Musée d’Orsay vs Louvre Museum 

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

Are you visiting Paris and torn between the two greatest museums ever?

Musée d’Orsay vs Louvre Museum can be a difficult decision to make for most travelers. 

Located opposite each other on either bank of the Seine, these world-renowned museums house some of the world’s most famous paintings and artworks.

From art and architecture to history, collections and fame, the Musée d’Orsay and Louvre compete closely. 

Deciding between the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum can be difficult for all visitors. 

But don’t worry! This article will help you decide the Musée d’Orsay vs Louvre- which museum is best for you.  

Louvre or Musée d’Orsay – our recommendation

Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are the two biggest art museums in Paris.

If you are confused about which museum to visit, we recommend you visit both.

Louvre and Musée d’Orsay offer a very different experience from each other and visitors to Paris should try both.

Musée d’Orsay is the prime museum for impressionist art, while the Louvre is the most famous art museum in Paris and houses a varied art collection.

You can get the best of the art world by visiting both museums.

You can get both entry tickets at a discounted price with the Musée d’Orsay and Louvre Museum combination ticket.

If you wish to explore more museums around Paris, you can also get a Paris Museum Pass.

However, if you do not have time or the budget to explore both museums, read further to find the one that suits you the best.

Price of tickets

The Musée d’Orsay provides entry tickets to adults at $18.

Those under 18, EU residents under 26, disabled visitors plus one companion, job seekers and Pass Education holders can enter for free with a valid ID. 

Guided tours and private tours are available at varying prices. 

The Louvre Museum entry ticket costs $22 for adult entry and offers guided tours and private tours at different prices for different age groups.

Musee d’Orsay vs Louvre: Impressionist paintings

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Both the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum have an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings. 

However, there are some critical differences between the two collections.

The Musée d’Orsay is the primary home of Impressionist works in Paris, while the Louvre Museum has a more expansive and varied collection of artwork. 

The Musée d’Orsay focuses on 19th-century works, like Monet and Renoir’s Impressionist paintings, while the Louvre has a range of artwork from the Renaissance to now.

Additionally, the Musée d’Orsay has a more extensive collection of Impressionist paintings than the Louvre, with over 500 works.

Both museums offer superb artwork in terms of the quality of the paintings. 

Many of the paintings at the Musée d’Orsay are considered iconic Impressionist works, such as Monet’s Water Lilies and Renoir’s Dance at the Moulin de la Galette. 

The Louvre’s Impressionist collection is no less impressive, with notable works such as Cezanne’s Mont Sainte Victoire, Degas’ L’Absinthe and Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Overall, the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum have exceptional collections of Impressionist artwork. 

While the Musée d’Orsay is focused more heavily on the Impressionist period, the Louvre offers a broader selection of paintings from various eras.

Ultimate Masterpieces at the Museums

The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum contain some of the world’s most iconic works of art. The most famous masterpieces include

Musée d’Orsay masterpieces

  • The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh 
  • Olympia by Édouard Manet 
  • The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet 
  • The Dance by Henri Matisse 
  • The Church at Auvers by Paul Cézanne

Louvre Museum masterpieces

  • Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci 
  • The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault 
  • Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix 
  • The Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Veronese 
  • The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David
mona lisa

Musee d’Orsay vs Louvre: Buildings 

The beauty of the building

The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum not only feature some of the world’s most stunning and significant artworks but are masterpieces themselves. 

Both museum buildings have their unique beauty and charm.

Considered one of the most beautiful museums in Paris, Musée d’Orsay is housed in a 19th-century train station built in the Beaux-Arts style. 

The museum has a stunning façade adorned with intricate and ornate sculptures.

The grand galleries of Musée d’Orsay, with high ceilings and elaborate decorations, highlight the vintage aesthetic.  

The museum’s interior also features several spectacular stained glass windows and an impressive clock tower.

On the other hand, the Louvre Museum is an impressive 13th-century castle with a touch of modernity in its design. 

Built-in 1793, the Louvre Museum features a giant glass pyramid. 

The museum building is made of stone and features many intricate sculptures. 

The museum has grand and beautiful galleries with high ceilings and ornate decorations and features several impressive sculptures and paintings.

When comparing the building of the Orsay Museum vs the Louvre, it is challenging to pick a definitive winner. 

The Musée d’Orsay has a more traditional and ornate beauty, while the Louvre Museum has a more modern and contemporary feel. 

Both buildings are stunning and offer plenty of beauty and history to explore.

Musee d’Orsay vs Louvre Museum: Features

The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum offer a wealth of art and culture, but each has unique features that set it apart from the others. 

The Louvre is one of the world’s oldest and largest art museums and has an extensive collection of masterpieces from the Renaissance to the modern era. 

On the other hand, the Musée d’Orsay is a relatively newer establishment, having opened its doors in 1986. 

Despite its relative youth, it is home to many of the same Louvre museum artworks and some unique pieces.

The Musée d’Orsay is renowned for its collection of Impressionist art, featuring works by Monet, Cezanne and Renoir. 

It also has many sculptures made by artists like Rodin and Degas. 

One of the museum’s main features is its impressive clock tower, visible from the Seine River. 

Visitors can also explore the museum’s cafe and bookshop and view its remarkable furniture and decorations collection.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is best known for its collection of classical art and artifacts. 

It houses some of the world’s most famous pieces, such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. 

The museum’s galleries are divided into different sections, such as Egyptian Antiquities, Greek and Roman Antiquities, and Islamic Art galleries. 

