.

Created for the gardens of the Trocadéro Palace for the Universal Exhibition of 1878, they were transferred to Orsay in the mid 1980′s.

The small wall that delineates the southern side of the esplanade serves as pedestal for The Six Continents.

This series of 6 allegorical statues represent women who embody a continent.

You’ll recognize Europe by the sculptor Alexandre Schoenewerk; Asia by Alexandre Falguière; Africa by Eugène Delaplanche; North America by Ernest Eugène Hiolle; South America by Aimé Millet and Oceania by Mathurin Moreau.

The statues fell into oblivion and remained stored for years in the city of Nantes.

The Orsay Museum acquired them in exchange of a painting by Sisley, which is now exhibited in the Musée des Beaux Arts de Nantes.

From a railway station to a museum

The architect Victor Laloux built the Gare d'Orsay in 1900, on the site of the Hôtel d'Orsay, a mansion which was destroyed during the riots of the Commune de Paris of 1871.

The Gare d'Orsay is a fine illustration of the metal architecture of the time.

Indeed, Laloux entirely masked the metal structure of the facade with a stone wall to match its architectural to the Louvre Palace's on the opposite bank.

He also concealed the interior ceiling with stucco.

The Gare d'Orsay was the terminus for the line serving the southwest region of Paris. It was also the first station purposely built for electrified lines.

However, the lack of space made its enlargement impossible and Orsay mainline station was decommissioned in 1939.

It only served the southern suburbs of Paris for a short while, then was fully decommissioned and demolition of the building seriously considered!

Directions: 7th District - Rue de Bellechasse
Metro: Solférino on Line 12
RER C: Musée d'Orsay
Coordinates: Lat 48.859961 - Long 2.326561

March 27 2020

Garde Republicaine, Paris’ emblematic Gendarmerie force

Garde Republicaine, Paris’ emblematic Gendarmerie force renowned for its Calvary regiment, is in charge of the security of the city and the public
Bust of the composer Lully and ex-voto in Notre Dame des Victoires Basilica

March 5 2020

Notre Dame des Victoires Basilica

Notre Dame des Victoires , a church Louis XIII dedicated to his victories over the Huguenots, but mostly to the Virgin in thanks for the birth of Louis XIV
Hotel Sale - Picasso Museum - Café à Royan - 1940 Cubism

February 19 2020

Hôtel Salé, home to the Picasso Museum

Hôtel Salé, one of the finest mansions in the Marais built with money collected from the salt tax, hence its name, is today home to the Picasso Museum
Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor with the Tuileries in the background

January 24 2020

Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor named after a Senegalese stateman

Passerelle Solférino was renamed Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Senegalese politician’s birth

Sign up to our newsletter

Travel France Online will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates via our newsletter. By selecting the boxes on the form you confirm your acceptance to receive our newsletter.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at

We will treat your information with respect. For more information please visit our privacy policy page