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Louvre Museum vs. Musee d’Orsay – Which Museum is Better?

Walking in Paris, you can feel the art and history around you.

This is especially true when deciding between the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, two famous art museums.

Choosing between them can be hard for many. Both have a wide range of art, from the famous Mona Lisa to the peaceful Water Lilies by Monet.

It’s even harder when you don’t have much time.

The Louvre is huge and covers art from ancient times to the 19th century.

The Musée d’Orsay, on the other hand, focuses on art from a shorter time, mainly the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

What you like in art will guide your choice.

Whether you love the vast history in the Louvre or the specific time period in the Musée d’Orsay, both museums will make you appreciate art more.

It’s not about which museum is better, but which one fits your taste in art.

We’ll look at what each museum offers to help you pick the right one for you.

Louvre vs. Orsay: A Historical Comparison of Parisian Art Museums

Louvre vs. Orsay in
Image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

The Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay both have important places in French culture and history.

The Louvre started in 1793 but goes back to 1190 as a fortress. It changed from a royal home to a museum for everyone during the French Revolution.

Meanwhile, the Musée d’Orsay is newer, made from an old train station in the 20th century to show art from the 19th century.

The Louvre has changed a lot, adding new things like the famous glass pyramid, while the Musée d’Orsay turned an old building into a place to see 19th-century art.

Both museums are key to French culture and bring in millions of people with their great art collections.

For those interested in history, the Louvre has a lot to see from the past, and the Musée d’Orsay focuses more on art from a certain time, not being as old as the Louvre.

Comparing Collections & Exhibitions: Louvre Museum vs. Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre are famous Paris art museums with great collections, each offering a unique experience.

Louvre’s beginning Louvre

Louvre Museum

Types of Collections:

Paintings, Sculptures, Antiquities, Drawings & Prints, Decorative Arts.

Notable Works:
 • Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci)
• The Raft of the Medusa (Théodore Géricault)
• Venus de Milo (Alexandros)
• Liberty Leading the People (Eugène Delacroix)
• Winged Victory of Samothrace 
• Dying Slave (Michelangelo)

Periods Covered:
• Ancient Egypt
• Ancient Near East
• Ancient Greece & Rome
• Medieval & Renaissance
• 17th & 18th Centuries
• 19th Century
• 20th & 21st Centuries

Temporary Exhibitions:
• The Met at Louvre (February 29, 2024 – September 28, 2025)
• Claude Gillot (March 21 – June 23, 2024)
• Madonna of Chancellor Rolin (From 20 March to 17 June 2024)
• Olympism: Modern Invention, Ancient Legacy(From 24 April to 16 September, 2024)

Musée d’Orsay

Musée d’Orsay

Types of Collections:

Paintings, Sculptures, Graphic Arts, and Decorative Arts.

Notable Works:
 • Starry Night (Van Gogh), Impression
• Sunrise (Monet)
• Ball at the Moulin de la Galette (Renoir)
• Olympia (Manet)
• The Birth of Venus (Bouguereau)
• Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (Picasso)

Periods Covered:
• 19th Century
• Late 18th Century

Temporary Exhibitions:
• Blanche Derousse” (Until March 10, 2024)
• “A Model and Her Images. Lili Grenier’s Albums” (Until May 05, 2024)
• “Hector Guimard et la genèse du Métropolitain” (March 16 – July 14, 2024)
• “The Nabis and Intimate Symbolism” (June 11 – September 22, 2024)

Related Reads

Top 20 Louvre Museum Artworks That Attract 93% Of Visitors
Temporary Louvre Exhibitons – Current, Upcoming and Past

Comparing Architectural Styles: Louvre Museum vs. Musee d’Orsay

The Louvre Museum and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris stand out for their distinctive architectural styles.

The Louvre blends Romanesque, Gothic, and Neoclassical designs, showcasing its rich history through features like the Cour Carrée and the Louvre Colonnade.

On the other hand, the Musée d’Orsay, with its Beaux-Arts style, combines classical beauty with modern ideas, highlighted by its impressive facade, iconic clock tower, and the vast hall that hints at its past as a railway station.

Over centuries, the Louvre has grown, adding modern structures such as the Glass Pyramid to accommodate more art and visitors.

Meanwhile, the Musée d’Orsay underwent significant changes in the 1980s to transform into a museum, carefully maintaining its original charm.

While the Louvre keeps expanding, the Musée d’Orsay focuses on giving new life to its historical aspects.

Louvre vs. Orsay Visitor Experience: A Detailed Comparison

The Louvre Museum sits at 1 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France, placing it right in the center of Paris and making it easily accessible. Get Directions

Despite its more rural location along the left bank of the Seine River, Paris’ Musée d’Orsay is still a convenient place to explore.

It is located at 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France. Get Directions

Close to the Louvre, attractions such as the Jardin des Tuileries, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and Place Vendôme add to the area’s charm.

