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Musee d'Orsay or Musee de L'Orangerie for a Monet fan?

I am trying to make plans for a two day stay in Paris in the spring at the start of a river cruise. This is our second two day stay there, so we are trying to see some things we didn't see on our first brief trip. I think I have the second full day planned with a visit to Sainte Chapelle and Montmartre. On our arrival day, we will have been flying overnight, so will be rather tired. Given the circumstances, for a Monet fan is d'Orsay or L'Orangerie the better choice? Both locations are readily accessible by metro from our hotel.

Posted by
759 posts

L’Orangerie.....
But I’d also take the d’Orsay over the Montmartre but it is a totally personal choice.

Posted by
3159 posts

And the locations are very close to each other. What day of the week are you arriving? Maybe there will be evening hours. It is possible to buy a combo ticket for the two museums. I’d recently read that a section of the L’Orangerie is closed for renovation but the water lily rooms will be open.

EDIT: Musee d’Orsay is closed on Mondays. It’s late hours are on Thursdays. L’Orangerie is closed on Tuesdays.

Posted by
7980 posts

Skip Montmartre, visit Musee d’Orsay and then, l’Orangerie ,if you have time. I also heard about construction closures at l'Orangerie.

Posted by
317 posts

if your primary interest is Monet then L'Orangerie AND Mormottan, if you have time..on your first day. Musee Mormottan is in the 16th, so likely farther from your hotel.

Posted by
503 posts

The Marmottan has a larger collection of Monet's works - but as a previous poster noted, it is farther out of central Paris. However, it is one of my favorite Museums in Paris - not nearly as large as the d'Orsay - so it really depends on your priorities and energy level. The d'Orsay is truly lovely with plenty of Impressionist works to satisfy.

Posted by
9893 posts

I visited the Orangerie in October and all that is open are the rooms with the Water lilies. The entire downstairs, which did not have many Monet’s anyway was boarded off although you could still get to the toilets on the lower level. Because just the top section is open it won’t take long to visit - it’s 2 large rooms with 4 large wall-sized paintings in each room.

You could easily do both. See d’Orsay first (head directly to the back of the building, go left around the small cafe and find the escalators that go up to the 5th floor) then walk across the Seine to the Orangerie.

It would not be ideal for me to do these museums on arrival day but it might work for you. Montmartre will be more outside so I’d probably choose that for arrival day although I agree with others that that would not be high on my list with just 2 days or less.

Posted by
5697 posts

Marmottan is further -- but a quick metro ride and VERY worth it. Probably no line, or s short one. (Not on Museum Pass, however.)

Posted by
129 posts

If truly a Monet fan, Orangerie is a must especially considering why Monet gifted his waterlilies to the country then D’Orsay - in close proximity. Marmottan is special as well especially to see “Impression Sunrise”.. Well worth the brief metro ride. As one who has visited Paris each year for many years now, suggest skip Montemartre.

Posted by
15037 posts

At the Marmottan, there are representative works spanning Monet's entire career, in a series of spacious rooms with benches placed strategically for easy viewing at leisure.

The Orsay has some Monets crowded in with other wonderful Impressionists and the few times I've been, those rooms are packed with visitors.

The Orangerie has huge waterlily paintings that Monet painted for the space. Those are the only Monets.

As for your general plan, I'd recommend going to Sainte-Chapelle for an evening concert on your second day. If there are two concerts, choose the earlier one. Arrive as soon as the doors open and you'll have time to walk around and admire the stained glass up close, then relax, listen to the music and feast your eyes. Bring binoculars for a better view. Middle seats will give you a good view. And you avoid the crowds and possible long security line. I'm not a fan of Montmartre. If you want a nice view of Paris, there are other better places that you could go on your first day (Arc de Triomphe, Tour Montparnasse). That would give you time on Day 2 for both the Marmottan and the Orsay.

