Musée d'Orsay

Address: 62 rue de Lille, Paris, 75007, France
Telephone: 01 40 49 48 14

- Mid-range


Impressionists, symbolists and realists galore in the old Orsay train station.

With its massive curved vault and sculptures where trains once stood, the belle époque Musée d'Orsay is a monumental setting for the national collection of art from 1848 to 1914, slotting chronologically into the "big three" between the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou. Orsay's huge popularity also has its drawbacks – the top-floor Impressionist galleries were often impossibly crowded, so it's good news that they are being renovated and expanded, but this means the upper level is closed until March 2011 – which is why at the moment I've given it a relatively low rating, no doubt it will rise again when all the work is over. In the meantime, levels 0 and 2 are still open. The great Realist paintings of Courbet, late Romantic works of Delacroix and Ingres, and early works by Manet, Monet and Cézanne are here as usual, and selected key works by Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh and Gauguin have been brought downstairs, and art nouveaux decorative arts on level 2. Don't miss Daumier's wonderful sculpted heads wickedly caricaturing politicians' in different characteristics and moods.

Value for money

Price advice

8 euros, free all under 18s and EU nationals under 26.

Expert tips

"Manet the Man who Invented Modern Art" (5 April-3 July 2011) looks set to be this summer's don't miss exhibition.

While Orsay is partially closed, there are also great Impressionist works at the Musée de l'Orangerie, Marmottan and Petit Palais.

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • First-time travellers
  • Mature travellers
  • Education
  • Art
  • Design and architecture