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D'Orsay museum, need for audioguide

We're traveling with people who have never been to this museum.
Is it worthwhile to rent the audio guide?
Or is is more of a nuisance?
I remember trying to use Ricks guide and eventually abandoned it.
I'll be grateful for opinions.

Posted by
2526 posts

I think it would only be worthwhile if you wanted to know about the artwork and the artists that made it.

Posted by
514 posts

I've never really found a good use of an audioguide in most museums, but the D'Orsay is so huge and its collection so diverse I could see a benefit. The publicly-available smartphone apps don't get very good reviews.

Posted by
904 posts

I used one a couple years ago for a special exhibit - I wanted the curator's take on the presentation and works presented. Excellent. I did not get the general guide for the rest of the museum.

My personal "take" on audioguides - if a person has a background in art history and/or appreciation, the info is often reasonably basic. Not that I can't learn something, but often the audio presentation presents the obvious to me. My hubby, with less background in the field, always enjoys an audioguide and walks away seeing detail or a broader perspective than he would have otherwise missed.

Guides can be great if a person wants to be guided in viewing and learning, is in the right mood for that, has the time to consider a presentation, etc. Some days that may be fine, other days if jet lagged or stressed or tired or whatever, it may not be a good approach. I see no problem with wandering the museum if that is what a viewer would prefer to do. I would wait and see how you feel on the day!

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks for the responses. I just listened to Rick's guide to D'Orsay
I think that will be a start for them to listen and discover how much further info they need.

Posted by
97 posts

Generally, I'm a big fan of audio guides.
I always get the one for the Louvre and even though I've listened to many of the comments previously, I enjoy them. It's a bit heavy though.
I didn't find the one for Musee d'Orsay as good.
The earpiece didn't fit me well and the works with comments were limited.
They usually don't cost more than a few euros so no loss if they don't work out.

Posted by
4522 posts

I would suggest doing all the "heavy lifting" before you go, Rick loves museums so his section on the D'Orsay is going to be quite complete. Read beforehand, don't bother memorizing. Then just go and enjoy the art, and if need be go back to his guide afterwards with questions.

I've been twice and it's a relatively simple museum to visit. Just be aware that those pesky Impressionists on the very top floor are very popular and it gets quite crowded, so perhaps start up there and work down.

Also if you're into Rodin, there are quite a few of his works there and you might not need to go to his museum. Although it's quite close and the outdoor statuary is very impressive, no real need to spend long inside.

Posted by
387 posts

We're traveling with people who have never been to this museum.

To put another option on the table, ask them if they'd be interested in a guided tour. See https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/articles/guided-tour-196046 You can also find guided tours by outside companies, usually more expensive.

In Europe the guides at museums can be amazing. The guide at a museum or even a modest-sized castle may have a PhD, something we didn't really expect. The knowledge the give along with the passion they show for what they do really helps put the exhibit in context and helps to appreciate what we're seeing.