Posted by
8493 posts

Actually, the full name of the Marmottan is Musée Marmottan Monet, which gives an indication of where the treasures are to be found for a Monet fan.

Posted by
31 posts

Yes as others mentioned previously, the Orangerie for the water lilies rooms, and then straight on to the Musée Marmottan, for more Monet masterpieces.

Posted by
2328 posts

My first choice would be the Marmottan--easy trip on the metro and a pleasant 10 minute walk that took me through a pretty little park, and on the way back I stopped at a café for lunch. I loved being inside an old house and seeing the rooms as much as the glorious art, and the special exhibits are always wonderful. Next choice would be the d'Orsay, then the Orangerie. I did enjoy poking around Montmartre, and there's an interesting Dali museum there.

Posted by
31 posts

Considering that the Dali museum unfortunately is mostly showing duplicates, prints and bronzes cast after Dali's death, I wouldn't spend the little time available in Paris to see that...

Posted by
6509 posts

I'm also a huge Monet fan and, for me, the Marmottan was my favorite museum for Monet's works. Of course l'Orangerie was also a must and worth the time just to see the large water lilies. For a general Impressionist fan d'Orsay would be my first choice, but for a die hard Monet fan the Marmottan can't be beat. It's just a little harder to get to but not that bad and well worth the trip.

Posted by
430 posts

My order of preference for seeing Monet paintings would be Orsay, Marmottan, Orangerie. I think the order of preference is very personal.
I like the Monet paintings at Orsay and I also like the museum itself and the ability to see Monet's works with others from the same era. As Chani said, it can be crowded at Orsay and that may impact your enjoyment. For an overall perspective of his lifeworks, including Sunrise and where his his art went towards the end of his life, Marmottan is excellent. I liked the feeling of being immersed in/surrounded by the Water Lilies series at L'Orangerie. That was no small thing, but for me, the least desirable of the three.
For a Monet fan, I'd say you can't go wrong.

Posted by
759 posts

Everyone, please read OP’s post.
They are flying in on an overnight flight. For most that means no sleep and being up 24-36 hrs.
The OP stated: “so will be rather tired”.
Order of seeing things will thus can be very important under those circumstances.

OP- Start off with the L’Orangerie. Let your tired eyes float among the water lilies (they also have nice, large, long benches). If you have recovered enough then try and maybe tackle the d’Orsay or Sainte Chapelle.

Sainte Chapelle concerts are stunningly wonderful, but with being highly sleep deprived you won’t be enjoying the music long before you fall asleep......not something I would recommend on my arrival evening. Maybe your second night!

Posted by
35 posts

Ah, so much helpful advice! I had already learned about the Marmottan, which is tempting, but I had ruled that out because of the extra travel involved. Should we ever return to Paris again, I will keep that on my list.

An evening concert at Sainte Chapelle sounds lovely, but in early April I fear it would already by dark by the start of the concert and I would like to see the windows in the daylight.

The inclusion of Montmartre on the agenda is based on extenuating factors. We are already skipping the introductory tour of Paris with the tour group, so we chose the Montmartre tour to get a chance to meet some of our traveling companions. We have made some good friends on our travels, and look forward to spending some time with others from the group.

Learning that part of L'Orangerie is currently closed helps me decide that Musee d'Orsay is the right decision for this trip. I am trying not to attempt to pack too much in a day, even though our time is short. While still relatively healthy, I am not up to the eight miles we walked on our first day in Paris years ago!

Thanks to all.

Posted by
16 posts

It doesn't sound like it would work out for this trip, but maybe another time consider Monet's home in Giverny. It is like stepping into one of his paintings.

For the record, another vote for the Marmottan as being my favourite.

Posted by
11973 posts

Orangerie is close and can be seen fairly quickly. Lines there are never too long.

For a big Monet fan, Musee Marmottan is probably a must see. Orangerie has the water lillies room but Marmottan has way more Monet to see.

d'Orsay is a great museum but it has a wide variety of artists. The lines at d'Orsay can be intimidating. I've skipped it in the past. I've never had a problem getting into l'Orangerie quickly.

