You have only 2 hours to visit Orsay before you go to the airport and take your plane? You want to see the museum without losing a day in it? What is the best way to visit The Orsay museum and view its paintings and objects from the 19th century? Here are my tips about how to visit this wonderful museum without losing time or missing the most important things in the museum.
First, if you don’t want to lose time, buy your entrance ticket before you go to the museum. You can buy it on the Orsay Museum website. For children under 18 it’s free and also for young adults under 26 from the European Union, for them, you don’t need to buy a ticket.
If you have a ticket, you can enter through Gate C, which is just next to the main entrance and where there are less people than on the other gate. If you don’t have tickets and if the main entrance is full of people, you can go to the Orangerie (In The Tuileries garden, just next to Concorde square), which is on the other side of the Seine, almost in front of Musée D’Orsay, and buy a special ticket which allows you to enter in the Orangerie and in Orsay. There are less people here, normally, so you will save time.
To get to Orsay museum, you can go there by foot, or use the Metro, at Solferino on line 12 or RER C, Musée d’Orsay.
Once you enter the Museum, what to do next? If you don’t have much time, go directly to the top floor, the 5th, to see the most famous impressionist paintings the museum has. Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir will wait for you there. If you are fond of Impressionism, you can also go to the Orangerie Museum which is just on the other side of the Seine, or go to Musée Marmottan, Monet’s museum in Paris, on the 16th arrondissement (La Muette metro Station on line 9).
Then, at the end of the galleries, do not take the stairs just yet, because you would miss out on one of the most wonderful views of the museum! Just turn left in front of the stairs, and take the corridor. Then look at the inside of the museum: you are behind the great Clock (picture below)! You can now enjoy the view over the museum’s statues.
If you still have time, just walk to different galleries, there are objects too, like furniture, which I love to pass by, because they are from the 19th and early 20th centuries. After impressionist paintings, there are two things you should not miss: the view, from the last floor, of Paris, you can see the Seine, the Louvre, Tuileries Garden, it’s really beautiful, you can see it through the outside clock (Orsay used to be a Train Station, that is why there are so many clocks!), and you should go to the “Salle des fêtes” (ballroom), on the second floor, with its large chandeliers, all the gilding. I love this place, because we see all the old buildings of Paris, palaces and everything, but we can never see how it was inside, so it is really a wonderful experience to go to the Orsay ballroom.