Musée d'Orsay: An insider's guide

Seek out the locals' haunts around Paris's second most visited museum...

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Follow our guide to the best non-touristy cultural attractions, restaurants and shops around the Orsay museum. Rather annoyingly, the area around the museum lacks decent cafés, as much of the surrounding buildings are given over to government institutions.  So for endless rows of watering holes, we recommend heading ten minutes along rue de l'Université to the Saint-Germain quarters, where you'll find venerable institutions like La Palette.


For information of the Musée d'Orsay and it's wonderful 19th-century collections, including its world-class displays of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art click here.


Around the Musée d'Orsay...

Museum: Musée Maillol

To escape the Orsay's crowds, but still take in awe-inspiring art, head to the nearby Musée Maillol. Dina Vierny was 15 when she met Aristide Maillol and became his principal model for the next

  1. 61 rue de Grenelle, 7e
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Café: La Palette

A fifteen-minute stroll from the Musée d'Orsay is La Palette, the café-bar of choice for the beau-est of the Beaux-Arts students who study at the venerable institution around the corner. Don’t be

  1. 43 rue de Seine, 6e
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Burger Truck: Le Camion qui fume

Fancy one of the best burgers in Paris? Forget your posh napkins, tablecloths and seating, the Camion Qui Fume is Paris’ first American-style burger truck, run by Californian Kristin Frederick; and

  1. opposite 23 quai Anatole France, 7e
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Restaurant: Les Ministères

Les Ministeres restaurant resides among the historical antique shops of Paris’s Left Bank, near the Orsay Museum, and across the river from the Louvre. Popular among fashion models, politicians,

  1. 30 Rue du Bac, 7e
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Restaurant: La Taverna degli Amici

The ideal spot for a lazy lunch after a morning jaunt around the Orsay. Occupying two floors, the yellow-walled rooms are well lit and airy. Run by the exceptionally friendly Notaro family, who own,

  1. 16 rue du Bac, 6th
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Bar: Le Saut du Loup

It's work crossing the Pont Royal in front of the Orsay, then wondering through the Tuileries gardens to get to the Saut du Loup's terrace. Museums are usually daytime destinations, places of

  1. 107 rue de Rivoli, 1er
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Shop: Richart

Each chocolate ganache has an intricate design, packages look like jewel boxes, and each purchase comes with a tract on how best to savour the stuff. Richart is the moneyed locals' favourite

  1. 258 bd St-Germain, 7e
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Shop: Papillon pour Bonton

If you decide to give your whippershappers a makeover  head to Papillon pour Bonton. This new venture is all about nostalgia, with hand-knits, cashmere and alpaca, dinky stripes and Liberty prints

  1. 84bis rue de Grenelle, 7e
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