The Musee D’Orsay is one of my favorite museums. It is in a beautiful building- a former train station built around 1900 with a wonderful soaring vaulted ceiling. There was a large renovation in 2011 and I’m looking forward to seeing the new space. This is the home of a large collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist art and the museum director felt that the natural light on the upper floors made it difficult to see the depth of color in the paintings themselves.
I’ve talked about some of the smaller museums that I like in Paris and though the D’Orsay is not as small as those, one of the reasons I like it is that it is very manageable to visit. The Louvre is magnificent, but it’s also overwhelming. My feeling is that the Louvre should be visited one section at a time. The D’Orsay can be visited in an afternoon and you don’t leave exhausted.
One of my favorite paintings there is actually not in the Impressionist collection, but is by Leon Frederic, a Belgian painter. It’s called “The Age of the Worker”. It was painted in around 1895/1897 so it is of the same time as the Impressionists. And like the Impressionist paintings, it tells a story and the longer you look at it, the more things you see.
Go and visit the D’Orsay on your next visit. However, be sure, if you will be there between May and October, to buy your tickets ahead of time, so you can skip the long line (though you may very well still have a short line to stand in). Enjoy!