Both museums are conveniently located close to popular Parisian attractions, including the Place de la Concorde, Grand Palais Éphémère, and Jardin des Tuileries.

Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum

Walking Distance from City Center: 1.5 km from Notre Dame

Metro: Lines 1 and 7 (Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

RER: RER A (Châtelet-Les Halles)

Bus: Lines 21, 69, 72, 81, 95 (Louvre Rivoli)

Taxi Availability: Good

Parking Availability: Limited street parking, underground parking lot (paid)

Musée d’Orsay

Musée d’Orsay

Walking Distance from City Center:  1.2 km from Notre Dame

Metro: Line 12 (Solferino and Musée d’Orsay)

RER: RER C (Musée d’Orsay)

Bus:  Lines 24, 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, and 94 ( Rue de Lille – Musée d’Orsay)

Taxi Availability: Good

Parking Availability: Limited street parking, underground parking lot (paid)

Entry Ticket Prices Comparison

When comparing ticket prices, the Louvre Museum and the Musée d’Orsay have different rates for visitors.

Adult entry tickets at the Louvre cost €25, while the Musée d’Orsay charges €18 for a standard entry.

Although the Musée d’Orsay tickets seem cheaper, the Louvre’s vast collection, including famous works like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, offers great value.

In terms of price, Louvre guided tours cost €79, which is €16 more than Musée d’Orsay guided tours, which cost €63.

Children between 11 and 17 get discounts, paying €50 at the Musée d’Orsay and €61 at the Louvre.

However, the Louvre offers free admission for children under 17, making it more family-friendly.

Ultimately, while the Musée d’Orsay may seem less expensive at first, those seeking an in-depth cultural experience may find the Louvre’s broad range and free entry for kids very attractive.

Facilities and Amenities Comparison

While both the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum offer many services, the Louvre’s wide range of options makes visits more fun and informative for all.

FeatureLouvre MuseumMusée d’Orsay
AccessibilityElevators, ramps, and wheelchairsElevators, ramps, and wheelchairs
RestroomsAbundant restrooms throughout the museumWell-distributed restrooms, with elevator access
CloakroomsLarge cloakroomsSmaller cloakrooms
Food and BeveragesSeveral cafes and restaurants within the museumOne main cafe and a smaller snack bar
Picnic AreasDesignated picnic areas No dedicated picnic areas 
Gift ShopsExtensive gift shops Smaller gift shop
Audio GuidesAvailable in multiple languages Available in multiple languages 
Mobile AppOfficial app with interactive features, thematic itineraries, and audio guidesOfficial app with information on the collection and exhibitions
Wi-FiFree Wi-Fi available throughout the museumFree Wi-Fi available in most areas
Family FacilitiesFamily room with changing tables and activities, dedicated stroller parkingNo dedicated family room, but changing tables available in some restrooms
Accessibility ResourcesTactile models, sign language tours, and special needs tours availableTactile models and sign language tours available upon request

The Louvre Museum’s great visitor services make exploring its amazing art collection easy and fun.

Crowd & Opening Hours Comparison

Louvre vs. Orsay Visitor Experience
Image: Artnews.com

The Louvre Museum is the world’s top art museum, attracting 7.8 million visitors in 2022, with about 21,500 people visiting each day.

In comparison, the Musée d’Orsay welcomed 3.2 million visitors that year, ranking it sixth globally and second in France.

Both museums are busiest in the spring and summer, especially on weekends and public holidays. However, fall and winter offer a quieter experience.

The Louvre is open from 9 am to 6 pm but stays open until 9:45 pm on Fridays, allowing for less crowded visits.

The Musée d’Orsay is open from 9.30 am to 6 pm and extends its hours until 9:45 pm on Thursdays.

Visiting on weekday mornings, especially before noon, is less busy, with Tuesdays being best for the Louvre and Wednesdays for the Musée d’Orsay.

While the Louvre’s size and longer hours offer flexibility, the Musée d’Orsay provides good opportunities to avoid crowds with careful planning.

Related Reads:

A detailed guide to the Louvre Museum’s opening hours and best times to visit
5 Best way to get to the Louvre Museum
Louvre Museum – Facilities and Services Explained

Educational Programs at Louvre and Musée d’Orsay

Both the Louvre Museum and the Musée d’Orsay offer excellent educational programs, but the Louvre really shines with its diverse tours, workshops, and materials.

It has themed tours that cover various eras and artists, adding fun for families with interactive experiences.

The Musée d’Orsay keeps up with its own guided tours and workshops, including some that help with language learning.

The Louvre’s tours benefit from the knowledge of art historians, offering a deeper understanding.

It also stands out with the Louvre École, providing special programs for students and professionals, and it hosts various conferences and lectures, similar to the expert talks at the Musée d’Orsay.

Overall, if you’re into deep art education, the Louvre’s wide-ranging and specialized options make it a top pick.

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Featured image : Stock photos by Vecteezy

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