Next to the Palace of the Legion of Honour, on the quai Anatole France and across the rue de Bellechasse, is the old Orsay station.
The conversion of this abandoned train station, the Gare d'Orsay, into the Musee d'Orsay marked a major advance in the reorganization of the different collections. The museum is devoted to all art forms from the second half of the 19th century (painting, sculpture, architecture, music and items trom everyday life). Significant Impressionist and neo-lmpressionist works are on display, as well as the creations of the more conservative academic school that was also known as Pompier in France. Art-Nouveau objects and blue-prints complement the collections.
Fortunately, this did not occur and during Georges Pompidou's term of office as president, the idea of transforming the train station into a museum first emerged. His successor, Giscard d'Estaing, eventually gave the go-ahead for the time-consuming and expensive renovations. The work began in 1980. Some 270 million U.S. dollars flowed out of the taxpayers' pockets before President Miterrand could proceed to ceremoniously dedicate it.
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