Musée d'Orsay

Paris, France

The Musée d'Orsay was built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum's opening in 1986.

The museum building was originally a railway station, Gare d'Orsay, constructed for the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans and finished in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle to the design of three architects: Lucien Magne, Émile Bénard and Victor Laloux. It was the terminus for the railways of southwestern France until 1939.

By 1939 the station's short platforms had become unsuitable for the longer trains that had come to be used for mainline services. After 1939 it was used for suburban services and part of it became a mailing centre during World War II. It was then used as a set for several films, such as Kafka's The Trial adapted by Orson Welles, and as a haven for the Renaud–Barrault Theatre Company and for auctioneers, while the Hôtel Drouot was being rebuilt.

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Address

Rue de Lille 62, Paris, France
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Details

Founded: 1898-1900
Category: Museums in France

More Information

www.musee-orsay.fr

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Martin Ewen (3 months ago)
Superb museum with plenty to see. We spent over 4 hours here and thoroughly enjoyed it. Also had our breakfast and dinner as well which was really nice. Going back this April as a lot changes every now and again, and will have changed.
Tom Marvel (3 months ago)
Awesome museum experience for a reasonable price. Had a mixture of everything from paintings to sculptures to home furniture. I'd highly recommend buying tickets in advance as the line to buy them at the door can get extremely long. If you make it there without tickets, they do have free wifi and you can purchase them directly from your phone.
Andy Duvall (3 months ago)
There are many reasons why this is one of the most important museums in the world, and stands out even in Paris where there is so much to do and see. Beautiful architecture and breathtaking artwork of course, but the ambiance and even the restaurant are noteworthy. Save yourself some hassle and a long wait in line by buying your tickets online for a small fee. I bought mine online with my phone when I arrived, and walked to the reserved ticket entrance bypassing a line of a couple hundred people.
dillyjanjan (4 months ago)
I visited this Museum with my toddler sleeping in a stroller. I was really concerned that there would be only steps but this place had ramps on either side of the exhibits. How wonderful. It wasn't crowded. We didn't even buy tickets online. The queues moved quickly. It was a fantastic experience even though my son missed everything. I would recommend this place for ppl with small kids. there is also a food stall outside with the best sandwiches.
Artem Aleksandrovich Kost (5 months ago)
It is located parallel to the Louvre but on the opposite side of the Seine river. I recommend to go there through the bridge of love. In my opinion it is way better than the Louvre! It has several modern masterpieces of famous artists, and a dedicated hall to each artist. The atmosphere is quiet (as opposed to the Louvre) and relaxing. The only drawback is that there is no English translation to the descriptions of the pictures... so you have to take the audio guides (which don't cover all the exponents in the museum). All in all it is one of the best museum in Paris!!!!!
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.