The Orangerie Museum (in French, Musée de l’Orangerie) started out as a greenhouse for orange trees but now houses an extraordinary collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, including some of Claude Monet‘s masterpieces.
Although it’s smaller than other museums in the French capital and less crowded than its neighbors, the Louvre Museum or the Orsay Museum, its location in the Tuileries Garden is ideal. Not to mention that enjoying the “Water Lillies” without a noisy crowd is a plus!
So, do you want to know more about the Orangerie Museum: Best Tips For Visiting In 2024? Keep reading!
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- Brief History of the Orangerie Museum
- How to Get to the Orangerie Museum
- What to See at the Orangerie Museum
- "Les Nymphéas", by Claude Monet
- "Femme au ruban de velours", by Amedeo Modigliani
- “Femme nue couchée (Gabrielle)”, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- “Le Rocher rouge”, by Paul Cézanne
- "Women with dog", by Marie Laurencin
- "Le Boudoir", by Henri Matisse
- "Arlequin et Pierrot", by André Derain
- "La Maison de Berlioz", by Maurice Utrillo
- "La Carriole du Père Junier", by Henri Rousseau
- "Le Petit Pâtissier", by Chaïm Soutine
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Brief History of the Orangerie Museum
In 1852, a greenhouse was built to house the orange trees of the Tuileries Palace. The building, located at the western end of the Tuileries Garden, was created with a south glass façade (to let in sunlight) and a north façade with no windows (to prevent the cold winds).
With the fall of the Second Empire of Napoleon III in 1870 and the fire that destroyed the Tuileries Palace the following year, the Orangerie (or “Orange Grove”, in French), became the state property and was repurposed to serve as a space for events related to horticulture.
Decades later, the statesman Georges Clemenceau suggested that the series of “Nymphéas” paintings, donated by Claude Monet to the State, should be exhibited at the Orangerie. Therefore, the artist designed two rooms to display the eight panels of “Water Lilies” (each one 2 meters wide)!
The so-called Musée Claude Monet was inaugurated by Georges Clemenceau himself on May 17th, 1927, after the impressionist painter’s death. Later, the art gallery was attached to the Musée du Luxembourg and formally renamed Musée National de l’Orangerie des Tuileries.
How to Get to the Orangerie Museum
The Orangerie Museum is located in the Tuileries Garden, one of the most pleasant Parisian parks for strolling and relaxing. And from here, you are close to other points of interest, such as the Place de la Concorde (150 meters), the Jeu de Paume National Gallery (400 meters), the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (500 meters), the Orsay Museum (650 meters) and the Louvre Museum (1.2 km).
Due to its excellent location in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, the Orangerie Museum is served by various types of public transport: metro (line 1, 8, or 12, Concorde station) and bus (lines 42, 45, 52, 72, 73, 84, or 94, Concorde stop).
Opening Hours & Ticket Prices
The Orangerie Museum is open from Wednesday to Monday, from 9 am to 6 pm, with the last entry being at 5:15 pm. In addition to Tuesdays, the Orangerie Museum is closed on the holidays of January 1st, May 1st, July 14th (in the morning), and December 25th.
Concerning tickets, they cost €12.50 (normal fare) or €10 (reduced fare for people accompanying under 18s), while those under 18 and under 26 residing in the European Union don’t pay admission. But you can consult all the practical information on the official website of the Orangerie Museum!
TIP: On the first Sunday of the month, entry to the Orangerie Museum is free for everyone – but don’t forget to book your ticket in advance!
What to See at the Orangerie Museum
“Les Nymphéas”, by Claude Monet
The day after the Armistice, Claude Monet offered a set of paintings to the French state as a symbol of peace. Surprisingly, this collection of “Water Lillies” (in French, “Les Nymphéas”) belonged to a series of paintings on the theme, which the artist had started almost thirty years before!
Inspired by his Water Garden in Giverny, Claude Monet was able to capture the changing sunlight in Nature, portraying the passing of the hours from dawn to dusk. And the bucolic landscapes are punctuated by water lilies and weeping willows, and the reflection of trees and clouds in the water.
At the Orangerie Museum, there are two rooms in the shape of a double ellipse, that display four “Water Lilies” each: “Les Nuages”, “Reflets verts”, “Matin”, and “Soleil couchant”, in the first; “Le Matin aux saules”, “Les Deux Saules”, “Le Matin clair aux saules”, and “Reflets d’arbres”, in the second.
“Femme au ruban de velours”, by Amedeo Modigliani
“Woman with a velvet ribbon” (in French, “Femme au ruban de velours”) is an oil painting on paper glued to cardboard, which Amedeo Modigliani created around 1915. With an elongated face and neck, this female portrait illustrates the artist’s interest in African and Oceanic masks.
