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Make the Most of your Visit to the Museé d'Orsay

The complete guide to one of the most iconic museums in Paris.

the main hall of the Museé d’Orsay, Paris

On my first trip to Paris, I only had time to properly visit one museum. For many reasons, I opted for the Musee d'Orsay. A scan of the websites determined that the art on display at Musee d'orsay was more my vibe. And frankly, the Louvre intimidates me, and everyone tells me the Mona Lisa is overrated. I’ll see her next time lol.

Here are the things I learned from my inaugural trip to the Museé D'Orsay, to help you make the most of your visit!

#1 - Reserve your Tickets, and Reserve Early

Reserve your tickets in advance, and pick the earliest possible time slot on your visit day. You absolutely must reserve your entrance ticket in advance. If you don’t, you will be caught in an interminable line just to get in the door, watching the line of presales move steadily by while you stand in place thinking about all the art that you’re not seeing. Reserve your ticket ahead of time. And while you’re at it, pick one of the earliest possible entrance times. The earlier you

massive clock face window at the Museé d’Orsay, Paris

get in, the more time you'll have to enjoy the galleries before they get packed.

#2 - Skip the Coat Check

The coat check at the Museé d’Orsay is free of charge, which makes it tempting. And if you arrive within the first hour of the museum opening (which you did, right?) the line will be almost nonexistent. All this makes it very tempting to just drop your items off before you explore. And the drop off will go fast. After all, there’s almost no line. But you know when there will be a line? A few hours from now when you’re preparing to leave the museum. You’ll stand in line for a half hour worrying about missing your lunch reservation and wishing you had just held onto your coat. Just carry your coat.

#3 - Start from the Top and Work Your Way Down

The third floor is the superstar of the Museé d’Orsay, full of the kind of names even the most art-resistant will recognize, like Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir. Since the top galleries house the biggest names, they’re also the first to get uncomfortably crowded. If you arrive in the first hour the museum is open (which you did, right?!?), you’ll have a little time to explore these areas with more breathing room than you would at, say, two in the afternoon. Make sure you stand in front of Van Gogh’s Church at Auvers for an inappropriately long amount of time. I straight up forgot the Church at Auvers was at the Museé d’Orsay until I saw it and I lost my damn mind.

#4 - Don't Sleep on the Second Floor Galleries

a painting at the Museé d’Orsay, Paris

While most museum guests are rushing to the third floor and admiring all the statuary in the open air center of the museum (both of which you should definitely do), step into all the galleries on the outer edge of the second floor. Most of the pieces you’ll see on the walls are markedly less famous than the ones you’ll find elsewhere, but there are some truly exquisite works on display. And after the press of the top floor, you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself.

Enjoy your Visit to the Museé d'Orsay!

But all these tips aside, most of all, soak in all the beautiful art this beautiful museum has to offer. Paris is one of the great cultural centers of Europe, and of the world, and its museums are truly world class. Enjoy!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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