Le Musée d’Orsay houses some of the most renowned artworks from amongst the biggest names from the world of fine arts, such as Oscar-Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, and Edgar Degas. The museum building used to be the Gare d’Orsay in the past, but now it is home to collections from all period of art including realist, modernist, impressionist, and art nouveau.
The namesake railway station was constructed in the midst of Paris City as part of a World Expo held in 1900. There was a plan to replace the Gare d’Orsay with a hotel, but it’s the beaux-arts architecture that saved it. The French considered the architectural style as a significant aspect of the station. Due to that, it became part of a historical monument in the year 1978, and renovation work converted it into the museum it is today. Le Musée d’Orsay opened in 1986 as inaugurated by the then French President François Mitterrand.
Spread across five exhibit floors, it is almost impossible to see all artworks displayed in the Musee d Orsay tour. Reaching the museum only takes five minutes’ walk from the left flanks of the River Seine. If the water levels in the river in Paris rise above a certain level, the Musée d’Orsay and even the Louvre Museum tend to close down temporarily. The two museums still remain the most visited along the riverbank of the Seine.
When the museum opens from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, you can skip the queues and get priority access in the guided tour, and catch the impressionist as well as post-impressionist artworks collection. The most spectacular works of art in the museum include the ‘Water Lilies,’ painted by Claude Monet, the French Impressionist painter, and the self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh painted by the post-impressionist artist in 1888.
Van Gogh’s portrait collections are recognizable from one glance to both art connoisseurs and lovers of fine arts alike. You can see many oil canvas portraits of the ‘Christ of the Coal Mines,’ in the museum, including ‘Starry Night,’ tracing back to 1888. If you want some amount of realism in a fine art displayed in the museum, go for Edgar Degas’s works, such as the sculpture ‘Small Dancer Aged 14,’ to name one. You can ask a bilingual Paris tour guide to find out about the specific gallery that display artworks devoted to a particular era.