Musée de l’Orangerie – the Paris art museum with the unusual name – is a showcase for Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. You can even take a virtual tour.
Musée de l’Orangerie and Claude Monet
Eiffel Tower. Louvre. Notre-Dame. Big and impressive. Musée de l’Orangerie is grand on a small scale.
If you only see the Water Lilies (Nymphéas) by Claude Monet (1840-1926), you could spend 30 minutes or less at the Musée de l’Orangerie (pronounced mew-zay day la-ron-zuree).
Yet, Monet intended the art to be “the haven of peaceful meditation” and a gift to modern man with his “overworked nerves”.
The 8 panels are the same height (a little more than 6.5 feet or 2 meters), but different lengths along the curved walls of the oval rooms.
If the panels were laid end-to-end, the total length would be nearly 300 feet or 91 meters.
Natural light comes into the glossy white rooms from skylights. The weather and time of day literally puts the paintings in a different light.
Monet arranged the artwork so that the paintings with sunrise hues are to the east and the paintings with sunset hues are to the west.
The museum also includes a lower level with artworks by Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir.
Musée de l’Orangerie History
The Musée de l’Orangerie had been built as an orangery in 1852, storing citrus trees from the nearby Tuileries Gardens during the winter. After a fire at the Tuileries Palace in 1871, the Orangerie became a government-owned property.
In 1922, Claude Monet agreed to install these 8 panels of the Water Lilies – donated to the nation of France – at the former orangery.
Architect Camille Émile Lefèvre (1876-1946) renovated the building to meet Monet’s wishes for the arrangement of the artwork. The museum opened in 1927, less than 6 months after Monet's death.
You are allowed to take photos in the Musée de l’Orangerie, but no selfie stick or flash.
Reserved tickets are recommended (only available online): Get your museum ticket.
Want a guided tour in English? A 90-minute tour is available on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11am. Get your guided tour ticket.
Musée de l’Orangerie Address:
Place de la Concorde (Seine side)
Metro stations: Concorde, Tuileries
The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
To learn more about the Musée de l’Orangerie, visit the museum’s website.
See the Google Arts & Culture virtual tour of the museum.
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