In 1664, the most famous French gardener, André Le Notre, was commissioned to design the Jardin des Tuileries for the Kings of France. During the French revolution, this garden became a public space, and two pavilions were constructed inside it, under the reign of Napoleon III. Today, one of these pavilions houses the National Gallery of the Jeu de Paume, an important arts center for modern and postmodern photography and media. The other pavilion is an art gallery and museum of impressionist paintings, worldwide known as a place that exhibits eight large murals “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet. This most incredible museum in Paris is named the Orangerie, and it is definitely worth visiting.
Built in 1852, the building of the Orangerie was created as a winter shelter for the orange trees from the Jardin des Tuileries. Napoleon III commissioned Firmin Bourgeois, a French architect, for this work, and he imagined it as a beautiful greenhouse, whose southern façade is made of glass and the northern one without the windows. Louis Visconti, a French architect and designer, created the main entrance framed by columns and topped by the sculpture made by Charles Gallois-Poignant. It was in 1921 when the French authorities finally decided to transform the building of the Orangerie into an exhibition space.
Just a few years after the World War I, Claude Monet, a famous French impressionist painter, donated to France his large set of paintings, named "Water Lilies" or "Nymphéas". For that occasion, the French authorities decided to redesign the interior of the Orangerie, so it could host those artworks. The project was entrusted to Camille Lefèvre, a French architect and Claude Monet himself. Monet and Lefèvre made two oval rooms to symbolise infinity, and they let the natural light come from the ceiling. The Orangerie Museum was inaugurated in 1927, just few months after the death of Claude Monet. Today, besides "Water Lilies", the Orangerie also houses the paintings of some great artists of the 20th century, such as Renoir, Picasso and Matisse.
The Orangerie is a museum in Paris that is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm, except on Tuesdays. The entrance fee is 9 euros, but for the visitors under 18 years, it is free of charge. Also, every first Sunday of every month, the entrance to the Orangerie is free for everyone. Inside this museum, you will find a café where you can take a break. The café is open from Wednesday to Monday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
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