Orsay Museum tickets and tours
The collections of the Musée d’Orsay are situated in an ex-railway station that’s an architectural delight in its own right. Built for Paris’s 1900 Un...In the top 5 attractions for Paris
The inside story
The collections of the Musée d’Orsay are situated in an ex-railway station that’s an architectural delight in its own right. Built for Paris’s 1900 Universal Exhibition, the station had to blend artfully into an area that is also home to the Louvre and the Palais de la Légion d'honneur. For this reason, its architect chose to clad the metal structure with fine masonry.
The new station was very modern in its time, introducing lifts for luggage, elevators for passengers, underground rail tracks and a hotel. Problems started in 1939 when trains became too long to fit the platforms and the station began to serve only suburban passengers. By 1973, the hotel was receiving fewer guests and closed.
For some time, there were discussions about demolishing the station and constructing a new hotel, but the building seemed an ideal site for a museum and was protected as a national monument in 1978. The new Musée D’Orsay opened in 1986 and retained many of the original architectural features, particularly the glass ceilings and huge clock face.