Located in the heart of the Tuileries Garden, the Musée de l’Orangerie is one of Captain Ulysses’ favorite museums in Paris!
Nestled in the former orangery of the garden, the museum now houses wonderful collections of impressionist and post-impressionist works. Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, Cézanne, Le Douanier Rousseau, Soutine… In short, the crème de la crème! 👌
⚠️ Reservation required ⚠️
From now on, visitors must book their tickets to the Musée de l’Orangerie online.
Book your tickets: tickets to the Musée de l’Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie in a few words
A museum nestled in the heart of the Tuileries Garden
Like the Borghese Gallery, nestled in the wonderful Borghese Gardens in Rome, the Musée de l’Orangerie is located in a green setting as famous as it is exquisite: the Tuileries Garden.
The museum is also located within walking distance of many of the French capital’s most emblematic sites and monuments: the Place de la Concorde, the Louvre Museum, the Musée d’Orsay and the Place Vendôme.
Brief history of the Musée de l’Orangerie
The orangery of the Tuileries Garden
Let’s go back in time to the 19th century, shall we? If the museum is called “Orangerie”, there is of course a reason! The building was erected in 1852 according to the plans of the architect Firmin Bourgeois.
As you may have guessed, it was not originally intended to be a museum, but rather to house the orange trees of the Tuileries Garden during the winter… hence its name!
This is the reason why this beautiful building, perched on the Waterfront Terrace above the Seine, is almost entirely glazed on the south side (to receive the sun’s warmth) and blind on the north side (to protect it from the north wind).
Monet, Clemenceau and the Musée de l’Orangerie
In 1921, the building was assigned to the Under-Secretary of State for Fine Arts. Georges Clemenceau, President of the Council and a great friend of Claude Monet, proposed to display in the Orangerie the monumental canvases on which the painter was working at the time and which he was planning to offer to the French State.
Assisted by the architect Camille Lefèvre, Claude Monet himself supervised the remodelling of the building. The two oval rooms forming the sign of infinity where the Water Lilies are still exhibited today were designed at Monet’s request.
The Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection
Between 1959 and 1963, the French State acquired the 146 paintings that make up the stunning Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection.
Domenica Walter, widow of the art dealer Paul Guillaume and later of the architect Jean Walter, thus fulfilled the wish of her first husband, who had asked her to preserve and enrich his collections in order to create “the first museum of French modern art”.
The Walter-Guillaume collection moved to the Musée de l’Orangerie after the death of Mrs. Walter in the late 1970s.
The Musée de l’Orangerie and the Musée d’Orsay
In 2010, the Musée de l’Orangerie was officially coupled to the Musée d’Orsay (after having been attached to the Musée du Luxembourg and the Musée du Louvre).
Visiting the Musée de l’Orangerie
🤔 Impressionism and postimpressionism 🤔
→ Impressionism is an art movement that appeared in France in the 1860s. It counts among its ranks many of the most iconic artists of the 19th century: Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Morisot… The movement is distinguished by its modern depiction of light and movement as well as its use of bright colors and its quick and fluid paint strokes.
→ Postimpressionism is a pictorial movement in vogue between the 1880s and about 1920s. Heterogeneous and varied, postimpressionism encompasses a host of currents and styles characterized by new formal research and new risk-taking (pointillism, symbolism, etc.). Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat are all representatives of post-impressionism in France and Europe.
Monet’s Water Lilies
Unlike the vast majority of works of art exhibited in museums around the world, the Water Lilies are presented to the public in exhibition rooms designed and organized by the artist himself. And Claude Monet left nothing to chance to highlight his monumental paintings.
The Water Lilies thus take up residence in two vast oval rooms forming the sign of infinity (∞). The rooms are oriented from east to west so as to be placed in the path of the sun, but also in the Parisian axis linking the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre Palace.
Skylights have been built into the ceiling to immerse the visitor in a “state of grace”.
As for the 8 canvases, they represent in XXL format (2 meters high and 6 to 17 meters long) the water lilies of the artist’s garden (in Giverny) at different times of the day and year.
The Walter and Guillaume Collection
Located on level -1, in a completely renovated space, the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection exhibits 146 impressionist and post-impressionist paintings by iconic artists: Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Sisley, Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Marie Laurencin, le Douanier Rousseau, Derain and Soutine.
In short, the best of the best from 1860 to 1920.
