You fancy visiting the Musée d’Orsay but you are still hesitant to go? Located in the 7th arrondissement next to the Seine River, this former railway station houses the largest collection of impressionist paintings in the world. You will have the opportunity to admire the works of Monet, Cézanne and Van Gogh. So, is it worth visiting the Musée d’Orsay? Our opinion is in this article.
What We Liked
- The impressive collection of masterpieces of famous artists.
- The museum’s architecture with its large glass roof.
- The view from the clock.
What We Didn’t Like as Much
- You will sometimes have to wait a long time especially if you chose to buy your tickets at the museum.
- Some galleries are often closed for renovations.
What Is the Musée d’Orsay? A Little Bit of History
Nowadays, the Musée d’Orsay is a museum, but that has not always been the case. This place has an unusual history!
In 1810, the Palais d’Orsay was built to host the Council of State (a part of the French government) and later to host the Court of Auditors (a French legal court).
Sixty years later, a fire destroyed the building. Then, it was changed into a railway station to welcome visitors and foreign delegations who came to see the 1900 Paris Exposition. It only became a museum in 1986.
An unusual history, right?
How to Get to the Musée d’Orsay?
The Musée d’Orsay is located in the 7th arrondissement, along the left bank of the Seine River, at the 62 Rue de Lille.
We recommend you get there by RER since the RER station Musée d’Orsay (RER C) is just in front of the museum entrance.
If you want to get there taking the metro, Solférino (line 12) and Assemblée Nationale (line 12) are the closest stations (only a 3 or 4 minutes walk). Tuileries (line 1) and Concorde (line 1, 8 or 12) are a bit farther (a 12-minutes walk).
To get to the Musée d’Orsay by bus, take the bus line 24, 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84 or 94 and get off at the bus stop called Musée d’Orsay or Pont Royal – Quai Voltaire.
You can also go to the Musée d’Orsay by car but you may be stuck in traffic. Moreover, you will have to pay €4.60 to park your car 1 hour in the Bac Montalembert parking. We strongly recommend you get there using public transportation.
The Visit of the Musée d’Orsay
The Musée d’Orsay is open every day except on Mondays, on May 1st and on December 25th.
It is open from 9:30am to 6pm except on Thursday when it closes at 9:45pm.
Last ticket sold at 5pm (9pm on Thursday). Museum cleared at 5:15pm (9:15 pm on Thursday).
As we do for other Parisian attractions, we recommend you don’t visit the Musée d’Orsay on weekends, French holidays and bank holidays so you can enjoy a calm and peaceful visit.
- Full price: €14.
- Low price (for people coming with children under 18 or for “Large family” cardholders): €11.
- Free for people under 18, people from 18 to 25 who are citizens of an EU member state, disabled visitors and people accompanying them and job seekers.
- The entrance is free for everyone on the first Sunday of each month.
We strongly recommend to buy your tickets online as the queue to buy them at the museum can be very long.
To buy your ticket online, click here.
Do We Recommend this Visit for Children?
It is possible to visit the Musée d’Orsay with young children.
Prams and baby carriers are not accepted in the museum as they are too cumbersome. Pushchairs are available in the cloakroom but you will be asked to present an identity document.
To make the visit more playful for children, The Musée d’Orsay created a website.
Two mascots, Pompon and Lily, act as tour guides for your children — interactive maps, historical timelines, simple and playful explanations… This website is a good solution for children visiting the Musée d’Orsay.
Nevertheless, this activity is designed for children who can read so it is not suitable for very young children.
Click here to access this website (in French).
People with Reduced Mobility
The entire museum is accessible to people with reduced mobility and people accompanying them. They will have priority access and will not pay for their visit.
All visitors can access the cloakroom which is free. You can let your coat, big umbrella, small suitcase and bag there. Do not let valuable items such as cameras, money, identity documents, fur coats… You can only let suitcases, backpacks and bags whose size is under 56 x 45 x 25 cm (22 x 17.7 x 9.8 in).
If your luggage is bigger, we recommend you go to the Nanny Bag left-luggage located at 12 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie. You will have to pay €6 per luggage for 24 hours. Book your spot online on the website. You can not pay on site, you need to pay online.
Note that even though it is the closest left-luggage from the Musée d’Orsay, it is still a 20-minutes walk from the museum.
It is possible to eat in the museum (see below).
The museum houses the largest collection of impressionist paintings in the world but you will also have the opportunity to see plenty of other works of art!
First of all, you can admire the architecture of this former railway station and give a look at its glass roof.
You will have the opportunity to admire 24 paintings of Vincent Van Gogh including “Self-portrait” and “Starry Night Over the Rhone”. You will also see “L’Origine du monde”, “The Painter’s Studio”, “A Burial at Ornans” and 32 other paintings by Gustave Courbet. Do not miss Claude Monet’s 70 paintings such as the famous “Poppy Field”.
The museum also houses sculptures, photos, etc. There are also temporary exhibitions so you will always rediscover the Musée d’Orsay!
We recommend you plan 2 hours for this visit but the museum’s collection is very large so you will not see everything.
You can finish your visit with a little bit of shopping as there is a souvenir shop in the museum —reproductions, postcards, books… You will have the choice.
