The Musée d’Orsay is not a secret. It is very, very crowded. But, unlike the, ahem Louvre, because the Musée d’Orsay is littler, more reasonably sized and generally less overwhelming the crazy crowds and the feeling that you have an unending, Everest-sized mountain to climb are significantly lessened. So, despite those crowds, it’s a much more pleasant visitor experience.
And then of course, there’s the fact that it’s packed with Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. There are probably few artistic movements or genres that have gotten such a stranglehold on the broader public than Impressionist/Post-Impressionist art. And it’s interesting that while there are certainly masterpieces at the d’Orsay, there isn’t a crazy focal point like at the Louvre, which also makes the crowd-control better. So while it’s suffocatingly full of people, they’re all spread out across the whole, beautiful space. And besides, it’s stuffed full of Manets. Manet pretty much INVENTED modernity in art, so that is a helluva draw (his paintings of Berthe Morisot–who was his sister-in-law and might have been the object of his affections–are some of my favorite in the whole world).
Photos aren’t allowed in the Musée d’Orsay, so I don’t have any of my own of the interior. But it is LOVELY.