One of the largest art museums in Europe is the Musee d'Orsay, located on the left bank of the Seine, across from the Louvre. Originally built as a railway station (1898-1900), it serviced trains from south western France until 1939. It then became a mailing center during World War II. Franz Kafka used the Orsay as a set for his film "The Trial". For a brief time, it served as the home for the Renaud-Barrault Theater Company. Scheduled for demolition in the 1970's, the Orsay was saved by being placed on the Historic Monuments list. It became a museum to "... bridge the gap between the Louvre and the National Museum of Art." The Musee d'Orsay now houses the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world, as well as over 600 sculptures and other works. We had passed this museum several times while visiting other Paris attractions and it piqued our interest. Lorraine and I love the Impressionists, so we were thrilled to have discovered this museum.
The Musee d'Orsay sits on the left bank of the Seine.
Hiwever, the main entrance is around the corner.
The central exhibit hall as it looks today...
...and as it looked when it was a railway station.
A scale model of Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty is one of the first sculptures you encounter once inside the museum.
Nearby is Jean-Leon Gerome's "Les Gladiateurs" (1824).
Delacroix painted "The Puma" in 1859.
"The Offerings to Minerva" brooch was created by Galbrunner in 1869.
Touluse-Lautrec's "Jane Avril dansant." (1892).
"The Garden of the Artist Giverny" by Monet (1900).
Degas' "Small Dancer of 14 Years of Age".
Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is one of the more popular exhibits...
...as is the portrait of the artist, himself.
One of the more interesting parts of our visit to the Orsay, was being able to watch one of the restoration workshops in action.
This is slow, pains-taking work.
The elegant old railway station clock still works.
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.