Guided Tour of the Museum D’Orsay and Impressionist Treasures
- Edouard Manet: Thirty-four of this artist’s works are on display, and those created in the later years of his life show the influence he had over the future generation of French artists.
- Gustave Courbet: Landscapes, seascapes, nudes and still lifes demonstrate Courbet’s focus on creating art from the reality he observed around him. The Artist’s Studio is part self-portrait, part depiction of various people who influenced him.
- Edgar Degas: The world of dance served as inspiration for Degas, as more than half of his pieces feature dancers as the subject. His talent in creating movement through his art is extraordinary.
- Impressionist Paintings: The list of works by Impressionist artists is extensive, but includes such renowned names as Gaugin, Rousseau, Munch, Klimt, Van Gogh and Monet.
About this Paris tour
You’ll be amazed and captivated by the Impressionist collection at the Orsay Museum, with the characteristic visibly slender brush strokes and emphasis on creating accurate swaths of light. But don’t forget to pay proper consideration to the building that houses these masterpieces. The museum occupies the space of the former Gare d’Orsay, a railroad station built in 1900 to serve as the end terminal of the Paris-Orleans Railway – the first electrified long-distance train in the world.
About 40 years later, the station’s platforms were too short to accommodate the longer trains that ran the route to Southwestern France. But the rail tradition continued into World War II, where it served as a collection point for sending packages to prisoners of war held by the Nazis. A few years later, it was a reception center for prisoners who had been liberated by the Allied armies.
The French Government purchased the Gare d’Orsay in 1977 and converted it into the Orsay Museum of today, though it didn’t open until December 1986. The clock that oversees the main terminal of the museum is the same one used by conductors, passengers and others back in the day – and it still works.
Controversy Surrounds The Luncheon on the Grass
This Manet creation almost didn’t make it to the Orsay’s walls, after being rejected by the renowned Salon – the official art exhibition of the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. Members of the jury claimed it was underdeveloped, lacked definition and was just plain “flabby.” Perhaps the artists who voted against the piece didn’t want to call attention to the real reason they turned down Manet’s submission: It was quite risqué for the day, prominently featuring two females – one nude, one scantily clad – joining two fully dressed men for a lovely lunch in the woods. While an affront to public decency in many minds, the scene would actually have been commonplace in the woods west of Paris: The region was well-known as a pick-up spot for prostitutes.
Please meet your expert guide inside the entrance of the Orsay Museum, where tickets are purchased.
Although your time with your guide is 1.5 hours, you are welcome to stay as long as you would like, after your guided tour, to view the Museum on your own.
The Orsay Museum is wheelchair accessible. Plan to be standing and walking for 2 hours.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Private Tour
Entrance to Musee d'Orsay.
French, English, German, Russian, Spanish
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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