Most famous for being the permanent home to Claude Monet’s masterpieces Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies), Musée de l’Orangerie holds a beautiful collection of impressionist and post-impressionist artworks of Renoir, Picasso, Cézanne, Modigliani and many more. You can find more on our love for the impressionist painters in our post on Musée D’Orsay. So it might not come as a surprise that we’re also writing this post on Musée de l’Orangerie.
It was on a rainy day that we visited this museum. We were actually planning to go to Musée d’Orsay however were a bit later than planned (what’s new?). That unfortunately meant: a huge line. Waste of our time… What else to see then? We decided to take a short walk leaving the Rive Gauche behind us and crossing the Seine to arrive at Jardin Tuileries, a beautiful stroke of green tranquility in the midst of the traffic buzz at Place de la Concorde on one side and tourists queueing at the Louvre on the other. And in the middle there it was: Musée de l’Orangerie.
The first great thing about this museum is that it’s somewhat lesser known, so you can just walk up to the entrance standing in line. The second, and most important, great aspect is that it really has an beautiful collection! I really didn’t expect this for the scale of the museum. But I was just amazed with the work hanging here of some of the greatest painters living in Paris, a center for European culture in its glory years at the end of the 19th century. Walking around here, I could imagine myself in 1895 living up this bourgeois-bohemian lifestyle together with painters, writers, musicians and poets who all flocked to Paris back then. Who knows, I might have been a painter myself…
For me, the highlight of the museum was the oval-shaped room that was made specifically for Monet’s Water Lilies. The room is so impressive as it enables you to be fully surrounded by the paintings. Also, here I fell in love with the intriguingly painted eyes in Modigliani’s work and the amazing craftmanship and use of color of Renoir.
Tickets for Musée de l’Orangerie are €10. However, you can get a good deal for €15 if you get a combined ticket with Musée d’Orsay. Or go for free on the first Sunday of the month, although it tends to get somewhat crowded then. After you visit the museum, make sure to take a walk around at the Jardin Tuileries and if the weather allows, take one of the free chairs, sit back and… relax. From here you can head to Rue Saint-Honoré to visit concept store Colette (we’re planning to write a post on this later) or admire the beautiful windows of the most expensive boutiques of the city. The rest of the area around Jardin Tuileries is rather touristy, so make sure not to linger for too long here…
Museé de L’Orangerie
Jardin de Tuileries, 75001
Open: Daily from 9:00 – 18:00, closed on Tuesdays
Metro: Line 1, 8 and 12 to Concorde