Paris's Musée d'Orsay: What You Need to Know Before Your Visit

Discover the stunning Impressionist paintings at Paris's Musée d'Orsay
Preview Lecture
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1 hour
Product Type
Musée d'Orsay
Lecture Details
Photos & Highlights
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Lecture Description
How did a Paris train station become the mecca of Impressionism? This question summarizes the incredible transformation undergone in the early 1980s by an abandoned train station in the heart of the City of Light. First inaugurated for the 1900 world trade fair, the building is typical of this transitional period: a carved limestone envelope around a structure of riveted iron beams. Turning it into a museum was no easy task, but the stunning result is that it now hosts the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, as well as sculptures by the period’s most appraised artists such as Rodin, Carpeaux, Camille Claudel, and Maillol.
Meet Your Expert

Even before getting his university degrees in Law and Business, Laurent was the youngest “guide-conférencier” to obtain his license in France at the age of 16. With an authentic passion for art and history, he had a previous career in international business and marketing before focusing entirely on his job as guide. An art collector himself, particularly fond of painting, he attended open courses at the Ecole du Louvre and graduated from IESA art school. His purpose, thanks to a very participative approach, is to make you see and understand art rather than just learn about it.

The period covered by the d’Orsay collections is key to the canon of French and global art history. During our conversation, we will journey from 1848 and the rise of modernist emperor Napoleon III to 1918 and the end of WWI. This period witnessed the birth of impressionism and its evolution towards modern art. Manet, Monet, Renoir, and later Van Gogh and Gauguin kept re-inventing the codes of Art. All of them lived in Paris, and knew, and often influenced each other. From this creative melting pot, a revolution in art was born.

Before you go there, there are a certain number of things you need to know to find your way. What new ideas and practices in painting led to impressionism, and how redefining colors and shapes gave artists unprecedented freedom. How the massive audience they reached in exhibitions gave them a political dimension and a perfume of scandal, and why their eager quest for new models took them so far away from their native land. All these questions are key to understanding this thriving artistic period and to make the most of your exploration of the d’Orsay collections.
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Yes! All of our lectures have the option to turn on closed captioning should you have difficulty hearing the expert.

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Our recorded lectures typically run for 60 minutes.

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You are welcome to watch together with friends or family but each person viewing on their own device will need to purchase the lecture individually.

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Can I purchase a gift card for a friend who is traveling?
Absolutely! Gift cards can be purchased here. Gift cards are good for 365 days from the date of purchase.
(4.91) 23 Reviews

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Even though we have been to Musee d'Orsay before, this was a very useful overview to this fabulous museum, and will help prepare us for our upcoming visit in a few days. Thanks to Laurent for a detailed and engaging presentation!
Laurent was WONDERFUL. So informative and
A superbly organized analysis of impressionism and its context and influence, illuminated by the collection of the Musee d'Orsay, plus some fun facts about the train station. A perfect combination of major themes and interesting details.