Musee de l’Orangerie is of course much smaller than the Louvre, but is certainly a top sight for art lovers in Paris. The massive Monet Water Lilies paintings are the headlining attraction. Yet the museum is brimming with other impressionist and post-impressionist works from the likes of Renoir, Picasso, Rousseau (one of my personal favorites), and Cezanne.
The 19th century building was originally an “orangery” for the Tuileries Palace. Orangeries, by the way, became popular in Europe a few hundred years ago for keeping orange and other citrus plants over wintertime. Think of them as beautiful, elaborate greenhouses. Some had heating inside, others relied upon the sun. They were a mark of distinction for bragging rights among aristocracy and the fabulously wealthy of the day. It became a museum in the 1920s and I believe had a fairly recent renovation within the last 10 years.
We spent more time there than I had expected, taking in all of the amazing works. If you only have time for a short stop, 30 minutes would suffice for seeing the Water Lilies and perhaps a quick jaunt past a few more works. However you won’t regret spending an hour or so soaking it in!