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cali88 May 10th, 2010 09:24 AM

Louvre vs. Orsay/Rodin
I am going to the Louvre for sure.. but do I really need to see Orsay/Rodin musuems, or will my trip at the Louvre out weight those two?

I am having trouble deciding whether to go to the Louvre and those musuems but that means my 5 days will be filled with musuems 3 out of the 5 what do you guys think?

annhig May 10th, 2010 09:50 AM

hi cali -

the art they contain is completely different, so there is no element of the Louvre outweighing the other two. the Louvre is like a journey through the world's art [and could take many days to explore] whereas the Musee D'orsay has mainly impressionists and more modern Fench art [almost totally missing in the Llouvre]and the Rodin has the works of, well, Rodin.

but just because you will be going on different days, won't mean that you don't have time for anything else - there are very few people who ccan manage whole days in museums! typically, we will spend two hours or so in each one - other people spend more and I'm pretty sure many spend less!

having ourselves made the mistake of not having a museum card, I would suggest strongly that you get one, so you can dip in and out of the museums as you wish, and not waste any time in queues - which were dreadful when we were there a few weeks ago. then you can go back and forth to the Louvre [far too overwhelming on a first visit] and the musee D'orsay, as aften as you like.

if you are keen on art, you may like to know that there is a Turner exhibition on at the Grand Palais for most of the summer - again I strongly suggest getting an advance ticket rather than spending an hour waiting outside [in the rain!] waiting to get in! the exhibition is very interesting and well worth spending a hour or two enjoying.

cls2paris May 10th, 2010 09:54 AM

I think it depends on what kind of art you are most interested in and how much time you want to spend in each. If you like art from the Impressionist movement to modern, then you'll want to see the Orsay and Rodin. If you like art prior to that period, then go to the Louvre.

The Rodin museum is fairly small and the gardens are lovely. You could probably spend a couple hours there at the most and be done. My threshold in a museum is about 4 hours and I am overloaded. That's why I like the museum pass, I can go into the Louvre or Orsay for a few hours, leave and come later or the next day. You aren't going to see everything in the Louvre or Orsay in one trip anyway but you can see the highlights and items that are meaningful to you.

Personally, with 5 I would get to all 3 of these, and because I like Monet's waterlilies, I would also add in the Orangerie. A small museum containing his 8 big waterlily panels. But I wouldn't spend all day in any of them. And I'd get the museum pass so I can pop in and out.

AlessandraZoe May 10th, 2010 10:02 AM

I have not idea what your tastes are in art or if you really enjoy museums.

If you like Impressionists, then the d'Orsay is a must. For example, we've visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam three times and have often thought--"Why are all the BEST ones are in the d'Orsay?" Of course, as I say that, the best ones could be out "visiting" somewhere in the world, but generally, the d'Orsay is it. If you can catch some Millets to compare to his work, you are in gravy.

I enjoyed the Rodin, but I have never found it to be the "must" museum for me (how ironic that now that I've been to Paris more times than I can count, I now go to the d'Orsay for sculpture. There are pieces there that just move me to tears) Perhaps to explain this better, I should compare seeing Rodin's actual works to the experience of seeing replicates of Michangelo's "The David" everywhere and then walking into the Accademia in Florence. I just remember being awestruck. We returned (free museum week there) to the Accedemia four days in a row just to see him again. I never had that moment in the Rodin--and I haven't a clue as to why not!

So again, for me, Rodin is not a must.

Three museums I found to be delightful for entirely different reasons:
Jacquemart-André--The husband and wife who owned this house understood Renaissance art well ahead of the world, not to mention how well they knew architecture, Rembrandt, etc. If you have been to Florence, you'll say, "OMG, they managed to skim an unbelievable representation of the best."

Museum de Cluny--The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries make sense out of tapestries. You really do not need to visit anything else in the museum (not that it's bad).

Picasso Museum--I was NEVER a Picasso fan. But a walk through this museum was an education. This man did it ALL in every medium. If video had been around while he'd lived, not a doubt in my mind that he would have created something astounding. I still don't like him as a person but I came away with a profound respect for his work as an artist. This museum was the motivation for our visiting Antibes and Mougins in later years.

Many people are Marmotton Museum fans on this board. For some reason (chaque a son gout!), we were not overwhelmed. However, we did enjoy it.

nokomis May 10th, 2010 10:21 AM

We went to the Musee D'Orsay and thought it to be one of the top museum experiences we have enjoyed. If you love French Impressionists this is the best!!
We will be in Paris in July and plan on checking out some other smaller museums. Thanks Alessandra for the information you included.

Bitter May 10th, 2010 11:06 AM

Maybe I misunderstood your post, but you need not spend a whole day in each museum. You can spend as little or as much time as you want. The Rodin, in particular, can be almost like a visit to a beautiful park, if you forego (or quickly tour) the mansion.

bjl May 10th, 2010 11:25 AM

Cali88 - You don't say when you are going. But many paintings from the Musee d'Orsay will be in San Francisco this year while work is going on at the d'Orsay. (Can't wait to see the exhibit!) Perhaps that will help you decide.

adrienne May 10th, 2010 11:27 AM

The Rodin is one of my favorites but you have to like sculpture otherwise why go there. You need to like Impressionism to go to the Orsay. If you don't like Impressionism or sculpture then definitely do not go to either museum.

I actually hate the Louvre since it's so hot in there. The only enjoyable time is at night when it cools off a bit (just a bit).

