Darlene Foster's Blog

Musée d’Orsay

Posted on: March 29, 2019

I can’t believe it is almost a year since we drove to Paris and saw the most amazing sights. I’ve written about it here, here and here. But I haven’t yet mentioned my visit to the fabulous Musée d’Orsay. It was on my list of things to see it but was not sure we would have time. It was our last day and we had a couple of hours free in the late afternoon. My friend said, “Let’s go!” I am so glad we did as it was incredible. Seeing works of art I have admired all my adult life, made my heart sing!

The building itself is a masterpiece. It’s located in the centre of Paris on the banks of the Seine, in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The building, no longer used as a railway station, was scheduled for demolition when the idea of using it to display collections of art from the period of 1848 to 1914 was suggested. In December of 1986 the museum was opened to the public.

Visitors are greeted by the magnificent decor of this former train station that came so close to being destroyed. I was gobsmacked the minute I walked through the doors.

One of the first paintings that caught my attention was Millet’s The Gleaners. I have always loved this painting of women collecting leftover grain after the harvest. Perhaps because of my rural background.

On the next wall I spotted Corot’s Le Moulin de Saint-Nicholas-lez-Arras and burst into tears. For the first ten years of my working life I was employed by a wonderful German woman who owned a gift shop in Medicine Hat, Alberta, called Ed’s Studio craft. She imported many things from Europe and was an art afficianado. She taught me so much about business, art and culture. We sold among other things, art prints and art cards. She gave me many wonderful gifts over the years which I treasure, including an art card depicting this painting. She sadly passed away at a young age.

Le Moulin de Saint-Nicolas-lez-Arras by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. I always wished I could step inside that painting.

Of course there were many, many more of my favourites. Here are just a few.

Claude Monet’s Poppies

Renoir’s Dance at Le moulin de la Galette

Renoir’s Dance in the Country

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone

Van Gogh’s The Church at Auvers

From the roof top of the museum is a great view of Montmartre with the imposing La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)

Inside, looking through the clock with Sacre-Coeur in the background

Because it was once a train station, there are a number of impressive clocks in the building to add to the atmosphere. Perhaps telling us that art is timeless and stirs emotions from the past, the present and the future.

To view these works of art in this amazing place is a must. I wished we had more time but I plan one day to return.

Have you been to Musée d’Orsay? Or any art museum that stirred your soul?

88 Responses to "Musée d’Orsay"

What a collection and the place to house these works of arts is perfect. Thanks for sharing!

It was the perfect place to view these works of art. And not crowded. Many times I was the only person in the room.

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful visit!

The first time I was there, it reminded me of seeing the Grand Canyon. Sure I’d seen it thousands of times in pictures. But nothing prepared me for actually seeing the real thing. Great art is the same. You understand the impulse to get copies, but at the same time you know the copies will never have the same impact.

One of my favorite Paris museums is l’Orangerie, which Monet designed to hold his massive waterlilies under natural light allowing visitors to become part of the experience. It’s magic.

Exactly. There is nothing like the real thing. I must make a note of l’Orangerie for the next time I visit Paris. So much to do and see in that city. Thanks for commenting, Barb.

How beautiful, Darlene! I was moved by your bursting into tears. I remember going to an impressionist display at the National Gallery in DC and viewing paintings through tears. It is so emotional to see such beauty and art pieces you’ve always longed to see in person. Thank you for sharing your visit.

So you know the feeling. As a young girl growing up on the prairies I never thought I would get an opportunity to see these things. It is awesome when dreams come true.

Just fabulous, Darlene.

It is indeed. Thanks, Mary.

Thank you for sharing your pictures with us. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, but never have. Maybe some day.

You really should visit. You would be amazed at the history and culture. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

I saw this 50 years ago when I went with a college group. What an experience. It looks pretty much the same. Of course, that’s the nature of great art, innit?

Great art never changes. Many people see these things as students or young adults. I had to wait until later in life but so glad I did get to see it.

