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Orangerie museaum

Located on the edge of the Tuileries gardens, the Orangery was built at the end of the 19th century to enhance the orchid collections of the Jardin des Plantes. However, in 1927, the Orangery was converted into an art museum to house impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces from the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection.
Its architecture is a marvel in itself!

His history...

As beautiful from the inside as from the outside, the Orangery is one of those museums that immediately won us over, we were immediately enchanted!

The history of the Musée de l'Orangerie dates back to 1852, when Napoleon III commissioned the construction of two orangeries in the Tuileries Gardens to house the tropical and subtropical plants that were popular at the time. Over the years the Orangeries have been used for a variety of purposes, including as a ballroom and as a venue for displaying artwork.

In 1922, the French government decided to transform one of the orangeries into a museum to house the collection ofimpressionist paintings and post-impressionists by Paul Guillaume, an art dealer and passionate collector. The museum was designed to showcase masterpieces from the Guillaume collection, as well as works by other artists from the same period. You will surely be impressed, as we were, to discover the richness of this collection!

The realization of this project was entrusted to the architect Camille Lefèvre, who worked in close collaboration with Paul Guillaume until his premature death in 1934. Lefèvre designed the Musée de l'Orangerie as a clear and bright space, with oval exhibition rooms to showcase Monet's large paintings, notably the Water Lilies.

When the museum opened its doors in 1927, it quickly attracted the attention of art lovers around the world, and for good reason...


In 1944, the museum building was hit by a shell, which caused significant damage to the central rotunda where Monet's famous Water Lilies are exhibited, paintings of which you can also see in theOrsay Museum. Fortunately, the canvases themselves had been evacuated in time and were not damaged. After the end of the war, reconstruction work was undertaken to restore the building and the collection, and the museum finally reopened in 1947.

Monet's Water Lilies...

This series of iconic works created by the impressionist painter, depict landscapes from his garden in Giverny, Normandy, where he created a water lily pond and a picturesque Japanese bridge.

The Water Lilies series includes several dozen paintings of different sizes and shapes, all representing variations of the pond and its environment. Monet worked on these paintings for over 20 years, from 1899 until his death in 1926.


The Water Lilies are often considered a major work in the history of modern art and are appreciated for their beauty and stylistic innovation. Monet used a unique painting technique, characterized by large strokes of bright colors and light reflecting off the water.


The Water Lilies are also known for their large size and their panoramic format, which allows the viewer to be fully immersed in the work.

In 1922, Monet decided to donate a series of eight Water Lilies panels to the French government, which were installed in two oval rooms specially built to accommodate them at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. Monet wanted these works to be displayed in a space designed to accommodate them, and he worked closely with the architect to create the perfect space for the Water Lilies.

When Monet donated the series of Water Lilies panels to the French government in 1922, he had strict conditions for how they were to be displayed. He wanted the panels installed in two specially designed oval rooms, with natural light coming from the ceiling to create the effect of daylight on the water.

However, when the panels were installed at the Musée de l'Orangerie in 1927, some art critics judged that artificial light was insufficient to display them properly. Some have also criticized the choice of the two oval rooms as an inappropriate location for these paintings, saying it reduces their visual impact.

Over the years, several modifications have been made to the Water Lilies exhibition at the Musée de l'Orangerie in an attempt to address these concerns. For example, in the 1960s, windows were added to rooms to allow more natural light to enter, and in the 2000s, renovations were undertaken to upgrade the lighting.

However, some art purists still have reservations about the Water Lilies exhibition at the Musée de l'Orangerie, believing that the current configuration does not do justice to Monet's work. This controversy highlights the complexity of appropriately presenting a work of art of such magnitude and the difficulty of meeting the expectations of all critics and art lovers.

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Le Louvre à travers le temps

The architecture of the Orangerie Museum

The Orangerie Museum is a remarkable example of early 20th century architecture. Designed by architect Camille Lefèvre, the building was specifically designed to house a collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art. Lefèvre created a light and bright space, using modern materials like concrete and glass to create a building that was both stylish and the center of Paris in the 1st arrondissement. We love the light that enters this space, take the time to wander around!

The Orangery building consists of two rectangular concrete pavilions which are connected by a central glass rotunda. This rotunda is the centerpiece of the museum's architecture, as it houses Monet's famous murals, the Water Lilies. This oval room was specially designed to showcase Monet's large canvases, creating a space where nature and art merge.

The choice of the oval shape for the rotunda was also significant, as it allowed visitors to walk around the room to appreciate Monet's paintings from all angles. Additionally, the oval shape reflects the recurring theme of nature and water found in Monet's work.

Aside from the central rotunda, the rectangular pavilions house exhibition galleries that display other Impressionist and post-Impressionist artworks. These galleries are spacious and bright, with glass windows that allow an abundance of natural light.

Lefèvre also took care of the exterior appearance of the building, using modern geometric patterns to create an elegant and attractive facade. The combination of concrete, glass and geometric patterns gives the Musée de l'Orangerie a modern and timeless appearance.

Other notable works:

We can also admire paintings by Cézanne, Renoir and Matisse. The museum also houses a significant collection of Picasso paintings, including works from his Cubist period.

The Musée de l'Orangerie also features a collection of paintings from the late 19th century, including works by Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Manet.

It also houses works from the Nabi movement, which developed in France at the end of the 19th century, and which is characterized by symbolic and decorative motifs. Artists such as Maurice Denis, Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard contributed to this movement, and their works are on display at the Musée de l'Orangerie.

Address of the Orangerie Museum

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