Outside the museum
A few works of art have escaped the museum! Among these, do not miss four bronze statues by Rodin: Ève, Méditation avec bras (Meditation with arms), L’Ombre (The Shadow) and Le Baiser (The Kiss).
Temporary exhibitions at the Musée de l’Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie regularly organizes beautiful temporary exhibitions focusing on a theme (American painting of the 1930s…) or an artist (Giorgio de Chirico, Soutine, de Kooning…).
Access to the exhibition is included in the entrance ticket.
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to know more about the history of Paris? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the capital. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Are you looking for a hotel in Paris? Feel free to have a look at the Captain’s article: Where to stay in Paris? Tips & recommendations
Getting to the Musée de l’Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie is located in the Tuileries Garden, near the Place de la Concorde.
The nearest metro stations are Concorde (lines 1, 8, 12) and Tuileries (line 1). Numerous buses (lines 42, 45, 52, 72, 73, 84, 94, Concorde stop) – as well as hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses – also stop near the museum.
The Musée de l’Orangerie is open every day except on Tuesdays, from 9am to 6pm. It is closed on May 1st, the morning of July 14th and December 25th.
Tickets for the Orangery Museum are €12.50 full price (€10 for reduced price).
⚠️ Visitors are required to book their admission ticket online in advance! To book your tickets, click here: tickets to the Musée de l’Orangerie
💡 Insider tip: Access to the Orangerie Museum is also included in the Museum Pass. This pass allows you to enjoy direct access to more than 60 museums and monuments in Paris, including the Louvre, Orsay Museum, and the Pompidou Center. Learn more: Paris Museum Pass.
More info: Paris Museum Pass
👉 Skip the lines in Paris: book your tickets and tours in advance!
Looking for advice and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: Looking for an accommodation in Paris? Good news: there are plenty of options in the French capital. To book your hotel in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends the website Booking.com. From cheap hostels to luxury palaces, you’ll have plenty of options to chose from. As for the localisation, it depends both on your budget and on what you’re looking for. If you can’t afford staying in the most expensive areas of the capital, the Captain recommends that you look for a hotel in the 12th or 13th arrondissements: they’re not as central, but are very well connected to the centre of Paris. The Buttes au Cailles, which looks just like a small village, is one of the Captain’s favourite neighbourhoods in Paris. If you’d rather stay in a chic and sophisticated hotel, here are the best 3 options according to the Captain: the St. James , the Dokhan’s and the Metropolitan .
🎟️ Activities : in order to book skip-the-line tickets, tours and activities in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends GetYourGuide and Civitatis. Guided tours, entrance tickets, cruises, unusual activities: there’s plenty to chose from. If you want to avoid queuing to get into museums and monuments, the Captain suggests opting for skip-the-line tickets.
⛵ City cruises: Can you really visit Paris without going on a cruise on the Seine? The Captain loves sailing on the river and admiring the emblematic monuments of the French capital, especially at nightfall. You will find a large selection of cruises in Paris here.
🎫 City cards : If you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, you should definitely consider investing in a city card giving access to the capital’s top museums and landmarks. which includes access to the most famous monuments in Paris.
🚐 Transfers: the parisian airports are located outside the city and getting to the city centre can be quite expensive.
If your budget is tight, the Captain recommends the RATP shuttles that will drop you off at Opera if you’re coming from Roissy airport and at Denfert-Rochereau if you’re coming from Orly airport.
But for a few extra euros, you can book a transfer that will take you directly to your hotel.
If you are traveling in a group, this option is all the more interesting. Find out more here.
🚌 Transports: While you’ll be able to explore part of the city on foot, you will have to use the parisian public transports to explore some of the capital’s landmarks. In order to avoid accumulating (and losing) metro tickets, the Captain recommends opting for an unlimited transport pass. You can buy it directly at in any metro station.
Open tour buses (audioguides included) are also a good option.
If you’d rather explore Paris on a boat, you will love the batobus, a river shuttle on the Seine !
✈️ Flights, trains & buses : Good news: getting to Paris is quite easy! If you’re planning on flying to the capital, the Captain recommends Skyscanner, an online comparator which is perfect for finding the best deals. If your dates are flexible, you can even compare prices over several weeks. Paris is also easily accessible by train and bus. To book your tickets, the Captain highly recommends Omio, which integrates the offer of 207 train and bus companies in 44 countries.
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