Built inside an old 19th-century orange grove, constructed to shelter the orangery from the bitter cold of winter, the museum is world-renowned for housing Claude Monet ‘s famous cycle of paintings depicting the famous Water Lilies.
Besides Monet’s gigantic paintings, the museum also houses numerous paintings by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Sisley, Soutine and Utrillo.
A visit to the Musée de l’Orangerie is quite quick: it is an oasis of peace, a relaxing break from the hectic pace of Parisian life. You will find 3 levels to visit: 0, -1 and -2.
The famous works of Claude Monet are on the ground floor and form the heart of the museum. The Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection is on level -1. As for level -2, here you can browse in the bookshop-boutique and take a break at the café, created in 2015.
The museum also organises a whole range of activities for young and old: workshops, films and documentaries, dance performances.
The exhibition of Monet ‘s paintings is exceptional: 2 oval rooms containing the French painter’s works, the famous Water Lilies. On the rounded walls are huge decorative panels 1.97 metres high and 6 to 17 metres wide, where you can see 8 of his compositions in all their impressive grandeur.
Each panel represents the water garden that the artist created in his home in Giverny in Normandy. Indeed, during the second part of his life, these water lilies were the main focus of his incessant work.
Without a doubt, the water lily cycle stands as one of the greatest monumental achievements in 20th century painting. It is a unique masterpiece: in front of you will open up almost 100 linear metres of painted surface, totalling 200 square metres, depicting a dreamy water landscape, embellished with water lilies, willow branches, reflections of plants and clouds.
You will be surrounded and enveloped by an all-round representation, which will give you, in the words of the artist himself, “the illusion of an endless whole, of a wave with no horizon and no shoreline”. The shapes, details and natural light change over time and make the paintings even more unique and spectacular.
Continuing the visit on level -2, one enters the room dedicated to the collection of Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume, who gathered together a series of incredible masterpieces of painting: in fact, Guillaume, a famous French art dealer, brought together hundreds of works by Gauguin, Renoir, Sisley and Cézanne.
After gaining fame and glory even in the United States, the collector died at the height of his success and later, the task of transforming his husband’s passion into a museum was completed by his widow: thanks to new acquisitions and after careful modifications, she finally ceded the Orangerie to the French state.
The collection holds many works from the Impressionist period: you can admire paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Sisley, Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Marie Laurencin, Douanier Rousseau, Derain, Utrillo, Soutine and Van Dongen.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance, either individually or in conjunction with the Musée d’Orsay.
The museum is located in the heart of the rive gauche and is very well served by public transport.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.