Tourist Guide Paris

Musée d’Orsay

Over two large floors various sculptures in the Musée d’Orsay


The site on which today stands an impressive museum already has quite a lively history. At the beginning of the 17th Century this area was first mentioned as a garden for Queen Margaret of Valois – which after her death was then divided into several plots in order to build several town houses and the Grenouillière harbour. In the 19th Century a large barracks was built over the entire site which several years later was divided into the audit office and the state council. During the dispute with the Paris Commune, these houses became a victim to flames.

The Station

The railway company was given this site by the state in order to build the Gare d’Orsay station. During the World fair of 1900, the station was officially opened and at its time was viewed as one of the most modern railway stations. Over the next few years the area surrounding the station became an international meeting point for the youth and experienced a massive exchange of people. At the beginning of the war, the station was locked as it was no longer suitable for trains that had in the meanwhile become increasingly longer. After the war at first only the hotel was in use before the entire area became the setting for numerous films.

The Museum d’Orsay

At the beginning of the 1970’s however the hotel too was closed, hence one had to think about what to now do with the site – for a time demolition of all the buildings was in discussion in order to build a huge hotel complex in its place. However as interest in the buildings grew in the 19th Century, the site including the railway station gained listed status. As a result several town councillors thought of the idea of a museum – in particular for not so well known artists. In 1977 it was thus decided by the president of the time- Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to convert this site into a monumental museum.

The Present Day

The subsequent French President Francoise Mitterand had the honour in 1986 of inaugurating and officially opening this building. Already by 2001 the first repair works had to be carried out which, were only completed two years later. Over two large floors various sculptures appeared in addition to witnesses of existing architecture including furniture as there was finally enough space available to accommodate everything in the large halls. Above all the on the second floor- due to reasons of static, primarily paintings and a few several works of literature were displayed. Both young and old generations blend well in these buildings.