When in Paris you MUST go to Musee D’Orsay! 

You cannot call Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum Paris) a hidden gem. In fact, it is listed as the number ONE place to go on Tripadvisor when travelling in Paris. And yes, it is very popular and always very crowded.

Musée d’Orsay is my favorite museum IN THE ENTIRE WORLD as I am a die-hard fan of impressionism . The building itself is so impressive, a renovated former railway station. 

The Layout of the Museum

The Musee d’Orsay is tiny compared to the Louvre. However it is still a huge museum and the permanent collection spans four floors and several important periods. It houses the largest collection of impressionist paintings in the world!

The Musee D’Orsay is the home of art created from 1848 to 1914. On the top floor you will view the stunning masterpieces of the impressionists and post-impressionists. The paintings are arranged thematically and stylistically to provide different perspectives.

Downstairs houses the earlier Symbolists and Realists, including a new room for Courbet’s giant canvases, and new art nouveau galleries.

The Entrance to the Musee D’Orsay Photo by Slices of Light on Flickr

Tip for the Musee D’Orsay: Focus your visit!

In advance of your visit, familiarize yourself with how the museum is laid out. I suggest that you plan your visit in advance. First try to spend time on a selected period or artists that you love. That way you will get to see the artists that know and love, before serious exhaustion and serious sensory overload sets in. Press here to get an updated map of the layout of the museum.

Inside the Musee D'Orsay
Musee D’Orsay – the biggest and most magnificent Impressionist Museum in Paris

It features a very large collection of Impressionism masterpieces painted by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, SisleyGauguin, Cassatt and Van Gogh to name a few.

We spent five hours and barely touched the surface…..our brains just couldn’t handle anymore art (nor our feet)….

But you do not need to leave this museum when your feet get tired or you suffer with a severe case of “Impressionist- art-overdose”. Take a break in one of the cafes or restaurants in the museum. I suggest you pop into the lovely Café de l’Horloge to see the gorgeous views of Montmatre & Sacré-Cœur.

The Musee Dorsay on the Seine river at sunset
Orsay Museum Paris [Public Domain]


My Tip for this Museum: Avoid going to Orsay Museum in Paris on the weekends or public holidays!!  There are less crowds midweek!!! Also, the museum is free on the first Sunday of very month (but it is very crowded so go early!!!)

If you want a guided tour to help navigate this huge museum, press here for a range of English speaking tours to choose from.

Opening Hours of Musee D’Orsay

Open every day from 9.30am to 6pm daily, except Mondays
Late night on Thursdays until 9.45pm
Last tickets sold at 5pm (9pm Thursdays)
Museum clears at 5.15pm (9.15pm Thursdays)
Closed on Mondays, on 1 May and 25 December
For more information go the D’Orsay website

The famous view from the clock window at Musee D'Orsay
The stunning view from Café de l’Horloge
Photo by Josh Edgoose on Unsplash