Located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to Place de la Concorde in Paris stands Musée de l’Orangerie, an art museum most famous for its exhibition of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies; an impressive series of giant panels full of colours and brushstrokes that depict Monet’s flower garden in Giverny. The masterpiece spans eight panels, each two metres high and a total length of 91 metres. The panels are arranged in two oval rooms that form the infinity symbol and allows natural light to enter through the ceiling; a technique Monet suggested that will immerse visitors in a state of grace. The oval rooms were strategically situated on an east-west orientation to place them along the historical axis of Paris which runs from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre.
The building was first built as a winter shelter for the orange trees in the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1852. The building was built like a greenhouse as the southern façade is made of glass to let the light enter, while the opposite side has almost no windows to block the northern winds. Then, from 1871 to 1922, the building was used to host cultural events like music shows, art exhibitions, banquets and contests. Eventually, Georges Clemenceau, former president of the council for the Fine Arts, suggested installing the Water Lilies panels Monet was painting.
Various masterpieces collected by French architect Jean Walter and French art dealer Paul Guillaume are in the basement level of the museum and include works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Chaim Soutine and Maurice Utrillo.