The Musee d’Orsay is one of Paris’ finest art galleries, covering French as well as international artistic achievements from the mid-19th century through to World War I. You’ll only need 2-3 hours in the Musee d’Orsay, that will be enough time to enjoy the amazing works of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gaguin, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and many others. To beat the crowds, who are will be working their way through the first few floors, go straight to the rear of the building to locate the almost hidden escalator which will take you to the top (5th floor) where all the must see, impressionist artworks are displayed. Classics to look out for include Manet’s Olympia and Picnic on the Grass, Whistler’s Mother, Degas’ Absinthe and Renoir’s Moulin de la Galette.
A former railway station, the Musee d’Orsay can become extremely crowded, especially on Sunday mornings. This can also be the case on Tuesdays (since Lovre is closed on Tuedays !, crowds tend to rush here) and Wednesdays. When it’s extremely busy they restrict the number of visitors. As with any attraction in Paris the best time to arrive to avoid lines and encounter the least crowds (at least for a while) is before its’ opening time. Obviously this is not for some of us who are nocturnal. In this case d’Orsay is open late until 21:45 (9:45 PM) on Thursdays. Arrive in late afternoon when other visitors begin to leave and stay later and enjoy the ambiance.
d’Orsay is one place which always seem to have people queuing up in long lines. A good way to beat the queues is to buy your ticket in advance from the museum, or buy the Museum Pass, which will allow you to get into the Musee d’Orsay that much quicker through the group entrance. The quietest time to go is between 1.30 – 2pm when most people are at lunch. The restaurant has fresco-style high ceilings, offers a wonderful atmosphere and serves a very high standard of food, should you choose to check it out. Another good option for food nearby the gallery is Le Telegraph on Rue de Lille.
Photography (without flash) is permitted. Compared to the Louvre, d’Orsay is less overwhelming. When you feel tired visit the restaurant to enjoy the lovely food and the great atmosphere similar to dining in a palace !
The Musee d’Orsay is preferred by people who have a general interest in art and want a good sweeping overview of the greatest periods in its history. As a result, many prefer it to the more famous Louvre, preferring the grandiose, palatial structure of the building of the Musee d’Orsay. Any visitor to Paris will seriously have missed out on all the city has to offer if he or she doesn’t go to this legendary gallery.