We visited three museums while in Paris. I really wanted to see the Musée d'Orsay, bf wanted to see the Louvre's Egyptian collection, and I found out about the Musée de l'Orangerie while we were there.
The last one might be my favourite just because of the two rooms with Monet's Nymphéas, which don't seem to ever be crowded, and are free for Europeans under 25. I think I would just go sit there anytime I had no plans and no good weather. But since I can't do that, I'll have to settle for their online version.
Musée de l’Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries (Seine river side)
Everyday, except Tuesdays, May 1st, July 14th morning and December 25th
from 9 am to 6 pm (last admission at 5.30 pm and premises start to be vacated at 5.45 pm)
The Musee d'Orsay has an amazing collection of my favourite epochs in painting, and I managed to see all the rooms of it. That meant leaving the sculptures behind, but priorities! We went there on a Thursday, which is the day it's open until late, and had dinner there. Budget tip: if you ask for just the plat du jour (they had 3), it's really not that expensive, between 10-15€ for dinner at a beautiful, beautiful place with a gorgeous view. And after eating you can continue admiring art without feeling you'll be fainting soon. Also, you get this view:
1, rue de la Légion d'Honneur
Everyday from 9.30am to 6pm daily, except Mondays, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th
late night on Thursdays until 9.45pm
last tickets sold at 5pm (9pm Thursdays)
museum cleared at 5.15pm (9.15pm Thursdays)
group visits, pre-booked only, Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am to 4pm (Thursdays until 8pm)
The Louvre may not need an introduction, but it deserves a confession. I'm really not into that era of painting. I do admire the work, the details and the sheer size of them, but spendings days in corridors full of people to look at them? Sorry, no. We went instead to see their Egyptian collection of things, took a quick detour to see La Gioconda, were annoyed by the amount of people in those corridors compared to the rest of the museum, were even more annoyed at how everyone crowded in front of the Mona Lisa was looking at it through their iPhone, or just taking a picture with it in the background (they do know there are lots of high resolution photos and scans of it online, right?) and went back to the calm parts of Greek, Roman and Eastern Antiquities. The rooms in which they are displayed are also worth seeing. It really is a beautiful palace.
For those who do want to see the paintings, go very very early in a week day. Almost every single tourist in that museum is there to see them, the rest of the palace is actually very empty. And do start with the Mona Lisa room. It's almost impossible to get close to it after.
Musée du Louvre
Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Friday: from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th
Rooms begin closing 30 minutes before museum closing time.
Yes, we only visited 3 museums in a week. It was sunny and warm and Paris is full of things to do and see outside, especially in August with the gardens all in bloom. We will definitely go back there, and see more of them then. But Giverny's gardens are first!
Read more about Paris here: