Paris is home to many museums that showcase and promote works of art to the public. In fact, the city is home to numerous such museums displaying artworks of celebrated artists that play a major role in fostering art and culture. The Musée de l’Orangerie is one such museum notable for its housing the works of the renowned impressionist painter Claude Monet. The museum also contains many of the impressionist and post-impressionist works of artists like Renoir, Cezanne, Soutine, Modigliani, and others.
Musée de l’Orangerie has remained the most elite and noble centers of art in the city of Paris. Build with the objective of instilling the artistic spirit into the common people, this museum serves its purpose well and draws a countless number of visitors each year. It is a prominent museum on par with the other major ones in Paris like the Louvre. Due to its immense popularity, many Paris private tours have included the Musée de l’Orangerie in their tour packages.
Visitors flock to the Orangerie museum mainly to witness the impressive water lilies murals painted by Monet. These and the works of other major 20th Century artists have made it a highly valuable center of art that emanates the core essence of Paris and her rich artistic heritage. It forms a crucial link among the major museum circuits laid across the various streets and arrondissements of Paris.
The origins of Musée de l’Orangerie dates back to the 19th Century. It was in 1852 that the pavilions for the Orangerie museum were first built and that too for sheltering some orange trees that grew in the Tuileries Garden. In subsequent decades, the Orangerie pavilions were utilized for numerous purposes ranging from a storehouse to a place of lodging for the soldiers during the war.
It was only during the early 20th Century, that the Orangerie was converted into an art gallery. The administration of the Beaux Arts has selected the Musée de l’Orangerie as an extra portion of the Musée du Luxembourg in 1921. It was during this period that the then French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau suggested to Monet that Orangerie would be the ideal location for his proposed decorative panels.
Claude Monet’s Waterlilies Murals
The spectacular water lilies murals painted by Claude Monet himself are the main attraction of the Musée de l’Orangerie. Immense in artistic value and size, these murals are actually a set of eight panels. It is also known as Les Nympheas and comprises the impressionistic depictions of water lilies. The paintings are arranged in the walls in two oval rooms inside the museum that visitors can comfortably glance while seated.
The murals evoke a sense of the passage of time; the trademarks of the impressionist movement of which Monet himself was a prominent figure and helped shaped it. These murals were actually commissioned by the French Government to Claude Monet for housing in the Orangerie museum in 1922. These surreal and impressionistic depictions indulge the visitors in the mastery of the work and induce a certain feeling that only true art can produce.
The Walter-Guillaume Collection
Another prominent attraction of the Musée de l’Orangerie is the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection. It was based on the collections of the art dealer Paul Guillaume and his wife Domenica, which were further organized by the architect Jean Walter. Displayed on the underground floor of the museum, this collection features the works of major artists belonging to the impressionist movement such as Cézanne, Picasso, Soutine, Derain, and numerous others. Moreover, this collection comprises of some 25 works by Renoir, the other major figure in the impressionist movement.
Opening Hours and Entry Fees
The Musée de l’Orangerie is located in the Tuileries Gardens in close proximity to the Place de la Concorde. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm except on Tuesdays. Moreover, the museum will remain open on some special occasions like Easter, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Easter Monday, etc. Entry fee to the Orangerie museum is €7.5. Visitors on any Paris private tours can opt either for independent or group tours for a reduced rate of €6.50.
Note that entrance to the museum is free on the first Sunday of each month. Moreover, citizens of an EU member state, those who are aged under 26, and schoolchildren are provided free access to the permanent collections and exhibitions displayed at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Entrance is also free for children aged below 18 when accompanied by their parents.
Visitors arriving at the Musée de l’Orangerie are provided with numerous services that aid in making their visit fruitful and experience the museum to its fullest. For visitors from foreign countries, there are commentaries given about the exhibits in a variety of languages such as French, English, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Italian, and German.
In addition, the Orangerie museum also runs various educational activities such family tours, stories and mimes for €4.50. Workshops on art and related subjects can be availed by spending €7. Besides, the museum also runs a restaurant, the Café du Musée de l’Orangerie offering various delicacies and open from 09:30 am to 05:30 pm.