Getting Musee d’Orsay tickets before your visit is a must. If you are unsure of how to do that, you have come to the right place.
If you love art – and especially impressionism – this is one of the best places to visit in Paris. This is one of the top 10 museums in the world, and definitely one of the best museums in Paris – in 2019, more than 3.6 million people visited.
It has a fantastic permanent collection of paintings by Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir and regular special exhibits that will add to your experience – I happened to visit during “Degas At The Opera,” and couldn’t have been happier.
In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know before visiting Musee d’Orsay. Follow my tips and your experience at this museum will turn into a great one. Before I tell you how to get tickets and share some practical hacks, let me give you some background information about this incredible museum.
Why You Must Visit Musee D’Orsay In Paris
Musee d’Orsay not only houses the most extensive Impressionist art collection in the world (with pieces dating between 1848 and 1914), but is in and of itself a work of art.
The museum is located in the former Gare d’Orsay, a train station that was built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition in the Beaux Arts style in the area where the derelict Palais d’Orsay used to be located, very close to the Louvre.
Gare d’Orsay served as the main station for trains directed to southwestern France between 1900 and 1939. After that, it was used to serve only Paris’ suburbs as by then its platforms became too short for modern trains.
After 1939 Gare d’Orsay was used as a mailing center for packages sent to prisoners of war during WWII and it became the set of various movies.
Talks to turn the station into a museum started in 1975, and at the end of 1977 it was finally decided to build the Musee d’Orsay in it. By 1978 the building was classified as a Historical Monument – it went through major renovation works in 2011. The museum was finally inaugurated on 1 December 1986.
Visit Musee d’Orsay and you’ll be able to admire paintings such as Cézanne’s The Cardplayers, or Monet’s Houses of Parliament. You’ll be able to see pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, who lived in Paris’ Montmartre from 1886 until his death. You will find paintings by Gaugin, Manet and Pisarro.
Though the paintings are the main attraction at Orsay Museum, while visiting make sure not to skip other departments such as photography, sculpture and decorative arts.
In fact, I strongly advise you to spend some time admiring the building: go to the top floor to find a balcony with views into the center hall and the beautiful watch at the center of it. It gives you an idea of how big the museum is!
Finally, continue reading to discover how to buy Musee d’Orsay tickets.
6 Best Ways To Get Musee D’Orsay Tickets
All tickets to Musee d’Orsay must indicate a time slot for your visit.
Best overall options
The following is a quick overview of the best overall options for Musee d’Orsay tickets skip the line.
PLAIN TICKETS – This is the best no-frills option.
GUIDED TOUR OF MUSEE D’ORSAY – One of the best tours, and also quite budget friendly.
PARIS PASSLIB – This is the only Paris Pass that includes all museums and the Eiffel Tower too.
PARIS IN A DAY TOUR – This tour by Take Walks also includes a visit of Montmartre, one of the most charming neighborhoods of Paris; a guided tour of the Louvre Museum, and a Seine River cruise.
Now, let’s go into more details and let’s see how to buy Musee d’Orsay tickets in advance.
Way N. 1: Buy your tickets via the official website
This is the official website of the Musee d’Orsay. You can purchase tickets via the official website up to three months in advance.
The process is easy, but a bit long. Here’s how it works:
Pick the kind of visit you want; select how many tickets and add them to your cart, then click on “I Book.” You will then be taken to a page where you can pick an audioguide (for an additional €6).
Continue by clicking “I Book” and you will be taken to yet another page where you’ll be prompted to select a date and a time slot for your visit.
You will then need to create an account, after which you’ll be taken to the order summary and then you will finally purchase your tickets.
These are the prices for tickets sold on the official site:
- Adults – €16
- EU citizens accompanying a child under the age of 18 – €13 (maximum one chaperon per child)
- Thursday visits from 6:00 pm – €12
- Admission is free for visitors under 18 years of age, visitors between 18 and 25 and are EU citizens or long term residents, and disabled visitors and their chaperon.
Tickets bought on the official website are not refundable, unless the visit is cancelled by the museum management for whatever reason. You will have to print the ticket and carry an ID with you as tickets are nominative and not transferable.
Priority access for tickets bought on the official site is only guaranteed within 30 minutes of the reserved time slot.