Gorgeous art Darlene. I particularly loved Van Gogh’s church at Auvers and those clocks are fabulous. 🙂

The pictures don’t do them justice but I needed to remind myself that I had seen them. The church at Auvers is one of my favorite Van Goghs. I love clocks and those were amazing.

I can’t believe I have not been to Musee D’Orsay yet!! Next time in Paris, that is definitely one of the first place to visit. Especially to see the work of Van Gogh, one of my favourite artists. Those paintings are exquisite 🙂

A most excellent collection and no line ups and crowds. Give yourself lots of time. The Impressionists are on the very top floor. I do hope you get to visit.

Thanks for the tip. Have a great weekend Darlene. X

It is the most fabulous place and this does it great justice. I don’t know if you ever went to it’s predecessor the Jeu de Paume? It was a bit cramped but at the time I first saw it 1984 I was blown away. Then they move to this Musee and it’s even better… love Parisian museums…

The French know how to do museums, don´t they? This my first ever visit to Paris so I had not seen the Jeu de Paume. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Been there! Great experience!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Nice to see you here. So you know how I felt!

I went with my sister to Paris a while back and have always remembered this place as one of our highlights, the clocks and the light and open feel about it. I loved seeing the Renoir paintings in real life.

And to think I almost missed it. So glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

It is a beautiful museum with world famous works of Art. It is wonderful when we are moved by a particular object, may it be natural or man-made. Have you ever thought about visiting the mill at Saint-Nicolas-les-Arras? It sounds like it would be a magical thing to do. I am a great fan of Impressionism and would definitely enjoy a visit to this museum. I am glad you have finally written about and shared your visit. Thank you. 👍💖

What a great idea. I must check out the location of the mill. I wonder if it is still there. You would just love this museum, Fatima.

I am sure it will be. The French are very good at preserving this type of thing. We came across a few last year.

What a stunning place Darlene. It sounds like a must see. I have return to Paris on my wish list.

I hope you return to Paris and visit this fabulous museum. You would not be disappointed.

We first visited here with our children in the late 80s specifically to look at Renoir’s if I remember rightly. It was really crowded which is often typical of so many galleries today, but worse now with everyone wanting a selfie with …

I was fortunate in that it was not crowded at all when I was there (mid-May). Of course, there were some selfie-takers.

OMG! I would have been overwhelmed with emotions and in seventh heaven. Seeing the real deal is priceless. Thank you, Darlene!!

You would have just loved it, Jennie. Nothing like the real thing!

The d’Orsay houses my favorite artists – Impressionism, I love! When we visited, viewing the art felt like a dream come true. Thanks for eliciting such wonderful memories, Darlene, with your post and pictures.

I too believe that art is timeless!

So pleased I brought back great memories for you, Marian. It was definitely a dream come true for me.

I have not been here or any museum that stirred my soul. It is certainly beautiful, and I love the clock. Thank you for sharing your adventure through pictures.

Pleased you enjoyed my visit through the post. The clock was fabulous. Housing the art in an old train station was very clever.

An incredible museum, DArlene. I love the Monet. I had a copy of it when I was a girl and I loved it.

Just like me and the Corot painting of the mill. To see these things in reality is an amazing feeling.

Wow, what wonderful paintings displayed in such a beautiful building.

What a grand and elegant place to exhibit some of the world’s most famous artwork! What a joy that trip must have been for you! Beautiful photo journey with you!

How can it be tomorrow already, as I look at the postings. Aren’t you five-six hours head of us?

It was such a fabulous trip, one I will never forget. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. The old train station is the perfect place to display these well-loved works of art. We are 9 hours ahead of Vancouver and 8 hours ahead of Alberta. But I think WordPress may be a bit confused. It is eight-thirty at night on March 29, my time, as I type this.

The museum has been on my wish list too so I thank you for sharing your photos with us.

I do hope you get to visit as it is amazing. The photos only give you a taste.

Darlene it sounds like this was a powerful experience for you. Not only the astounding art and architecture but the memories brought forward. Although I know very little about art, a print of the first painting hung in my grandparents home in rural Saskatchewan. Just seeing it in your post brought so many memories rushing back.

