The history of the museum, of its building is quite unusual. In the centre of Paris on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries Gardens, the museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. So the building itself could be seen as the first “work of art” in the Musee d’Orsay, which displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914.

Musee d'Orsay view from Seine

Musee d’Orsay view from Seine

The national museum of the Musée d’Orsay opened to the public on 9 December 1986 to show the great diversity of artistic creation in the western world between 1848 and 1914. It was formed with the national collections coming mainly from three establishments:

  • from the Louvre museum, for the works of artists born after 1820 or coming to the fore during the Second Republic;
  • from the Musée du Jeu de Paume, which since 1947 had been devoted to Impressionism;
  • and lastly from the National Museum of Modern Art, which, when it moved in 1976 to the Centre Georges Pompidou, only kept works of artists born after 1870.

But each artistic discipline represented in the Musée d’Orsay collections has its own history, which you can discover using this menu.

Opening Time:

From 9.30am to 6pm: daily, except Mondays
late night on Thursdays until 9.45pm
last tickets sold at 5pm (9pm Thursdays)
museum cleared at 5.30pm (9.15pm Thursdays)
group visits, pre-booked only, Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am to 4pm (Thursdays until 8pm)
closed on Mondays, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December


Musée d’Orsay
62, rue de Lille
75343 Paris Cedex 07