Destination: Paris
Top Ten
1 Centre Georges Pompidou
2 Les Champs-Elysées
3 La Grande Arche de la Défense
4 Les Invalides
5 Le Louvre
6 Notre-Dame
7 Orsay, Musée d'
8 Les Quais
9 La Tour Eiffel
10 La Villette
7 Orsay, Musée d'

Once a mainline railway station, the Musée d'Orsay has been successfully converted into one of Paris's three major art museums.

Built in 1900, the Gare d'Orsay was narrowly saved from demolition by a daring plan to turn it into a museum dedicated to all forms of art from 1848 to 1914, and intended as the chronological link between the Louvre and the Musée National d'Art Moderne. The Musée d'Orsay was inaugurated by President Mitterrand in 1986.

The main hall, with the station clock, was retained to create a sense of unity between painting, sculpture, architecture, design, photography and the cinema. The collections are spread over three levels:

The Lower Level deals with the years from 1848 to 1870; small flights of steps lead off the central alleyway to various exhibition areas where major sculptures are displayed, including a group of graceful figures by Carpeaux entitled La Danse. On either side is a comprehensive collection of paintings of the same period - works by Ingres, Delacroix, Corot, Courbet and the Realists, as well as the beginning of Impressionism with early works by Monet, Manet, Pissarro etc.

On the Upper Level is the prestigious Impressionist and post-Impressionist collection, undoubtedly the main attraction of the museum: masterpieces by Manet (Olympia), Degas (Blue Dancers), Sisley (Snow in Louveciennes), Renoir (Bathers), Monet (The Houses of Parliament, Rouen Cathedral), Cézanne (The Card Players), Van Gogh (The Church at Auvers-sur-Oise), Gauguin and the school of Pont-Aven, Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec and many others.

The Middle Level is dedicated to the period from 1870 to 1914 and includes important works by Rodin (Balzac), paintings by the Nabis school, as well as a comprehensive section on art nouveau (Lalique, Gallé, Guimard, Mackintosh and Wright).

Address: 1 rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris
Phone: 01 40 49 48 14; recorded information: 01 45 49 11 11
Open: Tue-Sat 10-6, Sun 9-6; late night: Thu 9:45. Closed Mon, 1 Jan, 1 May, 25 Dec
Restaurant: Restaurant (Middle Level) (Inexpensive) and pleasant 'Café des hauteurs' (Upper Level) (Inexpensive)
Bus: 24, 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, 94
Metro: Solférino
Accessible: Very good
Admission: Moderate
Practical: Guided tours, shops, concerts, film shows
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