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 Louvre Museum Tours

Skip-the-line Guided Tour of the Louvre Museum
Skip the Louvre lines with an expert guide to get past the crowds and into the museum to visit the masterpieces.
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Evening Louvre Tour & Wine Tasting
Skip the line on an evening tour of the Louvre. Afterwards, attend a guided tasting of French wine at a classicParisian bar.
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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.

Ticket Lines at Musée d'Orsay

Paris Insiders Pass

Museée d'Orsay is very popular. On most days you can expect to wait in line for an hour or even 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.

One strategy for avoiding those lines is to have the Paris 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, where there is no lineup. However, the Orsay is extremely popular and, with enhanced security at the entrances, all lines may be long in the busiest seasons. The Paris Insiders Pass can be purchased online, and you can save an additional 5% by using our exclusive code when you order your Paris Insiders Pass.

Skip-the-Line Tours at the Orsay Museum

Guided Tours of the Orsay Museum

Our top strategy to avoid 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 usually have priority access in front of other lines. Your guide takes you to the best the museum has to offer, and gives you insights into the Impressionists and other late-19th-century artists.

Be sure to look for activities or private tours that include skip-the-line admittance — that's all we recommend these days, based on long experience. 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.


Recommended Skip-the-Line Tours
    "It was well worth the money just to get past the 2-hour wait in the security lines."
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    Limited to four people. "The tours were fantastic and we would highly recommend both tours to anyone worth the money."
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    "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!"
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    "Knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We saw a lot without feeling rushed."
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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.

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

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.

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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