Taking up where the Louvre tapers off, Musée d'Orsay showcases collections of artworks from 1848 to 1914. Opened in 1986 on the site of the former Belle Époque Orsay railway station, this stunning museum lies on the banks of the river Seine opposite the Tuileries Gardens. The museum has three levels: the ground floor with galleries on either side of the central nave, overlooked by the terraces on the median level and additional exhibition galleries and the top floor.
Since opening, Musée d'Orsay, described as a museum within a museum due to the building's history as a palace and station, has received almost 75 million visitors. The museum, which has been undergoing renovations due to be completed in 2015, houses collection which reflect the artistic disciplines of painting, sculpture, objets d'art, photography, graphic arts and architecture through Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau periods. Attention has been given to arranging the artworks into a circuit to allow greater coherence of schools of thought. Impressionist artists such as Degat, Monet, Cézanne and Renoir are grouped together and Post-Impressionists like Gaugin and Van Gogh are displayed on the median level.
Some of the highlights of Musée d'Orsay include recognisable artworks such as Manet's Woman on the Beach, Cézanne's card players and still-lifes, images of caberet dancers by Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir's Girls at the Piano, self-portraits by Van Gogh and samples of Monet's waterlilies. On the median level you'll also discover an exquisite collection of Art Nouveau furniture, sculpture, decorative arts and Lalique and Tiffany glassware. You can also spy the Sacre-Couer from the balcony.
To avoid the queues, it's suggested to purchase tickets online although you can purchase from the ticket office on the day of visit. Admission prices for adults are 9euro, 6.5 for 18 to 25 years and free for under-18s. The first Sunday of every month is also free entry for all. A 90-minute guided tour is €6 for persons over 13 years or you can hire an audioguide for €5. The 'Musée d'Orsay for families' application is available to rent for 5 euro which includes the use of a touchscreen tablet and offers nine thematic trails aimed at children aged between eight and 12. To visit, the closest metro station is Solférino then it's a three-minute walk down Rue de Bellechasse and onto Rue de la Légion d'Honneur.