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, with 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 When 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 get Musee d’Orsay tickets.
6 Best Ways To Get Musee D’Orsay Tickets
In 2019, more than 3.6 million people visited Musee d’Orsay. The numbers inevitably decreased in 2020 and 2021, but so has the process for getting tickets, which must be booked online and must indicate a time slot.
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: 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 €5); 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.
Tickets sold on the official website cost €16 and 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.
Way N. 2: Buy Musee d’Orsay tickets via a third party site
The best way to get Musee d’Orsay tickets is via third party websites. These have the largest offer and they are very easy to use, and prices are exactly the same you’d pay at the door (but you can’t get tickets at the door!) or on the official website – in fact, occasionally they can be cheaper. 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.
Tickets bought on third party sites are fully refundable – as long as you cancel 24 hours prior to your supposed visit.
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 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 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.
For information about guided group tours of Musee d’Orsay, click here.
For information about private tours, click here.
For family friendly tours, click here.
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 Musee d’Orsay tickets 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.
Get your Orsay and Orangerie museums tickets here.
For Musée d’Orsay and Louvre tickets click here.
For tickets to Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin, click here.
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. You will have to book a time slot for your visit separately.
You can get your Paris Pass here.
The Paris Pass won’t give you access to the Eiffel Tower, for which you will need separate tickets.
Way N. 6: Buy Musee d’Orsay 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 €17.50.
Other Useful Information For Visiting Musee D’Orsay
Book in advance
This is now a requirement, as clearly stated on the official website of the museum.
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.
The easiest way to get to Musée d’Orsay is by Metro. Take line 12 and get off at Solferino.
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.
Musee d’Orsay is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, except on Thursdays when it is open until 9:45 pm.
The museum remains closed on 1 May and 25 December.
Prices of Musee d’Orsay tickets
The official price for Musee d’Orsay tickets is €16.
A reduced fare of €13 is available for EU citizens accompanying a child under the age of 18.
Free tickets to Musee d’Orsay
Musee d’Orsay is free every first Sunday of the month. Visitors under 18 years of age can get in for free, as well as visitors who are between 18 and 25 and are EU citizens or long term residents. Disabled visitors and their chaperon as well as unemployed visitors can also get in for free.
Please note you will have to make reservations also for free visits.
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.
The website of the museum makes no mention of dogs such as guide dogs. In doubt, call in advance to ask whether you can take your service dog with you.
Toilets at Musee d’Orsay
Toilets can be found on level -1 and on the ground floor of the museum.
Accessibility of Musee d’Orsay
Disabled visitors can access the museum through Entrance C. There are ramps and elevators for wheelchair users.
Eating at Musee d’Orsay
There are three different places to eat at Musée d’Orsay. Two are nice cafés where you can sit down for a drink, a snack or a quick meal. One is a proper restaurant.
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 if there is an exhibit.
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.
Are you planning a trip to Paris and France? Make sure to read my other posts:
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