Posted by
7691 posts

For the record (and as somebody already stated above) the only part of the Orangerie that is closed doesn’t have anything to do with Monet. The big stunning works by Monet are still able to be seen and highly recommended. (Nor does it take long to visit the Water Lilies room.) for sheer impact and especially because you have stated you are a Monet fan, I would NOT write it off my list and would highly recommend it.

Posted by
676 posts

Marmotten gets my nod for any Monet or Impressionist fan. I visited Musée de l'Orangerie on a rainy day in Paris when my other plans went bust. I walked right in without a wait. The Marmotten is only slightly harder to get into, just based on its location. But it is a fairly simple bus ride from most anywhere, and allows you to get a view of the city en route. I went there in 2017, arrived shortly after they opened, and walked right in. When I left about noon, there as a very small line. Walked from there to Tour Eiffel with lunch at a café en route. The Marmotten has a wonderful collection of Monet, plus much more. Way more than l'Orangerie. I'm def going back next year. I've been twice to the D'Orsay. It's a wonderful museum, but I wouldn't go unless I had a good plan (i.e., buy-ahead tickets, going at the slowest time possible, and distinct pieces I want to view). I agree it is a "big-museum" experience, and I personally prefer smaller-scale museum visits.

Posted by
35 posts

I continue to appreciate the suggestions being offered. Unless I decide to buy tickets to the Musee D'Orsay in advance, maybe I will just wait and make a decision based on how much energy we can summon on arrival day after the dreaded flight over. My sense is that the L'Orangerie would be the easiest, the crowds at the D'Orsay could be a challenge, and the travel to the Marmatton require more effort than the other two. Each location seems to offer a different view of Monet. Might have to be a game day decision!

Posted by
7691 posts

Joanne — I think your assessment is spot on. At least we've helped you understand options and drawbacks (and pluses!).

One piece of advice to make the Orsay less overwhelming if you do decide to go.

When you enter the museum, walk all the way to the back and take the series of escalators that are in the back left corner all the way to the top. You will then enter directly to the Impressionism gallery. Yes, it will be busy, but at least you will have conserved your energy for what you most want to see.

Posted by
35 posts

Kim,
Thanks. That sounds like excellent advice. I don't have to see everything in D'Orsay, so we might as well begin with what we want to see the most. On our first trip to Paris, we spent six hours in the Louvre, and only saw a fraction of what we would have liked. The crowds are not pleasant, but I can't blame people for wanting to see the same things we want to see.

Paris is one of the handful of cities that I could go back to over and over again. Hopefully, one day we'll get to spend more than two days at a time!

Posted by
9893 posts

Joanne, what day of the week are you arriving? IF it's a Tuesday, that is a really busy day as the Louvre is closed so lines at d'Orsay can be very long in to the afternoon. Also, know that there is a kiosk outside the d'Orsay that sells tickets if the lines to Door C (ticketholders) are shorter than the lines to Door A (non-ticket holders) . Here is a googlemaps satellite view. It's the small structure with the green roof at the corner of Rue de Lille. It is hard to see if you approach from the Seine side as it is below the level of the pavement for the entrance hall.

https://goo.gl/maps/4jRneWrmr9hhDddy8

If you back out some on the view you'll see the footbridge (Passarelle Leopold-Seder-Senghor) you'll walk across if you go to the Orangerie first.

Posted by
35 posts

Pam,
We arrive in Paris on a Saturday, so I do expect the D'Orsay to be crowded. I would get skip the line tickets before we go, so that even if we are worn out from the flight we could still see the highlights.

Thanks for the link to google maps, the street view is helpful. I use the maps extensively when planning a trip, so that by the time we arrive I have a pretty good sense of where I am. I mark selected sights and restaurants as favorites, and then download the maps to my tablet so I can use the maps without internet.