Putting the ‘Oh!’ in ‘Orangerie’: Monet’s Finest Hour

From Musée d’Orsay to the Louvre, Paris is beyond abundant with spectacular museums. I had yet to explore one museum that I have passed by on my walks through the Jardin des Tuileries numerous times: Musée de l’Orangerie.

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This trip to Paris was an opportunistic one. My uncle and aunt were celebrating my aunt’s birthday in Paris. As they were coming our way, they invited Victor and I to come along — we thought, why not? Victor’s last visit was over a decade ago, so surely this trip would be a great one to have. As I scrambled to make a list of things to do, the first thing on my list was indeed the beautiful museum that is l‘Orangerie. Victor and I eagerly made our way to l’Orangerie early on a Saturday morning.

L’Orangerie is a breath of fresh air in the midst of stuffy over-the-top museums. Having been so many art museums, I can confidently say this one is one of the best. The famous Water Lillies rooms are without a doubt amazing. They are oval-shaped rooms completely adorned with Monet’s Nymphéas, some of the most beautiful works of art in the world. 

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Not only is the art spectacular, but so is the presentation. Presentation is how onlookers view art, so in reality it is perhaps the most important aspect of art. And I have to say, l’Orangerie has one of the greatest setups–definitely rivalling with the MoMA and its Monet room.

Paris Orangerie 3 Paris Orangerie 5Of course, the reason why the rooms are so perfect is because they were designed to house these paintings! The head architect at the Louvre, Camille Lefèvre, drafted new plans and elevations in 1922 to house Monet’s large Nymphéas canvases, incorporating natural light, plain walls, and sparse interior decoration. Monet also had his say in the set-up. 

Paris Orangerie 11L’Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. While Monet’s rooms are the most impressive in the museum, there are plenty of other artists to get to know. Artists include Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, Rousseau, Sisley, Soutine, and Utrillo to name a few.

Paris Orangerie 4 Paris Orangerie 10I can’t think of a more perfect morning in Paris: wake up early, stroll through the streets before the city becomes overwhelmingly busy… perhaps take a moment for some espresso and a croissant. Continue your day walking through the gardens, and then being totally blown away by what l’Orangerie has to offer. Try it some time, you won’t regret it. Also, if you find yourself watching Midnight in Paris (like I did on a flight), look out for l’Orangerie’s special appearance!

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Up next: An afternoon at another Parisian museum, d’Orsay. 

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