Musée d'Orsay – The Impressionist Museum In Paris

From Van Gogh to Monet – the Orsay Museum truly is an Impressionist gem. Built as a train station in the 19th-century's Belle Époque, Musée d'Orsay was transformed into a museum to house France's collection of 19th-century paintings when the Louvre literally ran out of space. Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, and a stunning collection of Van Goghs.

It's been over 30 years since the Musée d'Orsay was transformed from that train station into the world's greatest museum dedicated to Impressionist art. This is the one museum you won't want to miss on your trip to Paris.

The Best of the Impressionists

Best of the Impressionists

If you want to go directly to the amazing Impressionist collection, zip up to the fifth floor, where natural light illuminates room after room of these masterpieces.

Because the Musée d'Orsay is smaller than the Louvre you can cover a lot of art in a morning and still have time for lunch in the restored Belle Époque restaurant, which was once the dining room of the Orsay train station hotel. By the way, don't miss the view from the observation deck on Level 5 (next to the snack bar). You'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Seine — from Place de la Concorde to the Louvre.

Ticket Lines at Musée d'Orsay

Paris Pass

Museée d'Orsay is very popular. On most days you can expect to wait in line for an hour or more just to buy tickets. So, let's talk about getting into the museum without wasting a lot of time standing in lines — something we hate.

Our top strategy for avoiding those lines is to have the Paris Museum Pass in our pocket. Instead of waiting for hours, the pass allows you to cruise past the ticket line and enter through the right-hand door, where there is no lineup. It's absolutely the best way to visit d'Orsay and most other Paris museums.

The best way to get the Paris Museum Pass? It comes with the highly-recommended city pass, The Paris Pass — get yours before you leave home. It's easy to buy online, and now you can Save 10% by using our exclusive code when you order your Paris PassINSIDERGUIDE.

Skip-the-Line Tours at the Orsay Museum

Guided Tours of the Orsay Museum

Our other strategy to avoid the lineups at Musée d'Orsay is to book a skip-the-line guided tour of the famous Impressionist museum. Your guide whisks you past the lines, takes you to the best the museum has to offer, and gives you insights into the Impressionists and other 19th-century artists.

Be sure to look for activities or private tours that include skip-the-line admittance to the museum. There's at least one tour that also includes a guided Louvre tour. Check our Big List of d'Orsay tours, or sign up for one of our recommended tours below. It may be the best money you spend in Paris.

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Recommended Skip-the-Line Tours
  • PRIVATE 2-HOUR GUIDED TOUR OF THE ORSAY MUSEUM
    "Excellent guide, thoroughly enjoyed the tour and learnt so much. She brought everything to life and we go so much more from our visit."
    Check Availability
  • PRIVATE SKIP-THE-LINE TOURS AT THE LOUVRE AND D'ORSAY
    Limited to four people. "The tours were fantastic and we would highly recommend both tours to anyone… worth the money."
    Book Now
  • 5½ HOUR PRIVATE TOUR OF LOUVRE AND D'ORSAY
    "This tour was simply fabulous! The first benefit was to skip the long lines! Next, our very well informed guide took us through history via some of the world's best art. Best way to see these amazing sites!"
    Check Availability
  • SKIP-THE-LINE 1½-HOUR PRIVATE MUSEE D'ORSAY TOUR
    "Knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We saw a lot without feeling rushed."
    Book Now
  • IMPRESSIONISTS AT THE MUSEE D'ORSAY – PRIVATE, SKIP-THE-LINE 2-HOUR TOUR
    Book Now

Musée d'Orsay Facts

Musee D'Orsay

The original train station, Gare d'Orsay, was completed for the 1900 Exposition Universelle held in Paris. It was used a train station for less than 40 years, and then faced an uncertain fate.

In World War II the station was used to sort parcels going to prisoners of war.

The station was almost torn down in 1970, but was saved by the Cultural Minister. Planning to use the Gare d'Orsay as a museum began in 1974. Musée d'Orsay was opened in December 1986.

Paris' famous fictional detective, Inspector Maigret, meets a suspect at Hotel Gare d'Orsay, located in the building, and eats in the dining room, which is still used as a restaurant today.

Orson Welles's film of Franz Kafka's The Trial was shot at d'Orsay, long before it became a museum.

Orsay Museum Information

MUSEE D'ORSAY ADVISORY – Suitcases, travel bags, and backpacks are not permitted and cannot be left in the cloakroom.

  • Open from 9:30 am to 6 pm
  • Late Night: Thursday until 9:45 pm
  • Closed Mondays, December 25, January 1, and May 1
  • Metro: Tuileries (walk across the park and the pedestrian bridge)
  • Metro: Solférino
  • RER: Musée d'Orsay (right in front of the museum)
  • Museum Website
  • Free admission to the Musée d'Orsay is included with the Paris Museum Pass

Musée d'Orsay Must-See list

Manet, Le Dejeuner Sur Lherbe

  • Edouard Manet, Le Déjeuner Sur l'Herbe
  • Edouard Manet, Olympia
  • Edouard Manet, La Blonde Aux Seins Nus
  • Claude Monet, Le Déjeuner Sur l'Herbe
  • Claude Monet, Londres, Le Parlement
  • Claude Monet, Coquelicots
  • Claude Monet, Camille Sur Son Lit De Mort
  • Auguste Renoir, Etude. Torse, Effet de Soleil
  • Auguste Renoir, Danse à la Ville

Van Gogh Starry Night

  • Vincent Van Gogh, La Nuit Étoilée
  • Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait de l'Artiste, 1889
  • Vincent Van Gogh, L'Église d'Auvers-sur-Oise
  • Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, La Source
  • Mary Cassatt, Jeune Fille au Jardin
  • Eugène Delacroix, Passage d'un Gué au Maroc
  • Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, La Danse
  • Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Ugolin
  • Gustave Moreau, Orphée

Edgar Degas

  • Edgar Degas, Danseuses Bleues
  • Edgar Degas, Répétition d'un Ballet Sur la Scène
  • Edgar Degas, La Classe de Danse
  • Gustave Courbet, L'Origine du Monde
  • Alfred Sisly, La Neige à Louveciennes
  • Alfred Sisley, Allée Se Peupliers aux Environs de Moret-Sur-Loing
  • Camille Pissarro, La Bergère
  • Camille Pissarro, Femme au fichu vert
  • Berthe Morisot, Sur un Banc a Bois de Boulogne
  • Paul Gauguin, Et l'Or de Leur Corps

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