Musée d’Orsay is a work of art in itself. It was originally a train station until 1975, when the Direction des Musées de France considered installing a museum in a train station where all the art from the second half of the 19th century could be displayed. The station then underwent refurbishment and was finally opened in the winter of 1986.
There are six statues in the square outside the museum that represent the six continents, which were originally produced for the 1878 Exposition Universelle. Lines outside are usually long, we had to wait around 15 minutes before we could actually get in, which is not that bad compared to other tourist places in Paris.
A general entry ticket is €12 while one for those between the ages of 18-25 is €9. However, I was lucky enough to get in for free as entry is gratuit for European citizens or residents under the age of 25, all you have to do is show one of the employees at the entrance your ID. Entry is also free on the first Sunday of every month for everyone. You can find more information regarding ticket prices here.
I loved visiting this museum. From the actual architecture of the museum, to the set up, to the pieces displayed; I got my life. The entrance to the museum is a display of numerous marble sculptures, while the rest of it is split into several sections, all containing a multitude of different art; anything from paintings, photographs, furniture to other pieces of mixed media.
My visit was during the showing of the Spectacular Second Empire, 1852-1870 exhibition (ended January 2017), where the museum wanted to display the “different stages on which our modernity was invented”. It was there that I got to see the famous Henri Regnault painting, Exécution sans jugement sous les rois maures de Grenade, which is a masterpiece.
As always, my favorite part of the museum was the one section where I found a lot of my own people represented, and it was the Orientalism section. I was pleasantly surprised though (and mighty excited) as I found one of my all-time favorite art pieces right there in that section and promptly lost all of my composure.
Nasreddine Dinet (born as Étienne Dinet) was a French orientalist painter. He made his first trip to Algeria in 1884 and his second the following year. In 1903, he bought a house in Southern Algeria and spent most of his time there. In 1908, he announced his intentions to convert to Islam and finally, he completed his formal conversion and changed his name to Nasreddine in 1913. He mostly painted the Southern Algerian landscapes of Bou-Saada and Laghouat, whilst his human subjects were the people of the Ouled-Nail tribe. His painting, Esclave d’amour et Lumière des yeux : Abd-el-Gheram et Nouriel-Aîn, Légende arabe, is one of my all-time favorite art pieces.
The trip to Musée D’Orsay is definitely worth it. I know Le Louvre is probably the most popular museum in Paris but it’s so vast that I feel like it doesn’t give you enough time to appreciate everything there. I appreciated both the set-up and the carefully curated pieces of display and would recommend a trip there to anyone thinking of visiting Paris.