How to Prepare for Your Visit to the Orsay Museum, Episode 15

Categories: First Time in Paris, Museums in Paris, Paris

This episode features our frequent and very popular guest Elyse Rivin. If you enjoy her episodes, please consider supporting her on Patreon.

On today's episode Elyse takes us to the wonderful Orsay Museum. The Orsay Museum is a favorite of visitors from North America because it's an "easy" museum to visit. Plenty there to see, but it's not near as big as the Louvre for example.

But some people just don't like museums and wonder if it's worth their time. In this episode we tell you why even people who are not big into museums should visit the Orsay.

The Biggest Collection of Impressionist Art

You can't see such a collection of Manet, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec anywhere in the world. You'll get to see pieces in real life that you've seen on posters your whole life. You'll see how Van Gogh used the thickness of the paint to create the impression of 3D on the flat surface of the canvas. And you can gawk at these masterpieces as long as you wish!

Orsay Museum Architecture

The building used to be a train station with a massive open space in the middle. It was an upscale train station with Art Déco inspiration and the iconic massive clocks pictured below. Just seeing the inside of the building is worth the ticket price!

The Smart Way to Visit the Orsay Museum

And, of course, on this episode, Elyse gives you hints on how to organize your visit so you get the most of it. Have you been? Did you love it? Are you still undecided? We help you think it through on this episode.

Learn More: First Time in Paris


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the Orsay museum clock seen from the inside
Photo Annie Sargent
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Categories: First Time in Paris, Museums in Paris, Paris

7 Replies to “How to Prepare for Your Visit to the Orsay Museum, Episode 15”

  1. Another great show…thanks so much. This one is especially meaningful to me as the Musee d’Orsay is my all time favorite thing to see/do in Paris. I make sure that I do at least one pilgrimage per year to Paris and that it always includes a visit to this museum. By now, I think of it as a place where some of my “friends” live and I come to visit certain ones especially. A little over the top I know but still quite true.

    So a couple of comments from listening to you today….I was reminded of a really great book for Americans who love this museum and Paris in general. It’s a long history book called The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by McCullough. I’m really awful at history but I was able to get through this book because of my love for art and for France…so I managed to pick up a little history, tangentially, I guess.

    I couldn’t agree more about buying your ticket online (and if in a hotel in Paris, you can usually get them to print for you) and I have to plug the restaurant in the museum. I consider that a part of the day’s experience for sure…great food…possible to find something not so expensive if you try a bit…and, surprisingly, the wait staff are actually friendly and helpful….they will work to make sure you enjoy your lunch and have a nice glass of wine to boot.

    Another point of agreement, is the value of seeing all the art if you have the time….I loved seeing and learning about some of the art preceeding and following and even loved the art deco furniture and vases and so on. Obviously I’m a die hard fan but it was great learning about the things I didn’t know also…certainly didn’t know it had a life prior to train station for example.
    Anyway thanks for another great podcast Elyse and Annie.

  2. Happy Bastille Day for those of you who are in France now!
    I was at the Orsay late June – the balcony is now open again – you can go outside, sit and take photos. The ice cream vendor wasn’t there the day I was there. You can still take photos with the roman numeral clock next to the cafe.

    I was able to see the Van Gogh / Artaud exhibit with paintings from the US and Amsterdam. It closed July 6th.

      1. Hi Annie
        I just saw the transcript notes to your first podcast. You wanted to know where your listeners are from. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I walked today listening to the Food podcast – I enjoyed it a lot (it was a long one so I got in my 10k steps). It was very thorough – full of valuable and interesting info.
        This is my 2nd time listening to your podcasts plus the interview with Chris too. I forget how I found your website. I mentioned before that I just came back from a month in Paris and I find your info so interesting.

        1. Thank you for letting us know Sharon! Walking while listening to a podcast about French food, sounds perfect to me 🙂

  3. I’m with Annie about photos in the Orsay.
    In Italy they have lifted the ban of no photos in the museums and it was fine. I think it makes for a less disruptive experience.

    You are not allowed to take photos in the Orangerie in the area with the Monet paintings. Well, when I was there in December people were doing it anyway because the guards in one room just did not pay attention.

    I get that they want you to buy their postcards and books but in this day and age when everyone has a camera it would be easier if they did like Italy and just lifted the photo ban.

    Love the show and keep up the great work.