Paris: Musee d’Orsay

The first time around, as we walked down Quai Anatole France, the girls chattering away, looking at things like pigeons and trying to identify that yummy food smell.  I looked longingly at Musee d’Orsay as we walked by, knowing I wouldn’t be going in.

OrsayOutside Watermark

When we were in Paris this past summer with our girls, I kept telling myself that if I dragged them to the places *I* want to see, they weren’t going to like this whole travel thing at all, and I’d lose them as far as this passion of mine goes.  So, we walked around the Louvre, but we didn’t stand in line to go in.  I saw the Musee d’Orsay, but I didn’t enter.  It was hard, very  hard, but instead we did things they still talk about with laughter such as bike tours, andeating crepes while nicknaming pigeons.  So it did work out well.

Paris: Unplanned

Then, after getting home and working on packing up the girls to take them to grandma’s house for a week, hubby got the call.  “Can you be in Paris next week to whatsenhoover with thingenfelt company?”  Can he be in Paris the same week the kids are going to grandma’s?  His ticket and the hotel room is paid for?  I was already mentally packed.

When we had visit the first time, I had researched and read to make sure I chose the best option of where to stay in Paris given our interests and planned sight-seeing.  This time, business dictated it, so I was going with the flow – and riding the metro more!

History of the Musee d’Orsay building

The first morning there, hubby was off to thingenfelt company to start his whatsenhoovering (this is actually what most of his job sounds like to me), and I was off for the walk to Musee d’Orsay.  I know the impressionists probably aren’t cool anymore, maybe I should be more into political guerilla art or whatever.  But I really, really wanted to see this collection, and the museum itself.

The Orsay was built to be a train station, completed in (I think) 1900.  But it was only used as such for less than 40 years, because newer trains were too long for the Orsay.  It was used for a number of things – a postal center, movie set, a theatre company – before being opened as a museum in 1986.

It’s easy to visualize a train station with platforms on either side when you look at the Orsay, and it is a beautiful building.

ParisOrsayInterior Watermark

Even the cafeteria is a visual treat, and really striking.  You have to walk through the cafeteria to get to the impressionists, and a number of people stop to get a photo on the way through.  Just be sure to step out of the walkway a little.  It’s annoying to have the person in front of you just stop dead for a photo – as much as I sympathize with this desire.

ParisOrsayCafe Watermark


Musee d’Orsay Impressionists Section

It was crowded in waves in the impressionist area, but still worth it to me.  And most of the people are moving through pretty quickly, so I could just linger and let them pass by.  I did find myself getting irrationally irritated at people who would step up to a Monet or Cezanne for 3 seconds, whip out their phone, take a picture of it and move on.  Seriously?  Go to another museum.  Go walk the Seine and don’t even bother.  What are you doing?  (I’m sorry, I know.  That’s unkind.  But I really don’t understand.)

Anyway, I digress.  The thing I like about the impressionists is to look at the whole thing, but then to step in and really study small sections and see all the different colors are put into one leaf or one small section of water.  Then step back again, and you see how it all comes together again.  I could study each one for quite a while doing that.

You can see it here with Monet’s Waterlilies

Monet Waterlilies
Monet’s Waterlilies
MonetMacro Watermark
Detail of Monet’s Waterlilies

And here with the books in Cezanne’s Portrait of Gustave Geffroy:

Cezanne Geffroy
Cezanne’s Portrait of Gustave Geffroy
Cezanne Geffroy Books
Detail of the books in Cezanne’s Portrait of Geffroy

And I took a picture of Manet’s still life of a lemon, and of an asparagus, because it just made me smile.  It’s such a seemingly silly thing to paint for what we consider one of the great painters.  So I like it.  I kind of want prints of these in my kitchen.

Manet Still Life
Manet’s still life of a lemon, and an asparagus.  🙂


Musee d’Orsay Famous Clock

So you walked through the cafe to get to the impressionists.  But if you continue walking past the impressionists you get to a gift shop area.  Don’t let that deceive you in to thinking you should turn back. On the other side of that is an open area which happens to be behind one of the clocks on the face of the building.  So you can look out through the clock face to see a somewhat view of Paris.


There are also places up here where you can get look out windows and glass doors to a beautiful view.

OrsayTopView Watermark

So, I had really thought, a month previous, that I was going to visit Paris and miss this museum.  BUT, one of the better gifts I’ve gotten, was a second time in Paris.



To plan your visit to the Musee d’Orsay, visit <<<HERE>>>

3 thoughts on “Paris: Musee d’Orsay

  1. LOVE this!!! Haven’t seen this yet, but am dying to now that walking isn’t such a chore anymore! UGH, I’m now missing Paris again….

    1. I completely understand, Selah! I’ve been working on my Thailand posts, but went back and finished this one up today for a change of pace. But now, it got me all wistful for Paris again! Happy Travels to you!

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