The Musée de l’Orangerie is just a short walk from the Musée d’Orsay, but you do have to cross the Seine to get there. As I walked along the bridge to get to the other side, I noticed that there were a ton of locks all over the sides of the bridge. I remember reading about how Paris had to remove the love locks from the original bridge that held them because the locks were weighing the bridge down, so I didn’t expect to see something like this while I was there. There were even some folks trying to sell locks to passers-by, but by the time I left Paris, I realized that this bridge wasn’t that special and people will just put a lock on just about anything that they can.
A typical ticket to the Musée de l’Orangerie costs €9 (~$9.93 USD), but since I got the combined ticket (€14, or ~$15.46 USD) that offered admission to both the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Musée d’Orsay, I paid €6 less than what I would have paid if I bought each ticket individually. Since I already had my ticket when I arrived at the museum, it was a breeze to just walk in. Now that I think about it, if you are planning on getting the joint ticket and are not buying it online, it might be more advantageous to buy it at the Musée de l’Orangerie first. Since you already have your ticket, you should be able to skip the longer line at the Musée d’Orsay when you go after.
The main gallery at the Musée de l’Orangerie showcases eight paintings from Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” series that were given to France by Monet in 1918. All of the paintings are long, curved, and hang on opposite sides of two oval-shaped rooms. As you can imagine, that makes it pretty difficult to get full pictures taken. According to the museum’s website, the four paintings in the first room all show reflections of the sky and vegetation in the water, while the paintings in the next room all have contrasts made by weeping willow branches at the edge of the water. I didn’t actually notice when I was there.
All of the paintings were installed in 1927, a few months after Monet’s death, though Monet did have a lot of input in how the paintings were to be arranged in the rooms. A lot of thought was put into this display, including having paintings with hues that matched the sunrise on the east side of the room and those with hues that matched the sunset on the west. Natural light came from the roof, allowing visitors to see different perspectives of the paintings based on the time of day and the weather outside.
My favorite colors are green, blue, and purple, so I gravitated towards sections of the paintings that I thought combined the use of those colors pretty well.
Besides the paintings, the other memory that I have of the gallery was of how the staff member in charge of one of the rooms would constantly be shushing people for talking too loud. I don’t remember that happening at the Musée d’Orsay, or even the Louvre, but I guess this is a much smaller museum. It was just more awkward than anything.
There’s actually more than just the Monets at this museum. If you go downstairs, there are a bunch of paintings by other artists. I liked “Le Village” by Russian painter Chaïm Soutine because of its colors and art style.
I also thought his painting “Garçon d’honneur” was interesting, particularly because of its uncanny resemblance to The Voice season 8 finalist Lowell Oakley.
After I left the museum, I went outside to walk around the Tuileries Gardens for a bit and there were a lot of people just taking a break and relaxing.
I was supposed to go to the catacombs afterwards, but when I got there, the line was long and a staff member was letting people know that there was a chance that they wouldn’t be able to go down since the last admission cut-off time was approaching. Rather than stick around to see if the line would move faster, I decided to move on to Plan B. I just needed to figure out what that was first.