At the Orangerie Museum, “Woman with a velvet ribbon” is one of the paintings in the “Les Arts à Paris” room, where part of the permanent collection is on display. Here, you can also admire works by Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Henri Matisse, and Henri Rousseau.
“Femme nue couchée (Gabrielle)”, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
“Naked woman lying (Gabrielle)” (in French, “Femme nue couchée (Gabrielle)”) is an oil painting on canvas, which Pierre-Auguste Renoir made in 1906-07. Known for painting the beauty of the female body in harmony with Nature, this indoor nude is one of his most unique works!
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the greatest representatives of Impressionism of his time, although he evolved into a more realistic style in his last years of activity. In fact, “Naked woman lying (Gabrielle)” is reminiscent of portraits of indoor nudes in Renaissance and Baroque!
“Le Rocher rouge”, by Paul Cézanne
“The Red Rock” (in French, “Le Rocher rouge”) is an oil painting on canvas by Paul Cézanne. Created around 1895, this painting of the Bibémus quarries near Aix-en-Provence is seen as one of his adult masterpieces.
As a post-impressionist painter, Paul Cézanne introduced a new visual language and influenced the avant-garde artistic movements of the early 20th century. For that reason, many consider him the “bridge” between late 19th-century Impressionism and early 20th-century Cubism!
“Women with dog”, by Marie Laurencin
“Women with dog” (in French, “Femmes au chien”) is an oil painting on canvas by Marie Laurencin, from the years 1924-25. And like other works on display by the artist at the Orangerie Museum, this painting portrays two young women – one of them with a violin and the other with a dog.
Despite presenting several converging points with Cubism and Fauvism, Marie Laurencin developed her own style, marked by the recurrent technique with delicate lines, representation of female figures, and use of pastel tones.
“Le Boudoir”, by Henri Matisse
“The Boudoir” (in French, “Le Boudoir”) is an oil painting on canvas by Henri Matisse, one of the greatest exponents of the Fauvist movement. Even so, this work distances itself from the vibrant colors characteristic of Fauvism. Even because the light tones of the painting recall a watercolor!
Between 1918 and 1921, Henri Matisse stayed several times at the Hotel de la Méditerranée in Nice – where this painting was created in 1921. Of the two female figures present in “The Boudoir”, one of them is easily recognized as Marguerite, the painter’s daughter.
“Arlequin et Pierrot”, by André Derain
“Harlequin and Pierrot” (in French, “Arlequin et Pierrot”) is an oil painting on canvas, which André Derain signed in 1924. The work was commissioned by Paul Guillaume, a patron and art dealer of almost all the names displayed at the Orangerie Museum!
Did you know that André Derain is the best-represented painter at the Orangerie Museum, with twenty-eight paintings on display? Interestingly, the artist also designed sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes, namely for the ballet “La Boutique fantasque” (1919).
“La Maison de Berlioz”, by Maurice Utrillo
“Berlioz House” (in French, “La Maison de Berlioz”) is an oil painting on plywood in which Maurice Utrillo immortalized the house where the composer Hector Berlioz lived from 1834 to 1837. The building was located on the corner of Rue Saint-Vincent and Rue du Mont-Cenis, in Montmartre.
This work, so geometric and pale in color, is one of Maurice Utrillo’s most austere works. And the only colorful element of “Berlioz House” is the French flag, which the artist probably added after the outbreak of the First World War in the summer of 1914.
“La Carriole du Père Junier”, by Henri Rousseau
“The Cariole of Father Junier” (in French, “La Carriole du Père Junier”) is an oil painting on canvas, which Henri Rousseau conceived from a photograph. It’s for this reason that the group of figures seems strangely still and silent as if they were posing for a photograph!
Dating from 1908, this painting depicts a carriage ride by Claude Junier, with his family (wife, niece, daughter, three dogs, and the mare Rose) and Henri Rousseau himself. An unavoidable name in naïve art, the artist completely ignored the traditional rules of proportion and perspective, as you can see!
“Le Petit Pâtissier”, by Chaïm Soutine
“The Little Pastry Chef” (in French, “Le Petit Pâtissier”) is an oil painting on canvas, belonging to a series of six paintings on the same theme, which Chaïm Soutine produced in 1922-23. And according to Paul Guillaume, it was this work that dictated the successful career of the painter!
Of the six existing variations, “The Little Pastry Chef” from the Orangerie Museum is the most audacious, due to the masterful use of white. Apart from that, the model has an elongated face and deformed limbs, which give it a strong expressive power and so define the style of Chaïm Soutine.
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