Way N. 2: Buy tickets via a third party site
The best way to get Musee d’Orsay tickets is actually via third party websites. These have the largest offer and they are very easy to use, and prices don’t differ from those you’d pay on the official website – in fact, occasionally they can be cheaper.
Booking tickets on third-party sites is very easy (way easier than on the official site) – they even allow you to select a time slot for your visit, and you don’t even have to print the ticket – as long as you download the app of the company that sold you the ticket, you will have a bar code and that will be enough to get you in.
The main bonus about tickets bought on third party sites is that they are fully refundable – as long as you cancel 24 hours prior to your supposed visit.
I recommend getting your tickets to Musee d’Orsay on Tiqets – this is one of the most straightforward and reliable third party booking sites.
You can also get your GetYourGuide tickets to Musee d’Orsay on GetYourGuide – it’s one of the most user friendly sites to book tickets to attractions.
Way N. 3: Take a guided tour
While you could spend the entire day visiting Musee d’Orsay, going around the gallery and reading the information provided on the panels next to some (not all) pieces or with an audio-guide, you are honestly much better off visiting the museum with a live guide.
Guided tours of Musee d’Orsay normally last around two hours, after which you can continue exploring the museum at your own pace.
Tours are easy to book – pick a date; pick a time slot; show up at the meeting point. The guide will have the printed tickets for you so you really have to worry about nothing.
When it comes to guided tours, you have the option of joining a regular group tour – which is cheaper, but there will be up to 20 people in the group; or a small group or private tour, which is obviously more expensive – but on the other side, you will have the guide to yourself. There even are family friendly tours, perfect for those traveling with children.
I recommend this guided tour of Musee d’Orsay – it’s the one I took and found the guide to be very knowledgeable.
You also have the option of booking this private guided tour of Musee d’Orsay which is perfect if you prefer being in a small group or having a dedicated guide.
If you are traveling to Paris with children, consider this family friendly tour of Musee d’Orsay. The knowledgeable guide will do his / her best to make the experience of visiting the museum a fun one even for your kids.
Way N. 4: Get a combo ticket to Musee d’Orsay and another museum
If you are planning on visiting more than one museum while in Paris, you have the option of getting a combo ticket for two museums – you don’t even have to visit both museums on the same day.
This way you can get tickets to Musee d’Orsay
along with those to the Louvre; Musee d’Orsay and Orangerie (a fantastic gallery of Impressionist art located in the Jardin de Tuileries), Musee d’Orsay and Musee Rodin (a great collection of sculptures) and even for Musee d’Orsay and a Seine River cruise.
If you want to visit the Orangerie museum along with Orsay, you can get Orsay and Orangerie museums tickets here.
You also have the option of getting combo tickets to Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin.
Lovers of contemporary art should definitely opt for this Musée d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou tickets combos. The Pompidou Center is located in the lovely Marais neighborhood so you will enjoy exploring the area too.
For a unique combination, you should get Musée d’Orsay and Picasso Museum tickets.
Finally, you have the option of getting tickets to Musée d’Orsay and Opera Garnier.
Way N. 5: Get the Paris Pass
The Paris Pass is an efficient way to get skip the line tickets to many museums in Paris, including Musee d’Orsay. Make sure to double check if you still need to book a time slot for your visit in case you have the Paris Pass.
One thing to keep in mind is that a generic Paris Pass won’t give you access to the Eiffel Tower, for which you will need separate tickets.
The only Paris Pass which includes tickets to the Eiffel Tower is the Paris PassLib.
Way N. 6: Buy your tickets on FNAC website
FNAC is a massive online retail store that sells just about anything, including tickets to events and attractions. The site isn’t exactly easy to navigate, and if you buy tickets through it you have to actually get them delivered at your address or go pick them up at one of their locations (there are some all over Paris so you will surely find one near you).
Upon navigating you will see that only the main page is in English, but you can ask Google to translate the other pages. Anyways, if this is a good option for you, the website is this and adult tickets start at €17.70.
Other Useful Information For Visiting Musee D’Orsay
Official prices of Musee d’Orsay tickets
The following are the official prices for Musee d’Orsay tickets:
- Adults – €16 on the website, €14 at the door.
- EU citizens accompanying a child under the age of 18 – €13 on the website, €11 if purchased directly at the museum.
- Anyone 18 years old – free.
- EU citizens aged between 18 and 25 years – free
- People with disabilities and any person accompanying them – free.