That is an amazing coincidence, (or is it?) But it is a painting that would appeal to rural Canadians. Glad it brought back good memories.

Beautiful place Paris and I can’t say I remember ever visiting this museum. Maybe next time. Thank you for sharing Darlene.

Paris is indeed beautiful. Not everyone gets to this museum but it is worth it!

Darlene, your post is a glory of art, wonderfully uplifting! I’ve been once to the museum as young dragged there by a friend as I’d never heard of it and thought it wouldn’t be any good. The building and art are stunning, as you so eloquently describe, and we spent hours wandering around – thank you for this vibrant reminder and sharing some of the paintings.

It´s always great to hear that someone else feels the same about the place. Glad I was able to stir some good memories!

Thank you, Darlene for allowing me to be an armchair traveler. My favorite painting is the Renoir Dance in the Country.

Thanks for the visit to my blog. I too love the Dance in the Country.

I enjoyed being able to virtually visit Musée d’Orsay via this post.

So pleased you enjoyed it, Sheryl! Thanks for dropping by.

[…] These are some amazing photos of some of the best paintings in the world, so beautiful via Musée d’Orsay […]

Must be an amazing experience to see in person what most of us only see in books. I have always loved Monet’s paintings. How incredible it would be to see one with my own eyes.

To see an original work of art is incredible. I too have been an admirer of Monet’s work for a long time and have been fortunate to have seen a number of his paintings. There was a display at the Vancouver Art Gallery two summers ago and I visited his gardens when in France last year. I have to pinch myself that I’m not dreaming when I see such amazing art.

Yes, I do recall reading your post from last year. You are fortunate to live in a part of the world where art by “the greats” is so accessible. On a different matter, have you heard from our mutual Scottish friend Lorna McInnes in a long time (Delightful Assistantships)? I’ve really missed seeing her on here.

I have sent you an email regarding Lorna.xo

To see the paintings in person WOW ! I saw the Pieta statue at the World’s Fair in New York in 1960.

That would be something to see as well. I was wowed for sure.

My wife and I go there every time we are in Paris, the last time last fall…and I always am stunned by that clock! Terrific story with great pictures…Pinned it!

Thanks, John. It is certainly a place to return to. Thanks for pinning!

We love it…always a crowd, so we plan ahead!

What a great place to visit. The artwork alone is worth it but that huge glass wall is also beautiful!

I know. Everything about it is amazing!

Stunning photos Darlene. You’re a wonderful tour guide. 🙂 x

Thanks, Debbie! Like you, I love to travel!!

I know this 🙂

Beautiful pics, Darlene – the next to last clock reminds me of the cover of a book I read.

It would make a great cover! Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

It all looks fabulous. What a brilliant idea to transform the train station, so much light. I do love the clock in the last picture, My grandmother had one on her mantle-piece that I’m guessing was modelled after it.

The old train station is the perfect place to display these works of art. Much better than demolishing it! I love the Victorian style clocks.

Deeply moved! Thank you so much for sharing Darlene!

So pleased you feel the same about it as me. And to think I almost missed it. Nice to see you here my friend.

Musée d’Orsay is my favorite museum in the world, especially because of its amazing collection of Impressionist Art. I have been there three times. I wanted to go again when we were in Paris last June but it was closed because of a strike. Oh well, guess I will have to wait until my next trip to Paris!

I can see why it is a favourite of so many. I know I will be back. Thanks for stopping in to comment!

How wonderful, Darlene. I didn’t make it into this museum because the queue was very long and it was pouring with rain. I always have an emotional reaction when I see paintings or buildings I recognise. I have been reduced to tears all over the world: The Met in New York, Ankor Wat in Cambodia and The Taj Mahal in India. 🙂

Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos

That makes you a true traveler! Travel should affect our emotions. Sorry you didn’t get to this art museum. Next time. We didn’t encounter any line ups. I guess we were lucky.

My wife and I went to Musee d’Orsay in 2002. We were standing alone in a little room and I turned around and lo and behold, there was Whistler’s Mother.

I know. Those are the amazing things in life that we never forget. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Stunning! Glad you enjoyed it there!

It was something else!

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