The Prettiest Museum in the World

As a disclaimer: These photos were taken in two separate trips, one in December 2017, and the other in November 2013, so this post may not be representative of this site today.

Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay has to be one of my favorite museums in the world – it’s certainly my favorite in Paris. It is housed in what was formerly the Gare d’Orsay, which was the first electrified urban terminal station in the world, and which opened just in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, a world’s fair held in Paris to celebrate the technological advancements of the past century and those that would come in the next. You can see an image of what it used to look like here.

By 1939, the station’s platforms were no longer suitable for the type of train that was being used for mainline services, so it came to be used for suburban lines instead. A section of the building became a mailing center during WWII, and some time later it was even used as a movie set.

In 1970, it was nearly demolished, but the then Minister for Cultural Affairs, Jacques Duhamel, decided to build a hotel on the site instead, though that never came to be. Eventually, the Department of Museums of France suggested it be turned into a museum, something that would bridge the collections of the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art at the Georges Pompidou Centre.

The museum opened in 1986, and it is one of the largest in the world. Its collection is comprised mostly of French art dating from 1848 to 1914, and it holds the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces, including work by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, and Van Gogh.

Remember Moreau?

The museum is apparently all set to undergo a substantial transformation over the next decade. Personally I would love to see it stay just the way it is, but it is exciting to think of what might change and what might stay the same. What about you? Have you been to the Musée d’Orsay?

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