It is in this quite unusual museum (the building was a railway station till the mid 20th century) that you will discover one of the most prestigious art collections worldwide. All great artists from the late 19th and early 20th century are shown here. Being a multidisciplinary museum, you will discover paintings as well as sculptures, together with decorative arts, photographs and architecture.
As soon as you enter the museum, you will be able to admire the first work of art: the architecture of the museum. The big nave, in a monumental style, is the spinal column of the museum, with a natural lightening that emphasizes the panoramic view you have from the entrance hall. When you enter the main hall presenting the sculptures, don’t forget to turn around to see the clock, symbol of the museum.
It is now time to have a look at the works presented: you should count at least 4h for a global visit. We won’t present you every hall, so to let you have your own opinion on the museum and preserve the charm of discovering. You should simply know that the museum has been freshened up and proposes since 2012 a new layout of its works.
Before you see the paintings, go have a look at the marble and bronze sculptures in the main alley. Even lay persons will easily appreciate the quality of the works. In the back part of the alley, beneath the big nave, you will find the works of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, from the miniature rough shape to the gigantic representations, like “Les Quatre Parties du monde soutenant la sphère céleste” (The Four Parts of the World Holding the Celestial Sphere).
In the last central hall, you can leave your nerve cells at rest and enjoy walking on the glass floor, beneath which lies a miniature reconstruction of the Opera neighbourhood (some of the sculptures have been made by J.B Carpeaux aswell). You will also see a miniature cutting of the Opera.
It’s now time to talk about serious things: the paintings. The greatest works (and the biggest names) from the 19th and early 20th centuries are here, of all styles, influences and genres. To name some of them, and to give you an idea of the richness of the Orsay museum, here are some painters exposed here: Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Courbet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard & Vuillard, Manet, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Matisse, Cross, Bouguereau… And we could go on for a while!
Walk through the different rooms and look for the most touching paintings, according to you, you will certainly find a few. Mon Petit Paris would nevertheless like to point up the “orientalism” room, which we love, and especially paintings like Guillaumet’s “Prière du soir dans le Sahara”, Leon Bolly’s “Pèlerin allant à la Mecque” and Charles Emile de Tourneuille’s “Elephants d’Afrique”.