Wednesday, April 8, 2009


While the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay are always at the top of any travel guide list, there are a plethora of other museums in town that one can roam through. From grand homes left to the state to museums dedicated to a particular artist, Paris has it all. Wikipedia claims there are at least 153
museums in town. Clearly, there is something for everyone. That being said, before a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Musée de l’Orangerie. Well, the secret is out. Situated in the Jardin Tuileries on the opposite side from the Louvre, l’Orangerie displays art from primarily the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is frankly an impressionistic Heaven.

Step into the museum and one is greeted by some of Claude Monet’s spectacular Waterlillies (Nymphéas in French). Created late in the artist’s life, these depictions from his own water garden in Giverny are something to behold. What fascinates this viewer most is that these grand paintings were created while Monet was nearing blindness. While it would be easy for him to have thrown in the towel and given up on his creative process, this man would not hear of it and continued to express himself through his art until his last days—even though he could barely see what he was painting. His style may have changed dramatically in his later years, but posterity can be nothing short of grateful for the entirety of his collections that he left for us.

Situated on curved walls designed specifically for each of his grand paintings, these gigantic works of art (21.5” x 64.5”) simply take the onlookers breath away. Sit on the benches, stand back at a distance and look upon the paintings up close. You will see a different perspective from each vantage point.

After spending time with Monsieur Monet, continue on through museum and peruse through the collection accumulated by Paul Guillaume and Jean Walter. A sampling from artist’s such as Renoir, Modigliani, Picasso and Soutine all delight the viewer’s eye.

Open everyday, except Tuesdays, May 1st and Christmas Day from 9am to 6pm. Guided tours in English are held every Monday and Thursday at 2:30 for € 8.00. Audio guides are also available for € 5.00 (€ 3.50 reduced rate).

Entry fee:
Full rate: € 7.50
Reduced rate: € 5.50
Free on the first Sunday of the month.
Be prepared to wait in line on the free day. It may seem long and appear to not be moving at all because they only allow people to enter in intervals. But even a long line goes fast for they allow large amounts of people inside when they do, approximately every five minutes or so.

Bring food and drink to enjoy after your visit in the Tuilieries Gardens just outside. Chairs align several ponds and on a nice day you can relax your weary feet and enjoy a lovely view of the surroundings.

Thank you for reading and bonne journée!