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Orsay Museum – Musee Orsay – Impressionists

Paris – Ile De France

Orsay Museum – Musee Orsay – Impressionists

This page was updated on: Sunday, April 7, 2019 at: 6:46 pm

Orsay Museum – 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.

It therefore offers exhibitions of architecture, sculpture, literature and opera.

It also displays exhibits from the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume in the Tuileries.

The collections are absolutely amazing and varied.

The Impressionist collections are among the best in the world.

Sculptural exhibits outside the Orsay Museum

As you queue to enter the museum, you’ll notice several statues exhibited on the esplanade.

They were all created for the gardens of the Trocadéro Palace on the occasion of 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; each embodies 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.

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

A series of spectacular animal statues adorn the north side of the esplanade.

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

N.B. You’ll need half a day at least to fully visit it.

The museum offers excellent facilities and the restaurant boasts fantastic views over the Louvre and Northern Paris.

Photos are now allowed, however, the use of the flash, poles and tripods for selfies remains reserved to professionals.

Finally, Pre-book online as queues can be quite long during peak season.

Gare d’Orsay

The architect Victor Laloux built the Gare d’Orsay in 1900, on the site of the Hôtel d’Orsay.

The mansion, erected in 1838, was destroyed during the riots of the Commune de Paris of 1871.

The Gare d’Orsay is a perfect illustration of the metal architecture of the time.

However, Laloux entirely masked the metal structure of the facade with a stone wall in order to match the architectural style of the Louvre Palace 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 it impossible to expand the station and open new routes and platforms when the electrification was extended to the entire rail network.

Orsay mainline station was eventually decommissioned in 1939, and only served the southern suburbs of Paris.

This line was also eventually 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


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