11 May 2015

The clocks of Musée d'Orsay

Amidst all the masterworks of art at the Musée d'Orsay, including Manet, Degas, Monet and the other usual suspects from the time period, the museum's clocks became an interesting subject for me.

The building was a railway station built at end of the 19th century and clocks were crucial in keeping passengers informed about the correct time. During the Revolution, France actually experimented with a metric standard of time, and even a metric clock-face. Surprisingly, neither one caught on. The  24 hour day and the 12 hour clock-face became standards of time-keeping and are featured prominently on the outside of the station.

Somewhat overlooked today, the large clocks at d'Orsay are visible from inside and possibly a novelty for those who walk by or eat in the café on the 5th level. The clock at the other end of the building presents its own unique shadows and silhouettes as well as impressive views looking northeast towards Montmartre.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2015.

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