The nearby Louvre may draw in the big crowds, but the Musée D’Orsay is its equal in quality and experience. Although not on the same level in size, this just makes this museum a more manageable and inviting option that can be fully explored in one unhurried visit.
Home to the works of many masters, it combines many of the greats of European art, and houses the biggest Impressionist collection in the world. See Degas’ Dancers, Cezanne’s Card Players and Monet’s Poppies in the newly renovated galleries off the gargantuan main hall, all housed in a converted Beaux-Arts railway station as impressive as any of the art it displays.
As much a part of the experience as seeing the collection is the stunning and surreal top floor café, designed by Brazilian brothers Humberto and Fernando Campana. Grab a pistachio green giant éclair and wander over to the giant clock face to peer through at Paris sprawled beneath your feet. The views across to Montmartre are staggering.
The Musee d’Orsay houses one of the most charming museum restaurants in the capital. The dining room dates back to 1900 and is listed as a Parisian Historic Monument, carrying you back to the Belle Epoque with its dazzling chandeliers and gilded ceilings. The chef Yann Landureau offers traditional French cuisine, interspersed with original dishes inspired by the museum’s works and events.
Tuesday – Wednesday 11.45 – 17.45
Thursdays 09.30 – 14.45 and 19.00 – 21.00
Friday – Sunday 11.45 – 17.45
Just after the Impressionist Gallery on the 5th floor you’ll find the Café Campana, located in the world famous clock tower that offers the classic menu of a Parisian brasserie, in an Art Nouveau environment.
Tuesday – Wednesday 10.00 – 17.00
Thursday 10.00 – 21.00
Friday – Sunday 10.00 – 17.00
The museum offers a quick, self service shop, the Café du Lion located at the entrance to the expositions, and an outdoor sandwich shop, La Boutique du Parvis - a great place to grab a bite while waiting to enter the museum.
The Musée d’Orsay’s two-storey shop houses more than five thousand high-quality books, catalogues, CDs and DVDs on painting, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts, photography, collections from French and international museums, and the history of the arts from the 19th and 20th centuries. There’s also a great selection of books and games on art in general for children.
62 Rue de Lille
+33 (0) 1 40 49 48 14
Tuesday – Wednesday 09.30 – 18.00
Thursday 09.30 – 21.45
Friday – Sunday 09.30 – 18.00
Metro: Solferino (M12), Assemblee Nationale (M12)