The building itself, which was designed by Victor Laloux, is an architectural triumph, using metal and glass in every possible way to create open, brightly lit halls as well as a façade that ties in with those of the Louvre and the neighbouring Palais de la Légion d’Honneur.
Today, it is hard to imagine that the Musée d'Orsay was originally Orsay Station, the former train station of the Sud-Ouest rail network with its six underground platforms! After a long period of disuse, the station became a mailing centre, used for sending packages to prisoners of war during the occupation of France by the Nazis, before becoming a reception centre for the same prisoners after the end of the War.
Inaugurated in 1 December 1986, the museum offers visitors a veritable history of the Impressionist movement, drawing crowds of people from all over the world every day. Following renovations in 2010, the Musée d'Orsay has also made room for contemporary design.
The artists featured in the permanent collections include Bonnard, Carpeaux, Cézanne, Courbet, Daumier, Degas, Gallé, Gauguin, Guimard, Lalique, Maillol, Manet, Millet, Monet, Pissarro, Redon, Renoir, Rodin, Seurat, Sisley, van Gogh, Vuillard and many more.
The Musée d'Orsay is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. on Thursdays.