I don't think the Louvre will out weigh the Rodin. I've not been to the Orsay but finally plan to get there next trip to Paris. Everybody raves about the Orsay but I've seen a lot of impressionist paintings so it was never high on my list. I've been to the Orangerie several times, I've been to the old Jeu de Paume several times, and to the Marmatton so I never felt I missed anything by not putting the Orsay high on my list plus have seen many Impressionist exhibits in the US.

It certainly sounds like you're planning to spend 8 hours a day in each museum. Why don't you go to the Louvre when there is a late night opening as the Louvre permits exiting and re-entry the same day. You could go in the morning, pop out and do something else, and return later.

surfmom May 10th, 2010 01:13 PM

When will you be there ? That determines your strategy.

We were just there and:

=> Picasso - one of my favorites. closed for renovations

=> d'Orsay - one of my favorites. top 2 floors closed and many paintings loaned out. They also have a special exhibit titled Crime and Punishment which requires a separate ticket/admission fee. I was surprised how crowded it was and annoyed that they have a substantial portion under renovation and what is left is an additional fee (and not child appropriate).

I love the Orangerie. Simple, yet amazing paintings. Line can often be long, so the museum pass is helpful to avoid lines.

I love the Rodin since it is small and manageable and on a nice day, enjoyable to walk outside.

BigRuss May 10th, 2010 01:40 PM

Louvre is more Renaissance, Orsay is Baroque to Impressionist, and the Pompidou Ctr is the three dots on a canvas crap. Louvre and Orsay don't really overlap.

But considering that The Gates of Hell by Rodin is at the Orsay, the Rodin and Orsay museums do overlap.

Christina May 10th, 2010 02:08 PM

Since you asked, the answer is no, you don't need to go to the Orsay or Rodin. If you were really interested in what was in them, you wouldn't have even asked.

DaveMM May 10th, 2010 03:05 PM

Bookmarked. it.


Underhill May 10th, 2010 03:23 PM

The Louvre is much more than Renaissance art, having pieces dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome (especially the Etruscan pieces), and much, much more. There's also a room of Impressionist paintings, part of a major collection that was donated some years back as an entire set.

I must confess to being bored at the Rodin Museum. The Orsay is wonderful, even with so many of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings on tour. There's a fine Art Nouveau collection, including some fabulous furniture. The Picasso Museum is interesting even if you aren't a huge Picasso fan. But one of my very favorites is the not-well-known Musée de Nissim Camondo, and I also really like the Carnavalet museum of ths history of Paris.

annesherrod May 10th, 2010 03:44 PM

I must admit I was completely floored when I first entered the Musee D'orsay. It is a train station for heavens sake so I did not expect much. To say the station has been beautifully restored is an understatement.
The set up can be a bit confusing especially if you are pressed for time.
YOu can enjoy much of the museum in a few hours.

Surfmom -Orangereie was one of my favorites as well. We got there an hour after it opened on a Saturday and there was no line! We throughly enjoyed this treasure.

You can easily do two in one day - and hit the other one later.
ie - louvre one day - ( you dont need to spend all day here - pick a few must sees from a guide book and go - be prepared of where to go when you get there- what wing to start etc..)
Orsay and Rodin - in one day.

Dayenu May 10th, 2010 03:50 PM

Cali, if you live in San Francisco, or close, DeYoung will have Impressionists from Orsay May - September, and post-impr. September-January

adrienne May 10th, 2010 04:04 PM

I was disappointed when I went to the new, renovated Orangerie. I loved the old museum so much more since it was like being in someone's home with the many small galleries. Such an intimate feel. The Water Lilies were by themselves in the basement with the lovely circular couches you could sit on and gaze at the paintings. The new building is so sterile but it is physically more accessible. The paintings are the same but the layout is so different and unappealing that it lends a different perspective to the collection.

There are so many museums in Paris. Figure out what interests you and go to those museums. Or if you're not interested in museums then do other things. There is certainly lots to choose from.

pauljagman May 10th, 2010 04:25 PM

I enjoyed d'Orsay more than the Louvre but that's my taste. I love the impressionists. IMO d'orsay is also more intimate and manageable....but I would also recommend the Louvre as it is the LOUVRE! So much to see! Rodin? I've not seen it but will next time I visit. Art is Art and you have to see what interests you.

StCirq May 10th, 2010 05:04 PM

"the d'Orsay"

"with au jus."

I'm having thread déja vu.

But to the OP, of course you don't have to. If you do some basic research you'll find out these museums are distinct from one another; otherwise Paris would have one massive repository of all the French art ever. Figure out what appeals to you and go. Or don't.

MNsnowflake May 10th, 2010 05:16 PM

Check the websites of the museums you're interested in. The Louvre and some of the other museums are open one evening a week and would allow you to spend your daylight hours exploring Paris and pop into the museum in the early evening without cutting into your daytime activities.

On these websites you can find out what is on display that you definitely want to see and make sure you see it in however much time you allot to the individual museum. This would apply particularly to the Louvre.

One advantage of the museum pass, in addition to avoiding long lines, is that you can return to the same museum again if you feel you didn't have enough time the first visit

Gretchen May 10th, 2010 05:18 PM

That is like asking "how long is a string". HOW can we know what YOU might like to see/do. Personally, if I never go to the Louvre again, I will not miss it. If I couldn't go to the Rodin and Orsay again, I would be very sad.
AND what are you planning to SEE at the Louvre. You'd better plan your day(s), and be sure that the galleries you want to see are open on the days you are going. So many decisions.

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