- Late opening rate (available on Thursdays from 6:00 pm) – €12 on the website, or €10 at the door.
Audio guides in English and French are available directly at the museum for €6. They are free for visually impaired or blind visitors.
Tickets sold on the official website are non-transferable, non-modifiable and non-exchangeable – in other words, you can’t get a refund for them.
Free tickets to Musee d’Orsay
Musee d’Orsay is free every first Sunday of the month, however you will still be required to book a time slot for your visit.
Visitors under 18 years of age can get in for free. The Musee d’Orsay tickets are free for EU citizens and long term residents under 26 years of age. Disabled visitors and their chaperon as well as unemployed visitors can also get in for free.
Should I buy Musee d’Orsay tickets in advance?
A frequent question I get is “can I buy Musee d’Orsay tickets at the door?”
There is no actual requirement to book your Musee d’Orsay tickets in advance, but keep in mind visitors are admitted following a time-slot system, so you may not necessarily be able to get access at your preferred time or immediately if you just show up.
Musee d’Orsay opening hours
The Musee d’Orsay is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm (last admission is at 5:00 pm), except on Thursdays when it is open until 9:45 pm (last admission is at 9:00 pm).
The museum remains closed on Mondays, 1 May and 25 December.
All visitors, regardless of what Musee d’Orsay tickets they may have purchased, will have to go through security checks. Be prepared to get your bags scanned and leave any bulky item in your room. Also avoid taking things such as inflammable items or pocket knives as they are considered weapons.
Toilets and other facilities at Musee d’Orsay
Toilets can be found on level -1 and on the ground floor of the museum. These are alo accessible to disabled visitors.
Toilets are also fitted with baby changing facilities.
Strollers are available for babies, and free of charge. However, you’ll have to deposit a valid ID document for as long as you have the stroller.
There are cloakrooms available free of charge to deposit your coat or small luggage. In fact, they are big enough to fit a cabin size luggage.
Free Wi-Fi is available for all visitors. Finally, you’ll also find a bookshop / gift shop that follows the same opening hours of the museum.
Accessibility of Musee d’Orsay
Disabled visitors can access the museum through Entrance C. The entire museum is accessible to people with reduced mobility since there are ramps and elevators for wheelchair users.
Guide dogs and service dogs are also admitted. Disabled visitors will also find wheelchairs, folding seats and canes, free of charge, and upon the deposit of a valid ID.
Eating at Musee d’Orsay
There are three different places to eat at Musée d’Orsay. One is a restaurant, one (Café Campana) is a nice café where you can sit down for a drink, a snack or a quick meal, and one, called Le Kiosque du Parvis, is more of a gourmet street food place. You can access the restaurant and the café with your museum ticket.
How to get to Musée d’Orsay
The museum is located on 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur. Getting there is fairly easy and you have several options.
By metro or RER
The easiest way to get to Musée d’Orsay is by Metro. Take line 12 and get off at Solférino. You can also get RER line C and get off at Musée d’Orsay station.
The buses that stop close to the museum are numbers 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, 87, and 94.
By hop on hop of bus
If you are interested in doing a tourist round of Paris, you can get to Musée d’Orsay by hop on hop off bus.
You can get your hop on hop off bus ticket here.
The Batobus is a hop on hop off boat service – quite similar to a hop on hop off bus, except there is no commentary but just an announcement of the various stops. You can buy a one day or a two-day pass and it stops at various key locations, including Musee d’Orsay.
You can buy your Batobus ticket here.
Final tips for visiting Musée d’Orsay
Look for special exhibits (and make time for them)
Before visiting Musée d’Orsay check out if they have any special exhibits. There usually is no extra charge to enter, but you may want to schedule your visit depending on when the exhibit starts or ends, and you will definitely have to factor in some extra time for that.
Bring your camera
Musee d’Orsay is an incredible building, and there are many pieces of arts that call for a photo. Bring your camera and turn off the flash.
Wear layers and comfortable shoes
There is no dress code for visiting Musee d’Orsay, but it’s cold inside when it’s hot out, and viceversa, the heating is on when it is cold outside. Wear layers and comfortable shoes as you’ll be standing a lot!
Beware of pickpockets
The museum is so packed that pickpockets have an easy life there. Keep your valuables safe – zip your bag and wear it across your shoulder; wear your backpack in front of you.
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