The museum occupies a building that was originally
constructed to serve as a sales hall for new abattoirs, but the
closure of the abattoirs in 1974 left the building unoccupied.
70,000 tonnes of steel was necessary to convert it into a museum,
almost the weight of the Eiffel Tower. The architect “highlighted
as much as possible the original structure, keeping concrete columns
covered in granite and roofing girders painted blue.
“The monumental character of the building was accentuated by drilling a moat (bringing light into the two underground levels) and surrounding the building with ponds. The glass southern façade and three immense greenhouses mark the border with the park. Glass elevators traverse the greenery, allowing visitors to discover the grounds.
The permanent exposition “Explora” broaches science and technology in theme–based displays, devoted to images, materials, sound, expressions and behaviour, mathematics, oceans, rocks and volcanoes, stars and galaxies, optical illusions, energy, computers, the representation of space, the cultures of the Earth, the weather, space, humans and health, 100 years of communication…
Architect Dominique Perrault developed an exposition of vegetal biotechnologies. Temporary expositions concern the economic, social and artistic consequences of scientific, technological and industrial advances.
The Cité also hosts a planetarium, an aquarium, the Cité des enfants (for children 3 – 12 years), "Techno Cité" where 60 experiments allow those above 11 years to discover technology, the Cité des métiers (on the orientation of professions and vocations, free admission, closed Sundays), a media library and a cinema devoted to science.
The palaeontology gallery allows visitors to discover a fabulous collection of vertebrate and invertebrate fossils tracing back 600 million years of the history of life. In the comparative anatomy gallery, visitors can take a tour through a collection of over 1,000 skeletons, detailing the rostrum of vertebrates in life today.
The mineralogy collection, growing since the 17th century, is among the oldest and most prestigious in the world. Gems, crystals, precious minerals, objects of art and fine stones illustrating the history and richness of this collection are exhibited in the treasure room. A unique exhibition will introduce you to giant crystals of spectacular dimensions and perfect natural shapes.
Known the world over for its collection of impressionist art, the Orsay Museum is also the museum of all artistic expression in the western world from 1848 to 1914. Its collections represent all forms of expression; from painting to architecture, passing through sculpture, decorative arts, photography.
Nor will you fail to be impressed by the beauty
of the place itself: a train station with the allure of a palace,
inaugurated for the World’s Fair of 1900. A new reception
area and bookshop were inaugurated on the 1st April 2004. With
increased vastness and daylight, this area is better equipped
to receive visitors to the museum, and has succeeded in reducing
The former train station was built in 1897by Victor Laloux, and was abandoned as a station in 1939 as its platforms were not long enough to accommodate electric trains. Marked for demolition in 1969, the building owes its continuing existence to the public outcry that was caused by the destruction of the Halles de Baltard in 1971, and the sudden interest that ensued in preserving monuments of 19th century architecture.
After several proposals (including an enormous modern hotel), President Valéry Giscaird D’Estaing chose to make it a museum dedicated to the latter half of the 19th century. The chosen proposal preserved perfectly the existing buildings but radically restructured the interior, notably with the introduction of small cubic exhibition rooms.
The museum is one of the most beautiful in the
world. Primarily devoted to painting and sculpture, it also displays
other forms of artistic creation (decorative arts, architecture,
graphic arts and photography in temporary exhibitions). The museum
puts into perspective the relationship between the creation and
the historical, social and economic context of the time. The collections
come largely from the Louvre, the Jeu de Paume Museum, the palais
de Tokyo for post-impressionists and numerous inheritances and
donations. The ground floor presents the sculptures of Carpeaux
and Rude, and canvases of the Ingres, Courbet, Manet, the paintings
of Barbizon (Millet, Corot), furniture form 1850 to 1880, Daumier’s
caricatures, the paintings of Puvis de Chavanne and Gustave Moreau,
the reliefs of the Opera district. The upper level displays the
famous and magnificent canvases of Manet, Degas, Monet, Pissaro,
Renoir, Cézanne, van Gogh, Seurat, Matisse, Gaugin, Toulouse-Lautrec…
The upper level café offers a beautiful view over the Seine. On the mezzanine level you will find the works of naturalists and symbolists, the sculptures of Rodin, Guimard’s art-nouveau style furniture, the paintings of Nabis. The restaurant occupies what was the hotel of the former station.
For more information : category "Monuments/Buildings".