See Monet’s Water Lilies in the Orangerie in Paris

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by Henk Bekker

in France, N24, Paris

Visit the Orangerie Museum in Paris to see Claude Monet’s huge Water Lilies and other impressionist and early 20th-century paintings in the beautiful Musée de l’Orangerie.

Visit the Orangerie Museum in Paris to see Claude Monet's huge Water Lilies and other impressionist and early 20th-century paintings in the beautiful Musée de l'Orangerie.

The Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris is world-famous for the eight enormous water lilies paintings (Les Nymphéas) by French impressionist artist Claude Monet. Some were specifically painted for the well-lit oval exhibition halls and are the main reason to visit the popular Orangerie Museum. Further artworks exhibited are mostly from the early 20th century and focus on the art scene in Paris. Buy tickets online and make time-slot reservations (free) or book guided tours well in advance of visiting. The museum is very popular but relatively small so it fills up easily.

Visit the Orangerie during the Paris Olympics 2024

The Orangerie is open as usual during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympics but closed on 20, 25, 26 July and 28 August. From 1 June to 21 September 2024, access to the Jardin Tuileries is NOT possible from Place de la Concorde but other entrances remain open. The Concorde and Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau metro stations are also closed for much of this period. Buy tickets or at least book time slots as soon as travel dates are known.

See Claude Monet’s Water Lilies in the Orangerie in Paris

Visit the Orangerie Museum in Paris to see Claude Monet's huge Water Lilies and other impressionist and early 20th-century paintings in the beautiful Musée de l'Orangerie.

Claude Monet (1840-1926) famously painted almost exclusively scenes from his garden and water lilies (Les Nymphéas) in Giverny during the final four decades of his life. He painted these in sufficiently high numbers that almost any decent art museum worldwide exhibits some.

However, Monet’s Water Lilies paintings are nowhere larger or more impressively displayed than these eight huge canvasses painted between 1916 and 1926. Monet offered the first two paintings to the French state on 11 November 1918 as a symbol of peace with the hope that the cycle would be displayed in a place of peace and tranquility in the center of Paris.

These were originally destined for the courtyard of the new Musée Rodin but in 1922 it was decided to convert the mid-19th-century orangery of the Tuileries palace into the Musée Claude Monet.

Monet’s Eight Water Lilies in the Orangerie

Monet: The Clouds in the Orangerie

Monet specified the design for the exhibition halls: two large ovals interlinked like the symbol for infinity (∞), beautifully lit, with four paintings each. The eight canvasses are all 2 meters (6.66ft) high and have a total combined length of 91 meters (299 ft).

Monet: Setting Sun (Detail) in the Orangerie

The four water lilies displayed in the first hall:

  • Green reflections / Soleil couchant (850 cm)
  • The Clouds / Les Nuages (1275 cm)
  • Morning / Matin (1275 cm)
  • Setting Sun / Soleil couchant (600 cm)
Monet: Clear Morning with Willows (Detail)

The four water lilies in the second hall:

  • The Two Willows / Les Deux Saules (1200 cm)
  • Morning with Willows / Le Matin aux saules (1275 cm)
  • Clear Morning with Willows / Le Matin clair aux saules (1275 cm)
  • Tree Reflections / Reflet d’arbres (850 cm)

The world’s largest collection of Monet paintings is in the Marmottan Museum in Paris. The original Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise 1872) painting, which gave the movement its name is here, as well as many water lilies. The Musée d’Orsay also has several Monets in its overwhelmingly large collection of late 19th and early 20th-century art. Givenchy is easily reached on day trips from Paris but book well in advance, especially in summer, as admission slots are limited.

Les Arts à Paris in the Orangerie

Paul Cézanne: La Barque et les Baigneurs in the Musée de l'Orangerie

In the basement of the Orangerie is space for temporary exhibitions and the more permanent Les Arts à Paris exhibition. This part of the collection includes art from the late 19th century and early 20th century associated with the art scene in Paris.

Works on display include art by such famous artists as Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Derain, Utrillo, Picasso, and Rousseau. The exhibition is spread over ten not very big rooms. The small selection is interesting and easy to enjoy but to see more (and especially more famous) works by these artists in Paris it is necessary to visit the Orsay, Picasso, or Marmottan museums (or the Louvre for the prequel).

Visitor Information: Orangerie Museum in Paris

Monet: Morning with Willows in the Orangerie

Opening Hours of the Musée de l’Orangerie

Visit the Orangerie Museum in Paris to see Claude Monet's huge Water Lilies including Morning

The Musée de l’Orangerie is open Wednesday to Monday from 9:00 to 18:00. It is closed on Tuesdays, 1 May, 14 July, and 25 December.

Late evening opening hours are not currently in use.

The best time to visit the Orangerie Museum is first thing in the morning (and preferably not on the same day as seeing the massive Louvre or Musée d’Orsay).

Ticket Prices for the Orangerie Gallery in Paris

André Derain: Arlequin et Pierrot (1924) in the Musée de l'Orangerie

Ticket prices for the Orangerie Museum are €12.50 and include highly recommended time-slot reservations. Admission is free for children under 18 years old.

Combination tickets with the Musée d’Orsay may give small discounts.

European Union nationals (or EEA residents) may qualify for two further special deals:

  • Enfant & Cie: adults visiting with a child under 18 pay only €10 per adult (maximum two adults per child).
  • Free admission for young people under 26 years — EU IDs are usually checked.

Holders of any advance-purchase entry ticket, Paris Museum Pass, or free admission age group may make time-slot reservations for free online. (This free reservation is possible months in advance and may be made without actually buying the ticket or pass.)

Admission is free on the first Sunday of each month but prior online time-slot reservations are essential.

The Musée de l’Orangerie is in the Jardin de Tuileries very close to the Place de la Concorde grill.

Buy Online Tickets for Top Museums in Paris

It is possible to buy tickets online for most museums and top sights in Paris. Time-slot reservations are highly advisable and generally a sound investment. Also, look for discounts if buying more than one ticket from the same reseller:

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to European-Traveler.com, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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