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Column: Musée de l’Orangerie


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By Anu Kumar




It’s no secret that Paris is home to some of the most impressive art collections in the world. But a visit to the Louvre can mean long lines and large crowds.

Any art lover or museum go-er can also feel overwhelmed by the size of the museum.

Musée d’Orsay boasts an impressive collection at a more comprehensible size, but everyday Parisians as well as tourists flock there as well.

Musée de l’Orangerie serves as a great alternative to Paris’s two most popular art museums, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.

While it’s located near both, the crowd here never tends to be as large.

L’Orangerie exhibits eight of Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” murals. Divided into two rooms on the main level, visitors can see these canvases stretch from wall to wall.

Having seen Monet’s pieces featured in various art museums as well as in the 2011 film “Midnight in Paris,” it was quite remarkable for me to see his most famous pieces of work in person.

Each oval room features four canvases. With seating in the middle, it’s simple to sit back and take in each piece of work from a distance.

Because of the comprehensible size of the collection, it’s easy to walk around and observe each canvas without feeling rushed either.

Musée de l’Orangerie contains works from other impressionist and post-impressionist artists in addition to Monet’s murals.

Works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, among others, are featured on the museum’s lower level.

Visitors can view the museum’s entire collection in one to two hours, depending on how slowly or quickly one moves.

After having attempted to visit the Louvre and feeling quickly overwhelmed by its size and the crowd of visitors, Musée de l’Orangerie served as a breath of fresh air.

It serves as the perfect stop for art lovers who don’t have a full day to spend at a museum.

Conveniently located near the Jardin des Tuileries and on the bank of the Seine river, visitors can enjoy a pleasant stroll afterwards as well.
 
—anukumar@indiana.edu

Follow columnist Anu Kumar on Twitter @AnuKumar23.

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