Musée d'Orsay – Skipping The Lines At The Great Impressionist Museum

From Monet to Manet to Renoir to Van Gogh — 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. Here you can see the best works of Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, and a stunning collection of Van Goghs.

How to Skip the Long Lines at Musée d'Orsay

Skip the Long Lines

Being very popular means that the lines at Museée d'Orsay are long. On most any day you show up you can expect to wait in line for one to two hours to buy tickets. You know that we hate standing in lines, right? Luckily, there's a way of getting into d'Orsay without standing in line.

The only way to guarantee you'll skip all the lineups at Musée d'Orsay (and other top attractions, like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower) is to book a skip-the-line guided tour. These tours have priority access and enter through a special VIP door, Entrance B, where they have booked a specific time-slot. Here are the three top skip-the-line tours.

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1. Musée d'Orsay Tour With Skip-The-Line Access

This small-group tour (to ensures individual attention), takes you directly to d'Orsay's greatest hits, like Van Gogh's Starry Night. After a two-hour tour, you're free to spend as much time in the museum as you like.
"Our visit to the Musée d'Orsay was wonderful and our guide was outstanding!", writes one traveler.

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2. Private 2-Hour Guided Tour of the Orsay Museum

It makes great sense that an art historian would be the perfect guide to Musée d'Orsay, and that's what you get with this activity.
"It was well worth the money just to get past the 2-hour wait in the security lines."

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3. Private Skip-The-Line Tours at The Louvre and d'Orsay

For the whole enchilada (to use the appropriate French term) choose this skip-the-lines museum activity that takes you to both the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay on tours led by an experienced expert guide. Limited to four people.
"The tours were fantastic and we would highly recommend both tours to anyone. Worth the money."

Paris Insiders Pass

Paris Insiders Pass

Another strategy for avoiding the ticket lines is to have the Paris Insiders Pass in your pocket. Instead of waiting for hours to buy a ticket, the pass allows you to bypass the ticket line and enter through the right-hand door, Entrance C. (The photo shows the long ticket line at Entrance A. Entrance C is on the other side.)

The Paris Insiders Pass is a combination package that includes both the Paris Museum Pass that give you free entrance into something link 60 museums and monuments, and the Paris Metro Pass for unlimited transportation. Paris Insiders Pass can be purchased online, and you get a special discout by using our exclusive code when you order your pass. There's also a generous cancellation policy in case you change your mind.

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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), if it's open. You'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Seine — from Place de la Concorde to the Louvre.

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 opened its doors 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.

Where To Eat At Musée d'Orsay

Musée d'Orsay, Le Restaurant

After hours taking in the glorious Impressionist works you're bound to be hungry and thirsty. Luckily there are some pretty good options right inside the d'Orsay, and other nice restaurants nearby. We loved being in the classic Beaux-Art museum dining room, but we also like the renovated modern brasserie on the top floor. We'll fill you in on the options, so you can fill up.

Orsay Museum Information

  • 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 Insiders 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

Monet Poppy Fields

  • 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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