This museum was the last on my rushed museum day and it was the most rushed. Generally the hours for the Musée d’Orsay is from 9:30-6pm. (I’ll go more into their specific hours on different dates and closings at the end of the post.) But due to the strikes they closed early. Very early. While they said they weren’t closing before 5pm they started closing everything down at 4:30pm. The cafes, bookstores and the shops closed before 4:30, which was a shock because on regular days those stay open till they start clearing people out at the very least. Their hours were essentially unknown/uncertain until I actually showed up at the museum and read the signs posted everywhere. I hadn’t seen online that they were closing early which meant it was a shock to show up to find the museum I’d expected to be open the latest was closing early.
I managed to get to the museum at 3:19pm, which gave me a little over an hour before they started shutting things down. This stressed me out since I had expected to have at least 2 and a half hours to leisurely wander around. My goal was to check out their famous impressionist exhibit because my eldest sister said that it had changed her mind about impressionism seeing it in person.
While I was visiting they had a special exhibit on Degas. It was entitled “Degas à l’Opéra”. It ran from September 24th 2019- Janury 19, 2020 and was probably the most popular exhibit while I was there. It was crammed packed full of people even though they were only allowing so many people in at a time. Because I had such a limited amount of time in the museum to begin with I found this frustrating. It was difficult to see the paintings let alone move on from where I was and go to the next section. And other people weren’t being their best museum going adults. While I was there an argument broke out because a woman decided to take a short cut through a display which held the pièce de résistance of the exhibit. I think I watched a women loose her faith in humanity in that moment.
Edgar Degas is a famous French artist who worked in a multitude of mediums. He’s probably most famous for his impressionist paintings of ballerinas. (Though he hated being lumped in with impressionists who mostly worked outside with landscapes.) There are some that can be found at the Art Institute in Chicago. He spent a lot of time at the Opéra de Paris and seemed to have painted every inch of it from what guests see to the life backstage. His paintings of dancers sold well and his ability to capture movement and dance in a painting is lovely.
Walking through the exhibit was fun. I’m sure it would’ve been better to have seen the collection with more time and less people around. But I’m still glad I went and saw it.
After finally squeezing my way out of the Degas exhibit I hurried upstairs to see the rest of the impressionist art. All of it is on the top floor, the 5th floor. The floors between, third and fourth are closed and I found taking the escalators there was no way there to get to the second floor from that end. I could feel the impending closing of the museum over me like I’d make it to the fifth floor only to be shoved into an elevator and kicked out. But I made it and I rushed to see the Van Gogh pieces they had.
Before getting to the museum I’d tried to look up the highlights and according to the first result on google apparently they had starry nights. However after wandering around looking at the other Van Gogh pieces and being unable to find it I searched again and learned they didn’t actually have it.
I also found other pieces in my rush I hadn’t expected to find there that I recognized.
And I also took in the beauty that was the old train station. If you have time I highly suggest enjoying the cafe on the fifth floor. It has a beautiful view out the old clocks. They were sadly closing as I showed up.
Things like that, like little shops closing or the cafes stopping people from coming in made it feel like I’d run out of time. So I hurried back downstairs, wandered through the statuary and took a quick glimpse of the first floor before leaving.
I truly over did it. I never think it’s a good idea to cram as many museums into one day as you can. But I did it, out of the stress of getting my moneys worth with the museum pass. And I did. Technically. I was able to skip past long lines and queues and go straight in to nearly every museum and was very lucky. However by having the museum pass for only a two days and being in Paris for such a short period of time it meant that I was about to collapse on the steps of the Musée d’Orsay. I had taken a break on one of the benches in their statue courtyard inside, however as much as I wanted to stay there forever I couldn’t.
While the Louvre was very obvious online about the warnings that they were closing early I had difficulty finding anything until I arrived with the same warnings for the Musée d’Orsay. Thankfully it seems the strikes have been resolved but I highly suggest double checking. I’m lucky I arrived early enough to get in. While I was leaving people had arrived and were completely blind sighted and heart broken to find the museum had closed nearly 2 hours early.
The Musée d’Orsay is closed on Mondays, May 1st and December 25th. They are open Tuesday through Wednesday and Friday through Sunday from 9:30am until 6:30pm. They stop selling tickets at 5pm and start going through and “clearing the museum” at 5:15pm. On Thursdays they are open from 9:30am until 9:45pm. On Thursdays they stop selling tickets at 9pm and do their museum “clearing” at 9:15pm. Tickets are € 14.