Visiting the Louvre and d’Orsay Museums

View of the Pyramid Entrance to the Louvre
View of the Pyramid Entrance to the Louvre

The Musee de Louvre and the d’Orsay are two of the most popular museums in Paris and if you’ve never been, you’ll want to put them high on your list. Even if you’ve been, you might want to re-visit like we did because there are always new things to see.
With the Museum Pass, the combined admission prices of just these two will more than pay for a day of the pass, even at the 2-day rate.

Musee de Louvre

The Louvre museum is a former royal palace originally built as a fortress in the 12th century and turned into a royal palace in the 16th century. It has been a museum since 1793. It is said to house over 38,000 objects of art and history and it would take years to see it all.

Braving the crowds at the Louve

For this reason, we can only manage a few hours at a time (which is why the Paris Museum Pass comes in handy). Because we’ve been before, we didn’t feel the need to see all the highlights (like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo), but instead some old favorites like the Winged Victory, the Raft of the Medusa, and part of the Egyptian wing.

How I feel when I have to wait in line.

The Winged Victory is one of my all-time favorite sculptures. She is power, grace, and beauty all in one.

Winged Victory in the Louvre
Winged Victory in the Louvre
Winged Victory in the Louvre
Winged Victory in the Louvre, my favorite.
Winged Victory in the Louvre
Winged Victory in the Louvre
Ceiling. This was once a palace, in case you forgot.
Ceiling. This was once a palace, in case you forgot.
The Raft of the Medusa
The Raft of the Medusa

As we were leaving the museum, we tried we try to find a bathroom that didn’t have a huge line as well as a usable, open exit (many were closed for security reasons).
TIP: Check out the restrooms in the balcony space above the Roman mosaic floors.

The Louvre museum is located in the 1st arrondissement. Opening days and times, as well as ticket info, can be found on the Museum’s website.

Musee d’Orsay

Inside the d'Orsay Museum, a former train station.
Inside the d’Orsay Museum, a former train station.

On another day we visited the d’Orsay museum which is housed inside an old train station built in the late 1800’s for the 1900 World Fair. Decommissioned as a train station after WW2, it opened in 1986 as a museum, intended to bridge the gap in the art timeline between the Louvre and the modern art at the Pompidou. The bulk of the art in the museum is Impressionist and post-impressionist and is the largest collection of such art in the world.

The outside of the former train station, now d'Orsay Museum
The outside of the former train station, now d’Orsay Museum

Don’t miss going up to the cafe on the top floor for the view out of one of the old train station clocks (below).

Inside the cafe in the d'Orsay museum.
Inside the cafe in the d’Orsay museum.
Behind one of the big clocks in d'Orsay Museum.
Behind one of the big clocks in d’Orsay Museum. In the distance is Sacre Coeur.

It’s been a long time since our last visit and it was nice to see all the Impressionist works for which they are best known, but even more interesting was a huge selection of art deco furniture. There were complete rooms from the 1920’s which were simply gorgeous.

In the d'Orsay Museum.
Starry Night by van Gogh in the d’Orsay Museum.
One of the gorgeous art deco rooms in the d'Orsay.
One of the gorgeous art deco rooms in the d’Orsay.
In the d'Orsay Museum.
In the d’Orsay Museum.
In the d'Orsay Museum.
In the d’Orsay Museum.
A comfy place to sit.

The d’Orsay museum is located in the 7th arrondissement. Opening days and times, as well as ticket info, can be found on the Museum’s website.

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