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Louvre & Musee d'Orsay: tours offered through museums or arrange privately?

Louvre & Musee d'Orsay: tours offered through museums or arrange privately?

Old Dec 8th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Louvre & Musee d'Orsay: tours offered through museums or arrange privately?

Working my way through the planning process of our trip to Paris in March...my sister & I have both been to the Louvre museum & Musee d'Orsay. We're very interested in art, and except for one college class of art history, not as knowledgeable as we wish. Therefore, we would greatly enjoy a guide to focus on some highlights or specific pieces of art in these two museums. I noticed that Contexttour offers small group tours in both these museums. Fodorite searches have turned up very mixed reviews compared to the Rome experiences. I've emailed & not heard (a week ago) from Michael who has been highly recommended on this board as well who offers privately arranged tours.

Question: do the museums themselves offer English tours that you know of or can recommend?

Question: if not, an alternative recommendation?

Thanks! Planning is such fun...
dorkforcemom is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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Highly recommend Michael Osman ([email protected]) http://www.geocities.com/parisfinder/whoIam.html
djkbooks is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2006, 10:29 AM
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The Louvre has English-language guided tours of the highlights, which you go to the visitors desk to sign up for. I think they often get full, so it would help if you were there first thing in the morning to sign up, probably. They are at 11, 2 and 3:45 every day except Sunday, when they are at 11:30 and 2 pm (except none on the first Sunday of the month).

The Orsay also has English-guided tours of the masterpieces, and right now they are at 11:30 every day. You go to the individual visitors' desk to get into that tour. This is detailed on their website under the "programs" section. It doesn't say they limit the number, so I don't know about that. I have read that the Louvre does limit the number so you sign up. The time at the Orsay can change, also, so check their website before going. That is only one of them, they have a few other themes, also.

I think both museums charge about 6-7 euro for those tours.
Christina is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 07:07 AM
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Does anyone know if you can book the guided Louvre tours in advance?

On the Louvre website the schedule is not working to display information about the tours.
cruisinred is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 10:46 AM
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I'm not sure what you mean about the schedule not working on the website, I just looked at the PDF monthly guide where it discusses these and it is downloadable. that is only in French.

ON the English section, you go into the Visit-Groups-Tours section and it gives hours of various tours. I don't think that English is as detailed as the French monthly guidebook, though.

Basically, it says you cannot book ahead by phone, but you can go to the group desk in the Louvre under the pyramid and buy your tickets up to 13 days in advance. YOu can't buy the guide tour tickets at other sources, like you can just the entry ticket as I understand it (like FNAC).
Christina is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 11:01 AM
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This is the section I am referring to....

You cannot actually pull up any actual tour times.
cruisinred is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:28 PM
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Both the Louvre & Orsay have excellent docent-guided English tours.

The one at Louvre used to be several times a day, but I can't seem to find the info on this new Louvre website.
yk is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 05:20 PM
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I received a sale catalog today from The Teaching Company and one of the sale items is "Museum Masterpieces:The Louvre". Another course on sale is "From Monet to Van Gogh: A History of Impressionism". On DVD they are $39.95 and $69.95 plus shipping.

Both courses would make a nice tax deductible gift to a school or library after you've finished.

The web address is www.TEACH12.com

Borders/Walden Books have a huge(9 1/2 by 13) volumn "Van Gogh, The Complete Paintings" from Taschen for $19.99. It is 740 pages and 871 paintings.

BTW, I have no connections with either of these firms.
jsmith is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 08:15 PM
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I actually have both the DVD series that jsmith mentioned.

I've watched the "Impressionist" series, which is very good. Haven't watched the "Louvre" one yet, but should be good as well. The lecturer, Rick Brettell, is excellent.
yk is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 06:37 AM
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I don't really understand what you meant, but the tour hours are given on the Louvre website in English and I posted above exactly where they are located.

You don't need to search events for tours, maybe they aren't in there because they aren't exactly an event but a regular activity, but it's standard info in other sections.

Since this thread already got wide by another URL, I might as well post this one which is where the info is


That webpage still doesn't discuss buying advance tickets, though, that is in the PDF you must download which is only in French.
Christina is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 12:03 PM
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My wife and I just finished the 12 DVD lectures (30 minutes each) "Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre" from The Teaching Company (www.TEACH12.com). Fabulous introduction to the paintings in the Louvre.

Next week we'll start "From Monet to Van Gogh: A History of Impressionism" (24 30 minute lectures) to prepare for the Orsay. It's also by Professor Richard Brettell of the University of Texas at Dallas.

We've both been numerous times to both museums (and many others) but these two series will enable us to go with heightened enthusiasm. Money well spent. BTW both series are on sale.
jsmith is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 12:30 PM
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for lesser art aficianados the inexpensive self-guided audio tours (about 4-5 euro) should suffice - pick them up at just after the ticket windows at each. I enjoy them because i can go at my own pace.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 01:37 PM
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We had the "From Monet to Van Gogh" DVD series and watched it before our trip to Paris a couple of years ago. It was just absolutely fabulous.

Since then, we had also purchased "Louvre Masterpiece" but since we don't have any plans to go back to Paris, we hadn't watched it yet.

Richard Bretell is an excellent speaker/lecturer.
yk is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 04:35 PM
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yk, we also have Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance (36 lectures) but it will be some time before we get to it.

We'll be visiting our son in Denton, TX during Easter week and one day will be spent in Dallas at the Art Museum and the Nasher Sculpture Gallery for the following:

Fast Forward: Contemporary Collections for the Dallas Museum of Art
February 11–May 20, 2007

Matisse: Painter as Sculptor
January 21–April 29, 2007

We also plan on getting to Fort Worth to visit the three museums in the Cultural District. Unfortunately, the Kimbell show, The Mirror and the Mask, won't be open.

The Mirror and the Mask: Portraiture in the Age of Picasso

The Mirror and the Mask brings together portraits from leading museums and private collections around the world. It is organized by the Kimbell Art Museum in collaboration with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, and will be presented at the Thyssen from February 6 to May 20, 2007, prior to its showing at the Kimbell from June 17 to Sep 16.


jsmith is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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We got the Italian Renaissance DVD series in 2005 before we went to Venice. It was a long series, so we skipped around and only watched the lectures that were relevant to our trip. Anyway, we didn't enjoy it as much - we found the lecturer less engaging than Richard Bretell.

I live in Dallas, BTW. I just saw the Matisse show a few days ago, and saw Fast Foward for the second time this week. I like the Fast Foward more than the Matisse show, but that's just me. Yesterday I went on a tour organized by the DMA to visit Rachofsky House (designed by Richard Meier, and owned by Howard Rachofsky who will donate his house to DMA upon his death as part of his gift). It was quite amazing.

Not sure if you would enjoy it, but the Meadows Museum at SMU has an exhibit on Balanciaga (haute couture fashion). I saw it this week and was WOWed by the dresses. Even if you do not like fashion, the SMU has quite an impressive collection of Spanish paintings.

Enjoy your trip to Denton/Dallas!
yk is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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pjsparlor is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2007, 03:02 PM
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yk, thank you for the suggestions.

The Kimbell is one of our favorite museums. Louis Kahn's building is the perfect museum. His first major commission (museum at Yale) has just been restored so we'll take a run to New Haven one day in the spring. The WSJ covered the restoration in an article on Feb. 13 (its extensive art collection, which Mr. Reynolds compares to the Metropolitan in its breadth).

We've seen a number of the Kimbell's exhibitions. Matisse & Picasso, A Gentle Rivalry in 1999 remains one of our favorites.
jsmith is offline  
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