Philippe Meyer Collection at Musée d’Orsay

Looking for a few minutes of quiet in one of the city’s most popular museums? At Musée d’Orsay, go to the middle level, walk through the newly renovated grand ballroom, and spend time with the Philippe Meyer collection.

Two high-ceilinged rooms provide an intimate viewing experience; if it weren’t for the view of the Seine, you’d think you were in another part of Paris. So take the mental leap – imagine yourself in the exquisitely appointed, perfectly lit apartment of an art collector. All that is missing are a luxurious sofa and coffee table on the polished parquet floor.

The twenty or so works donated to the museum by French scientist and collector Philippe Meyer include a landscape and still life by Cezanne; a Bonnard nude; paintings by Odile RedonSeurrat and VanGogh.

I was once the only person in these rooms, and I’ve never seen more than a handful of others. We all lingered, knowing that the rest of the museum was jam-packed. The Orsay’s overcrowding should ease once renovations are completed this fall. In the meantime, enjoy this oasis of calm.