Musée d'Orsay has one of the largest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, and I couldn't wait to get here to explore all of it inside this beautiful shell of a former train station. When we arrived, the line to enter was ridiculously long because it turned out to the be the one day of the month when museums in Paris are free to the public. Thankfully the museum pass allowed us to skip the line, so we were able to avoid hours of waiting to get in to the museum.
Once indoors, we headed straight to the top floor and entered through the Salon de l'Horloge, a room that looks out through one of the clocks in a tower of the museum. There's a great view of the city through the clock, and it's certainly the best way to look at the Jardin des Tuileries across the way.
To the left of the Salon de l'Horloge is the first room of Impressionist art with works by Monet, Manet, Degas, Cezanne, and Renoir. Paintings by Sisley were displayed in the next room along with Degas' small bronze sculptures of dancers, which I adore. I also was able to see Cezanne's "Monte Sainte-Victoire" up close. (It's a painting I tried to replicate in high school as part of an academic competition.) Towards the end of the floor was Degas' "Danseuses bleues," which is one of my favorite paintings. And at the very end, before you head into other exhibit areas, there is a marvelous painting by Henri Rousseau called "Portrait de Madame M." It's silly but the reason I love this Rousseau painting so much is because of the cat playing with the ball of yarn at the bottom right corner of the picture. (I love seeing cats in art. Ha.)
Amazing sculptures line the middle of the museum, and on the second (I believe) floor is an exhibit of art nouveau furniture as well as some large scale paintings and tapestries. Also, on the same floor is a gallery with works from Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.
Below are some of my favorite Van Gogh paintings. It was awesome to see them so closely -- less than five feet away. They're nothing like the prints we're used to seeing. There's so much texture with each brush stroke. Totally blown away.