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Musée d'Orsay Tour: A Guided Crash Course

Survey works from the Realists, the Impressionists, the Cubists and more with an art historian
From US$536 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
Musée d'Orsay
Photos & Highlights
  • Explore the Musée d'Orsay in the company of an art historian
  • Includes advance tickets to Musée d'Orsay
Tour Description
Our three-hour Musée d’Orsay tour examines the rich 19th- and early 20th-century collections of this world-class museum. In the company of an art historian, we'll dive into one of the best collections of Impressionist art in Paris and learn about the major art movements of the period—the Barbizon school, Realism, and Impressionism—as well as their most celebrated players, including Monet, Degas, and Courbet.
  • Musée d'Orsay
  • 3 hours with an expert art historian
  • Advance Tickets
We’ll begin the tour by first considering the museum's unique structure. First constructed by architect Victor Laloux as a rail station, the site was preserved as a historical building before opening as a museum in 1986. Next, we will dive into the art, concentrating primarily on painting. Following a roughly chronological trajectory, we'll begin on the ground floor with the works of the Barbizon school and Corot. Emphasizing nature and atmosphere, these artists made a break from the expectations of previous schools and were freed from focusing on antiquity and classicism. From here, we'll move on to the works of Realist artists like Courbet and Manet, where we'll examine the new techniques and ideas that they introduced and how it inspired the future Impressionists. 

Continuing on, we'll discuss the spread of Impressionism and its radical departure from traditional schools of painting while examining the works of Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Pissarro. After, we'll look at the influence Impressionism had on subsequent artists, such as Cézanne and Van Gogh, and how it gradually morphed into several different movements such as Neo-impressionism, Fauvism, and Pointillism. To finish, we will look at these movements and the artists they produced, including Matisse and Gauguin. By the end of our time together we'll have a robust understanding of these major art movements and how they contributed to the formation of modern art.

For children we recommend our shorter Musée d'Orsay with Kids Tour, which is led by scholars specially trained in educating children.
There are 7 in my group but your website won't allow me to include more than 6 participants. Can't you make an exception?
No, unfortunately, due to venue reservation restrictions, we cannot accommodate groups larger than 6 people. If your group is larger, we recommend you split into multiple groups.

When is the best time to visit Musée d’Orsay? 
The Musée d’Orsay is very busy and not as spacious as the Louvre. We highly recommend visiting the museum when it is open late on Thursday evenings.

Is the Musée d’Orsay wheelchair accessible?
The Musée d’Orsay is wheelchair accessible, and offers wheelchair rental. There are elevators throughout the museum and you can print a wheelchair accessibility guide from the site. We are happy to discuss possible adjustments to the tour for visitors with mobility concerns.

Where You'll Start
400 Reviews (4.75)

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Very informative and interesting. Excellent navigation of a wonderful museum.
Kasia is wonderful - helped us see art in new ways
Great start to our visit to Paris Christina made the museum and it’s art come alive —

See the d'Orsay with Context

Get to know one of the art historians leading this tour

Meet James