Things to do in the Orangerie
Located at the west end of the Tuileries Gardens, not far from the Louvre and just across from the Place de la Concorde, the Musée de l’Orangerie is a gem often overlooked by visitors. A former greenhouse where citrus plants were kept, the Orangerie hosts one of the greatest masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. In a more peaceful atmosphere than the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie will please visitors seeking an intimate tête-à-tête with artistic geniuses Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Modigliani among others. This article will give you details about the best things to do in the Orangerie.
Claude Monet’s masterworks: the Nymphéas (Water Lilies)
The first thing you need to do in the Orangerie is to admire the Water Lilies of Monet. Set in a refined framework, the Nymphéas‘ dreamy quality will offer visitors the most astonishing overview of Impressionist art. Depicting Monet’s “jardin d’eau” at his house in Giverny, the breathtaking panels provide “an illusion of an endless whole of water without horizon and without shore“, according to the artist himself. Housed in twin oval-shaped chambers designed by the master, the monumental murals introduce the visitors to a meditation at peace.
Gifted to the people of France, the paintings were slightly damaged in August 1944 during the battle for the Liberation of Paris, then immediately restored much to the pleasure of the viewers. The Water Lilies reflect the artist’s intense absorption in the private world of his garden and attract visitors into the world of romanticism and reverie.
The Jean Walter & Paul Guillaume collection: Impressionist and Post-Impressionist jewels
The Musée de l’Orangerie‘s treasures are not limited to the 8-panels of Monet’s Water Lilies so the second thing to do in the Orangerie is to visit its subterranean section. It houses a permanent exhibition of nineteenth and early-twentieth century masterpieces known as the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection. Featuring works from French and foreign masters, namely from Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani or Picasso, the collection includes 144 works of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.
Representative of a new type of collector emerged in the late nineteenth century, Paul Guillaume managed to reconcile the realities of the art market with disinterested delight, intellectual ambition as well as desire for prestige. The collection is displayed in a set intended to convey the feeling of “a private residence filled with classical references“. These classical references include:
– Paysage de neige (Landscape with Snow) – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
– Le pin à l’Estaque (Landscape with Red Roof) – Paul Cézanne, precursor of cubism
– Le Jeune Apprenti (The Young Apprentice) – Amedeo Modigliani, prominent artist from the Ecole de Paris
After having experienced two centuries of art with such intensity, let impressions settle with a walk through the Tuileries gardens, and have a rest on the typical green chairs around the basin while enjoying the view of the most beautiful perspective of Paris. From there, take a look at the Arch of Triumph, the Obelisk, the Pyramid of the Louvre.
Opening hours: Open 9 am – 6 pm Mon, Wed-Sun; Tuesday closed. Come early to get a sense of peace and quietness.
Price: Adult admission = 9€ + any additional fee for temporary exhibits; 6.50€ reductions; free under-18 years.
FREE – First Sunday of each month.
You now know some of the best things to do in the Orangerie! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article. Feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences! Also, don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything! You will love visiting the Orangerie if you’re looking for a lovely place away from the touristy places, because most travelers don’t visit this museum. I hope to see you soon in one of our tours while in Paris!