Orsay (pronounced [ɔʁ.sɛ]) is a commune in the Essonne department in Île-de-France in northern France. It is located in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France, 20.7 km (12.9 mi) from the centre of Paris.

Town hall

Coat of arms
Location (in red) within Paris inner and outer suburbs
Location of Orsay
Location (in red) within Paris inner and outer suburbs
Orsay (Île-de-France (region))
Coordinates: 48°41′57″N 2°11′15″E
IntercommunalityCA Paris-Saclay
  Mayor (20142020) David Ros
7.97 km2 (3.08 sq mi)
  Density2,100/km2 (5,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
91471 /91400
Elevation51–160 m (167–525 ft)
(avg. 90 m or 300 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Inhabitants of Orsay are known as Orcéens.


There has been a village called Orsay on this site since 999, and the first church there was built in 1157. From the sixteenth century, the town and surrounding area were owned by the Boucher family, and it was in honour of this family that Louis XIV gave the quai d'Orsay its name. This is the reason that the Musée d'Orsay is not in Orsay. In the eighteenth century, the family of Grimod du Fort bought the land and received the title of comte d'Orsay. In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian war, Orsay was occupied by the Prussian army. 88 young "Orcéens" were killed in the First World War.

In 1957, largely due to the influence of Frédéric and Irène Joliot-Curie, the Institut de physique nucléaire (nuclear physics institute) was opened in the Chevreuse valley, and the region, especially Orsay, became an important scientific centre. Another development was the creation of the Université de Paris-Sud, whose most important faculty is the faculty of science.

On 19 February 1977, a part of the territory of Orsay was detached and merged with a part of the territory of Bures-sur-Yvette to create the commune of Les Ulis.


Orsay is served by two stations on Paris RER line B: Le Guichet and Orsay-Ville.

Neighborhoods of Orsay

  • Le Guichet
  • Mondétour
  • Le Petit Madagascar
  • Corbeville

Nearby towns

Places of worship

Orsay has one Catholic church: Saint-Martin Saint-Laurent, opposite the town hall.

Civil heritage

Forested areas


  • la Grande Bouvêche
  • la Pacaterie
  • le Temple de la Gloire
  • le château de Corbeville

Notable residents


  1. "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
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