Visitors can also explore the Louvre’s renowned collection of decorative arts and antiquities and its impressive collection of paintings and sculptures.

While the Louvre Museum is more focused on classical art and artifacts, the Musée d’Orsay is renowned for its collection of Impressionist art.

Can’t decide which to visit- d’Orsay museum vs Louvre? Put an end to thinking, and visit them both today!

History on display

When comparing the two museums, the Louvre covers approximately 650,000 square feet and houses over 35,000 historical artworks.

The Musée d’Orsay is much smaller, covering only 210,000 square feet and only holds around 6,000 artworks.

When comparing the historical art on display, the Louvre is much more diverse than the Musée d’Orsay. 

The Louvre has collections from countries worldwide, including China, Greece, Italy and Egypt. 

It houses works from ancient to modern times and is especially well-known for its Italian Renaissance and French Impressionist collections. 

The Musée d’Orsay focuses solely on French art from the 19th century, including paintings, sculptures and furniture. 

It is particularly well-known for its extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artworks.


Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum lie in Paris on either side of the river Seine just 950 meters from each other. 

The Louvre is in Paris’ 1st arrondissement on the left bank of the Seine.

The Musée d’Orsay is in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, on the left bank of the Seine. 

Musée d’Orsay1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris
Louvre MuseumRue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Time taken to explore

The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum, with over 35,000 pieces on display. The museum is divided into eight sections, covering over 600,000 square feet. 

It can take up to several hours to explore the entire museum.

The Musée d’Orsay is smaller than the Louvre but has a stunning art collection. 

The museum has five sections, with over 10,000 pieces on display. It usually takes around two or three hours to explore the entire museum.

If you only have a limited time to view the museum, we suggest you spend your time at the Musée d’Orsay. 

The Louvre museum is vast and it would be impossible to take the entirety in a single day. 

The best time to visit: d’Orsay Museum vs Louvre

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The Louvre Museum is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, with extended hours until 9.45 pm on Fridays. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. 

The Musée d’Orsay is open daily from 9.30 am to 6 pm, with extended hours until 9.45 pm on Thursdays. The museum is closed on Mondays. 

Therefore, the best time to visit both museums would be on Thursdays and Fridays, open until 9.45 pm.

The ideal season to visit the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum is summer, as the weather is warmest and the days are the longest.

Crowd expected

Both museums are the most popular tourist attractions in Paris. 

They attract millions of visitors each year, with the Louvre being one of the most visited museums in the world. 

The Louvre typically sees between 8 and 10 million visitors annually, while the Musée d’Orsay sees around 3 million. 

However, the Louvre’s vast collection of art and the iconic Mona Lisa painting attract more tourists than the Musée d’Orsay. 

The Musée d’Orsay is known for its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, among the museum’s most popular attractions. 

The Louvre will have more visitors than the Musée d’Orsay, although it can depend on the time of year and the current exhibitions. 

Both museums can be pretty crowded during peak season, so purchasing Musée d’Orsay and Louvre Museum tickets online are recommended.

Restaurants at the museums

The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum both have exceptional restaurants with stunning views of the surrounding city. 

At the Musée d’Orsay, the restaurant is on the top floor and offers traditional French cuisine and breathtaking views of the Seine River and the Eiffel Tower.

Musée d’Orsay restaurant and cafe

  1. Le Kiosque du Parvis: This café is located in the museum and offers classic French fare and light snacks. It also has an outdoor terrace.
  2. Café Campana: This restaurant is located in the nearby shopping district and offers classic Italian dishes in a casual atmosphere.
  3. Restaurant du Musée d’Orsay: The eatery at the Musée d’Orsay offers sophisticated dishes in a setting full of frescoes, chandeliers and ornate decorations.

At the Louvre, the restaurant is located in the glass-enclosed pyramid in the center of the museum. It offers a variety of international dishes with views of the Tuileries Garden.

Louvre Museum Restaurant & Cafe

  1. Café Mollien: This café in the museum offers French bistro-style fare, including salads, sandwiches and quiches.
  2. Café Marly: Located in the Richelieu wing of the museum, this cafe offers traditional French cuisine with a modern twist.
  3. Pyramid Café: This café is located in the Carrousel du Louvre and offers light snacks and refreshments.

Louvre Museum or Musée d’Orsay – the winner

It is impossible to definitively say which museum is the winner when deciding which museum to visit. 

We recommend you visit both the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay.

The Louvre and Musée d’Orsay offer a wide range of world-renowned works of art and exhibits. 

The Louvre offers a much more extensive collection and is renowned for its classical sculptures and Renaissance paintings. 

The Musée d’Orsay is renowned for its collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. 

Both museums offer unique and valuable experiences depending on the visitor’s interests.

Planning to visit Musee d’Orsay? Here are some more relevant information to help you plan your visit.

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. 
Buy This Ticket | Learn More

Guided tour ticket: Enjoy a 1 hour 45 minutes guided tour and skip the line access to Musee d’Orsay.
Buy This Ticket | Learn More

Musee d’Orsay and Seine River Cruise: Visitors can tour the Musee d’Orsay and then experience a cruise over the Seine. 
Buy This Ticket | Learn More

Musee d’Orsay and Louvre Museum: This combination ticket offers entry to both Musee d’Orsay and Louvre Museum.
Buy This Ticket | Learn More

Paris City Museum Pass: Visit the best museums in Paris with just one pass.
Buy This Ticket | Learn More

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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