Paris is full to the brim with fantastic museums but if you’re short on time (or on patience for long museum lines) head to Museé d’Orsay! Once a decadent train station, it was converted into a museum space and it is the perfect size for a half day of Impressionist paintings.
Top 3 Tips:
- Buy a Museum Pass which allows access to a special line!
- Arrive before 10am while the other tourists are noshing on croissants.
- Hungry? There are 3 eating options: A quick cafe on the ground floor, Le café Campana on the top floor that serves a decadent hot cocoa and has gorgeous views of the Seine through a giant clock face AND a fancy formal restaurant from 1900 on the 1st floor. (Check out the cherub ceilings and fancy decor below!)
We got in early and planned to spend a half-day in the museum. First, we headed up to the Impressionist Floor and spent a good hour gazing at all the Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Van Goghs!
We stopped to snap a super-touristy pic in front of the clock face…
And we then hunted around for Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone‘… which was on loan to Toronto. Luckily, there is another area full of Van Gogh’s on a lower floor. I have to remind myself NOT touch the Van Goghs… when I get up close I just want to run my finger across all those brushstrokes. In person, the colors are richer and the ridges where Van Gogh himself pulled the paint around the canvas are deep.
I also loved this portrait that Paul Signac did of his wife.
Museé d’Orsay is the top of our list of museum recommendations and if we had stayed longer, we would have gone back another day. Don’t miss this gem!