Architecture Displays in Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay architectural collection is one of the most impressive and extensive collections.

The museum houses some of the finest examples of architectural artistry from the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Visitors to the museum can explore the stunning works of artisans worldwide, including France, Italy, England and Germany. 

Discover the Musée d’Orsay’s architectural collections to explore the unique architecture of the past. 

Be inspired by the exquisite beauty and craftsmanship of a bygone age.

Model of the Paris Opera House

Part of the Musée d’Orsay architectural collection is the Place de l’Opéra facade. 

The Musée d’Orsay allocated permanent exhibition areas for architecture, including the Place de l’Opéra facade at right. 

The significant changes brought about by Napoleon III and perfect Haussmann in transforming Paris into a modern capital are showcased here.

But it could not be illustrated in total, so the focus was on the newly built Paris Opera house, designed by Charles Garnier and completed between 1863 and 1875. 

This was presented in the Opéra gallery at the end of the museum’s central aisle, the space designed by Richard Peduzzi (a stage and set designer). 

The gallery featured a polychrome plaster cross-section of the building at the time of its inauguration on 5 January 1875.

Interior view of the Sainte-Chapelle

French artist Felix Duban created the painting “Interior View of the Sainte-Chapelle” in 1847. 

The Musée d’Orsay in Paris now houses this painting, which depicts the interior of the Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic chapel located in Paris.

The painting captures the chapel’s beauty with its intricate details and stunning stained glass windows. 

The painting shows the grandeur of the chapel with its soaring arches and decoratively carved columns. 

The stained glass windows are a vivid contrast to the dark interior of the chapel and draw the viewer’s attention to the scene’s beauty. 

Duban’s painting is an impressive example of French Gothic art that captures the beauty of the Sainte-Chapelle and its intricate details.

Two models of lead skylights

The Two models of lead skylights were designed by the architect Paul Cret which are now a part of Musée d’Orsay architectural collection.

The skylights are a remarkable example of French artistry and ingenuity designed by architect Paul Cret. 

The models, which measure 60 cm by 40 cm, provide an intimate view of the skylights and demonstrate the skill and craftsmanship that went into their creation. 

The skylights are made from lead and feature intricate designs rendered in pen and black ink, with wash and white gouache highlights. 

They are a testament to the artistry and creativity of the French people and, in particular, to the work of Paul Cret. 

New Opera, perspective view 

The New Opera of Alphonse-Nicolas Crepinet, presented in the Musée d’Orsay Architecture collection, is an excellent example of the architecture of the Second Empire. 

The drawing reveals a sober and harmonious building with explicit references to classical antiquity. 

It represents a period of great creativity and fierce competition, which ultimately led to the selection of a winner that would become one of the most iconic opera houses in the world.

Reconstruction of the forum of the ancient city of Timgad

The Musée d’Orsay architectural collection has reconstructed the forum of the ancient city of Timgad.

It is a prime example of the exceptional designs of the great Roman cities of antiquity. 

It reveals the extreme wealth and beauty of Timgad with its use of 

  • Blue and white limestone
  • Sandstone and marble
  • Multitude of sculptures
  • Inscriptions
  • Sumptuous mosaic floors

This longitudinal section of the forum gives us a glimpse of the temple of Jupiter Capitoline on the left, followed by the theater with its magnificent stage.

It also shows us the various buildings of the forum, temples and the arc of triumph dedicated to Trajan. 

These reconstructions of Timgad tell the story of one of the oldest excavations by the French archaeological school led by Albert Ballu.

Apartment building, 1, rue Huysmans, Paris 6

Overall, the drawing of Apartment Building 1, rue Huysmans, Paris 6, by Raoul Brandon captures the beauty of the architecture and the love of a newly married couple. 

This piece in the Musée d’Orsay architectural collection is a stunning example of the Parisian architectural production of the early 20th century.

It also provides insight into the architect’s personal life, with its wreath of flowers and two doves cooing at the corner of a balcony. 

This drawing is a remarkable addition to the Musée d’Orsay collection of architectural drawings and is a testament to the creativity and talent of Raoul Brandon.

Temple of Thought

The Thought Temple, dedicated to Beethoven and currently under construction by Francois Jean Marie Garat, is an architectural masterpiece at Musée d’Orsay. 

The works seek to translate ideas, sensations or musical rhythms into architecture. 

His significant projects at the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts included Temples for Future Religions devoted to Beethoven, Wagner, Life, Death and Thought. 

His pantheon celebrates the two musicians on a par with Edgar Poe and Charles Baudelaire, John Ruskin, Edouard Manet and Jean Carriès.

When completed, the Temple of Thought would be a majestic addition to the Musée d’Orsay architectural collection.

The Apotheosis of Electricity of 1900

Eugène Hénard also designed the Palace of Mechanics and Chemical Industries. 

More than 200 meters in length, the building was divided into two parts – the Mechanical Room and the Chemical Room. 

The first one included the units of different mechanical industries from the most varied, such as the railway, the automobile, the aeronautics and the arms industry. 

Different chemical industries, such as textile, dyeing, food and industrial chemistry,  can be found in the second.

The machinery and installations were presented to the public as a parade, with the architect’s drawings now part of the Architecture Collection of the Musée d’Orsay.

While touring Musée d’Orsay, here are some things to see around:

For all visitors planning to visit Musee d’Orsay, here is a list of tickets you can choose from. 

Dedicated entry ticket: This ticket offers dedicated entry to the museum with access to permanent and temporary collections. 
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Guided tour ticket: Enjoy a 1 hour 45 minutes guided tour and skip the line access to Musee d’Orsay.
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Musee d’Orsay and Seine River Cruise: Visitors can tour the Musee d’Orsay and then experience a cruise over the Seine. 
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Musee d’Orsay and Louvre Museum: This combination ticket offers entry to both Musee d’Orsay and Louvre Museum.
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About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore