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Musee l'Orangerie

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Many visitors who come to Paris will flock to the Lourve or the d'Orsay to view the two museums vast collections of arts and antiquities but there are several other art galleries in the city that are often overlooked. One of the best art galleries that most tourists fail to see is the historically important Musee de l'Orangerie (museum of orangery). What was originally Europe's largest orangery, or a building that houses citrus trees, the Musee l'Orangerie now is home to one of the greatest collections of impressionistic and post impressionist painting in Paris, particularly with a collection of Monet's priceless Water Lilies.

Located in the Place de la Concorde, in the 8 th arrondissement of Paris and along the River Seine, it is one of the few remaining buildings on the vast property known as the Tuileries (tiles). This property was the former site of the royal palace that was used by King Louis XVI and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. What remains after a huge fire that destroyed the massive Tuileries Palace that separated the Lourve from the Place de la Concorde is a sprawling garden similarly known as the Jardin des Tuileries and a small amusement park that features the oldest carousel in Paris and the prominent Ferris wheel that is re-erected each year and draws tens of thousands of people to the gardens.

Like all major attractions in the City of Paris, the Musee l'Orangerie is accessible by public transport with the Paris Metro station Concorde the closest stop at approximately 500 metres away. The Paris Metro Lines #1, #8 and #12 all serve the Place de la Concorde station.

Not only is there an impressive collection of Claude Monet's art, there are other important artists on display such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau and many others.

The highlight of a visit to the Musee l'Orangerie is of course, Monet's Water Lilies, located downstairs in Hall I and Hall II. In these two halls visitors will be able to enjoy eight of the water lilies compositions, in inspiration of Monet's stay at the picturesque village of Giverny, 70 km west of the City of Paris. It is at Giverny where Monet created his famous Japanese bridge paintings. Two of the distinctive Monet water lilies cycle of paintings are on display at the L'Orangerie, and are an incredible 91 metres long and 2 metres high, when each section is placed together horizontally to form an amazing mural.

Other prominent paintings on display at the museum are “Female Nude in a Landscape”, “The Clown”, “Young Girls at the Piano”, and “Snowy Landscape”, all by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “Flag Over the Town Hall” by Maurice Utrillo, “Old Junior's Cart” and the “Chair Factory” by Henri Rousseau, and “The Little Pastry Cook” by Chaim Soutine.

Another museum on the property of the Jardin des Tuileries is the Galerie National Jeu de Paume, a museum of modern art and directly across from the l'Orangerie. You will notice that the museum's architecture is nearly identical. Most of the best works of art at this small modern art museum have since been transferred to the better known and more widely visited Musee d'Orsay.
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