Musée d’Orsay: My Favorite Museum In Paris

The first time I went to Musée d’Orsay my mind was blown. 

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I left Musée d’Orsay thinking that it was the best museum I had ever been to in the world.  Though my seventeen-year-old self still had many more to see, I was utterly enchanted by the art.

For impressionist era and post-impressionist lovers, Musée d’Orsay is an absolute must see.  The museum incredibly and overwhelmingly houses work by artists such as Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet, and an exceptional number of pieces by Van Gogh. Musée d’Orsay has a twenty-five-piece Van Gogh collection including several famous self-portraits and other scenic paintings; Van Gogh artwork, however, is certainly not the museum’s focus. Cezanne’s paintings are prominent throughout the exhibition and his famous work, The Cardplayers, is on display.  Likewise, Musée d’Orsay has an impressive amount of artwork from Gustave Corbet, Jean-Francois Millet, and Claude Monet and even exhibits Rosebushes under the Trees by Gustav Klimt and Manet’s divine Olympia.

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Luckily, you do not have to be an art lover to enjoy this museum.  Because Musée d’Orsay displays western art between 1848 and 1914, the range and type of artwork is vast.  Even if you don’t know much about art history, the sheer diversity of work produced during this time period might be even more fascinating.

And while the spectacular range of art brings visitors to the museum, the museum’s architecture is truly striking. The museum is located on the left bank of the Seine in what used to be the Orsay railroad station, which was initially designed for the Universal Exhibition in 1900.  In 1986, Musée d’Orsay was transformed into a museum, but the building’s design has remained relatively intact. The architecture of the building is stunning: an old-time clock hangs upon the center wall and there is a glass walkway. Visitors can also walk upon three lengthy levels.

Musée d’Orsay is worth visiting even if you have a limited time in Paris. The utter diversity and number of famous works is astounding and inspiring.  Visitors can feel Paris’ history come alive and see it reflected through  Musée’s beautiful art.

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Amanda Purcell

Amanda has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her secret travel tip: visit places during off season. She loves walking around cities that she's never been to before, especially if she can't speak the local language.

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