Are you still hesitant? Watch below this video (in French) to give you a taste of the museum’s impressionist collection.
Is it Worth Booking a Guided Tour?
Guided tours are always a good solution for enthusiastic visitors.
If you just want to see the museum’s unmissable items, only book an audio guide. It costs €5.
If you want to increase your knowledge, we recommend you take a guided tour. Your guide will tell you the artists’ and the paintings’ history.
There are many different guided tours — for adults, children or families. Every Sunday, the museum organizes a game for families! It is a playful way to discover the museum’s most famous works.
Guided tours for adults cost €6 (plus the entrance ticket) and last 1 or 2 hours.
For further information concerning guided tours, visit the Musée d’Orsay official website.
If you chose to visit the Musée d’Orsay on your own, we recommend you check the museum’s collection before your visit.
Draw up a list with the works of art you do not want to miss. You can also make a route so you will fully enjoy your visit and won’t miss any of the works you wanted to see.
We also recommend you check on the museum’s website if all the galleries are open.
Indeed, some galleries are sometimes closed and it would be a shame to go there and to miss your favorite work of art.
Nice Spots near the Musée d’Orsay
Best Restaurants Near the Musée d’Orsay
Restaurant du Musée d’Orsay
You fancy something to eat during your visit? In this beautiful restaurant, you will satisfy your palate without leaving the museum.
You will be amazed by the high ceilings and the golden mouldings. The decor is really stunning!
They serve typical and high quality French dishes. The staff is friendly and smiley.
Price: €31 for a menu with a starter, a main course and a dessert.
Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday — 11:45am to 5:30pm.
Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris
How to get there? The same as to get to the museum.
Phone number: +33 1 45 49 47 03
- Google: 4,1/5
- Tripadvisor: 4/5
Website: Restaurant du Musée d’Orsay.
There are also two cafés in the museum.
It is a wonderful Italian restaurant where you can delight your taste buds after your visit of the Musée d’Orsay. The chef cooks a delicious cuisine made of fresh ingredients.
Of course, you can order pasta, but there is much more. They also serve delicious sorbets and cheeses from La Maison Guffanti, a cheese maker who supplies the best Italian restaurants.
The intimate and warm atmosphere is ideal to enjoy their delicious Italian cuisine.
Price: €13 for tomatoes and basil spaghetti.
Opening hours: From Monday to Saturday — noon to 2:30pm and 6:30pm to 10:30pm.
Address: 65 Rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris (a 2-minutes walk from the museum).
How to get there? metro line 12 (Solférino) or RER C (Musée d’Orsay).
Phone number: +33 1 45 56 03 71
- Google: 4,4/5
- Tripadvisor: 4,5/5
Website: Costa d’Amalfi
Boulangerie Eric Kayser – Bac
We recommend this bakery for people who have a tight budget or who are not very hungry.
Seats are available. Sandwiches, breakfasts, pastries, quiches, salads … This bakery is the perfect place if you are in a hurry and want to satisfy your palate.
Price: Between €4 and €7.20 for a sandwich, a quiche or a salad.
Opening hours: From Monday to Saturday — 7am to 8pm.
Address: 18 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris (a 5-minutes walk from the museum).
Phone number: +33 1 42 61 27 63
- Google: 4,1/5
- Tripadvisor: 4/5
Website: Boulangerie Eric Kayser
Other Museums near the Musée d’Orsay
Musée de l’Orangerie
Located at the end of the Tuileries Garden, the Musée de l’Orangerie houses plenty of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.
You will have the opportunity admire the Nympheas which is known worldwide. There are also 8 very big paintings by Monet which cover entire walls.
- Full price: €6.50
- Free for visitors under 18, for visitor between 18 and 25 who live in the European Union and for those who have been living in a European country for more than 3 months
- Free for everyone on the first Sunday of each month
You can buy a Museum Pass — twin tickets for access to the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie —for €18. To book your Pass, click here.
Opening hours: everyday except on Tuesday — from 9am to 6pm
Address: Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris (a 9-minutes walk from the Musée d’Orsay)
How to get there? metro line 1, 8 or 12 (Concorde)
The Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum needs no introduction as it is the most famous museum in all of Paris.
You will have the opportunity to admire the Mona Lisa painting, the Liberty Leading the People painting and many others.
Once you have finished your visit and if the weather is good, go and take a walk in the Tuileries Garden.
- Full price: €17
- Free for visitors under 18, for visitors between 18 and 25 who live in the EU or who have been living there for more than 3 months
Click here to book your ticket.
- On Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday — 9am to 6pm
- On Wednesday and Friday — 9am to 9:25pm
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (a 13-minutes walk from the Musée d’Orsay)
How to get there? metro line 1 or 7 (Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre)
We strongly recommend this visit for all people who love art and especially paintings.
It is a beautiful museum you should not miss.
If you like architecture, take a look at this amazing building.
Of course, you will quickly get tired of this visit if you don’t like art and paintings.
I aim to share my tips and recommendations for the beautiful country of France. My goal is to help you plan your next adventure, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a once-in-a-lifetime trip. From finding the best hotels and restaurants, to discovering unique activities and sights, I’ve got you covered!