Musée d’Orsay vs. the Louvre

Tourist Attractions In Paris

Private Louvre Museum Tour

When in Paris, you definitely want to go on a private Louvre Museum tour. However, there is another museum you will not want to miss: the Orsay Museum. In the event that you are strapped for time and have to choose, you will want to check the following comparison.


The Louvre covers 210,000 m², and is the largest museum on the globe. Musée d’Orsay, by comparison covers a relatively modest 57,400 m². The problem with the Louvre is covering everything when you are in a hurry; it displays 35,000 art pieces in a gallery space adding up to 60,600 m², and that does not include the 425,000 works of art in storage. The Orsay Museum shows off 4,000 works, making it easier for a person to catch a bit of everything.

Art Style

The pieces displayed at the Louvre are from 1848 and before. You have Leonardo da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa, which was painted between 1503 and 1506, although to see it you would have to put up with getting jostled a lot, because the painting gets over 20 000 visitors every day.

The Orsay picks up from 1848 and includes pieces from then until 1914. The art is mostly impressionist, including works by Van Gogh, Renoir, and Monet, to name a few. Most of these you have already seen in photos.

The Lines

Both the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are world famous museums, and pull in thousands of visitors from all over the globe. That means long lines. The Louvre set some sort of record in 2014 when it had 9.3 million visitors, and the Orsay Museum took in 3.5 million. Whichever you pick to visit, make sure to avoid weekends and holidays.


Louvre is a thing of undeniable architectural beauty. One good example is the Apollo Gallery, which was built in 1663. Although if your preference of surrounding space tens to the contemporary, then the more modern layout at d’Orsay may be your thing.


The Louvre was not originally built as a museum. They built the first watchtower in 1202 to fortify the city wall and help protect against invaders. Then came a huge royal palace, which was repurposed into a museum in the 18th Century. Musée d’Orsay too was intended as something else; a railway station, to be precise. It was only in 1986 that they renovated it into a museum.