Musée d’Orsay, If Art Were A Dessert

If art were a dessert, Musée d’Orsay would be the patisserie. Housing the biggest and probably most impressive collection of impressionist paintings, Musée d’Orsay can easily capture the hearts of art admirers hungry for some sweet art. A former train station, the museum still has the feel of the rails but ornately embellished in Beaux-Arts style and filled with sculptures and paintings from the late 18th to the early 19th century. The museum is indeed a transition between the ancient art of the Louvre and the contemporary exhibits of the Centre Pompidou, the two other major museums in Paris. Personally, this is my favourite museum in Paris because, even though it has a remarkable collection, it just contains the right amount of grandeur to take in for the day. A visit at the Louvre for example can be too overwhelming. Your first few minutes in the Louvre would be great but after hundreds of paintings and a tiring stroll, everything would start to look repetitive (especially if you are a normal tourist like me and not really that of an art enthusiast).

Clockwise from Top Left: The main center hall of the museum, a view of the right bank skyline with the famous Sacre-Coeur Basilica at the peak, from the museum terrace, the one of the gigantic clocks flocked by tourists offering stunning silhouettes, and a part of Monet's water lily painting.
Clockwise from Top Left: The main center hall of the museum, a view of the right bank skyline with the famous Sacre-Coeur Basilica at the peak seen from the museum terrace, one of the gigantic clocks (flocked by tourists) offering stunning silhouettes, and a part of Monet’s famous water lily painting.

Musée d’Orsay offers a different experience. The hidden gem is at the fifth floor which is a trove of touching impressionist paintings from masters – Monet, Manet, Degas, Cezanne, Pissarro, among others. The paintings are so moving that you will truly discover why they have been a big deal since their time until now. The fifth floor also has a restaurant and two giant glass clocks with silhouettes to enjoy and an awesome panorama of the right bank dominated by the ivory domes of Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. The petite Musée de l’Orangerie across the river at the Tuileries gardens also is a good extension to cap your Musée d’Orsay impressionist tour with a long wall of Monet water lily murals waiting for you to gaze at. This museum is beyond doubt, something to not miss on your visit to Paris especially if you want to have the taste of art that the city is famous for.

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