I was at a museum yesterday (in LA) and they had a few of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral paintings on display, and it reminded me of visits to my favorite museum in the world: the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
For a lot of people, the Musée d’Orsay is the second must-see museum in Paris (after the Louvre). The Louvre is definitely amazing (historic, huge, and home to some absolutely can’t-miss pieces of art like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo). That said, I like the Musée d’Orsay even more.
First of all, the place itself is very cool. The museum is built into an old train station (a huge one). They still have a giant old-fashioned clock up on the glass-paned wall at one end, and when you walk through the main atrium, it kind of feels like you could be going to catch a train sometime around the turn of the 20th century.
Then there’s the art itself. The focus is on all the most well-known Impressionists, which tends to be my favorite. They have a slew of famous paintings here, including many by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and all the other household names. It’s also a really easy museum to navigate. It’s not too big, it’s a straightforward setup, and when you get to the end you feel like you’ve seen it all.
So if you like art (especially paintings, especially Impressionist paintings), and you’re going to Paris, I highly recommend the Musée d’Orsay.