Paris 2014: The Clock at the Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay is the major museum in the sixth arrondissement of Paris. It was originally built in 1900 to be a train station but was closed in 1939 when its platforms became too small for the long trains of modern times. In 1986 it then reopened as a museum  featuring art produced between 1848 and 1914, the time period of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists. Most of the art in the Louvre (first arrondissemnet) is before 1848 and most of the modern art in the Pompidou Center (fourth arrondissement) is after 1914. We visited the museum one day during our first week in Paris and I came away with photos of the museum’s clock.

The Musée d'Orsay and one of its clocks.

The Musée d’Orsay and one of its clocks.

Actually, there are two clocks built into the north side of the D’Orsay Museum — the side facing the Seine and directly opposite the Tuileries Garden. There’s also a large clock completely inside the museum but I didn’t try to shoot that.

View of the Musée d'Orsay from our cruise down the Seine the day after visiting the museum.

View of the Musée d’Orsay from our cruise down the Seine the day after visiting the museum.

We visited the museum on a Tuesday, which was a major mistake. The Louvre just across the river is closed on Tuesdays. So guess where everyone goes on Tuesdays! We had museum passes which saves you a lot of money but they are also supposed to get you into the museum without waiting in line. But there were two long lines at the museum that day. We waited in line for an hour and fifteen minutes in the museum pass line.

Photographing the art in the museum is strictly forbidden. We found this rule in effect at the Musée de l’Orangerie, too. You can take all the pictures you want at the Musée du Louvre, however, so long as you don’t use a flash.

So what is one to do?  Well, the guards will allow you to take photos out the windows and through the two clocks. So I did. I was surprised when I  discovered that I could see Sacre Coeur through one of the clocks.  I thought the shots I took that day were interesting. But I would rather have  photographed some of the many Monets I saw on the museum’s walls.

The museum's clock from the inside.

The museum’s clock from the inside and the view of Sacre Coeur.

Another shot of the clock.

Another shot of the clock.

The view from a fifth-floor window near the clock.

The view from a fifth-floor window near the clock. That’s the Louvre on the right.

Northeast view from the same window, showing one of the statues on the north side of the museum.

Northeast view from the same window, showing one of the statues on the north side of the museum.

Oh well, I took tons of photos during my two visits to the Louvre. We visited eight museums during our stay in Paris. Six of them allowed me to use my camera.


About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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13 Responses to Paris 2014: The Clock at the Musée d’Orsay

  1. mvschulze says:

    So cool! I too was annoyed at the ban on internal photos – and snuck in that photo thru the clock of the Sacre Coeur as well, not realizing it was OK. We had just visited Auver-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh spent his last days, and painted “The Church at Auver.” I wanted to photograph that and “The Starry Night” in the museum, but …
    It’s is, otherwise, another great museum in Paris.
    Did you hear that the increasing weight of the LOVE LOCKS on one of the bridges buckled the railing. I think it was Pont des Arts! M

    • Oh yes, I heard or read that too! The bridge is old and all the locks are taxing on it. I read the authorities cut the locks off, but they are quickly replaced with new love locks. The romantic in me loves the idea of the locks on the bridge, but the Historian in me appreciates the need to cut them off and ban them for the preservation of the bridge. I hope another avenue for the Love Locks can be found!

  2. Pingback: Hawaii 2015: Impressed with 19th and 20th Century Art at Honolulu Museum of Art | Crow Canyon Journal

  3. chattykerry says:

    I love your Paris photographs. I was there in 2014 also but had horrible weather for snapping. Thank you for visiting Postcards from Kerry and look forward to reading your blog in depth.

  4. Jacqueline Mitchell says:

    I love the shot of the clock from the back. Great work!! By the way, my husband (who used to live in Alaska, we noticed your cap) and I both think you look so familiar and that we have seen you before….

    • I don’t know where you may have seen me. I lost that cap one windy day in Paris when I was taking pictures from an open-air tour bus but my sister who lives in Alaska sent me another one. We have visited her a few times and we were in Switzerland in 2012 — we spent four days in Zurich prior to going on a Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. I grew up in San Francisco and have lived in the East Bay for the last 50 years.

  5. This is my favorite museé in Paris. The first time I went in the late 90’s I was not forbidden from taking photographs, but then I took my lowly P&S. I too made an image of that clock facing Sacred Coeur. You had a much better sky! I was there during a very gray Winter.

  6. tedstrutz says:

    I too loved the clocks. Your photo of the woman with the clock from inside is wonderful. I will have to go review my photos again.

  7. Rajiv says:

    I love these pictures

  8. becky s peterson says:

    I was there last week and somehow I never knew I was not suppose to take photographs. I never got in trouble. sigh. Meanwhile that clock was my favorite thing in the whole museum. Do you know if it has a name?

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