A few steps from the Champs-Elysées on avenue Winston Churchill, the Petit Palais has sat opposite the Grand Palais ever since the Exposition Universelle (International Exhibition) in 1900, a world’s fair to celebrate the achievements of the past century. It is now the City of Paris’ Fine Art Museum.
The Petit Palais was built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900. Many other symbolic buildings were erected in Paris for this event, such as its counterpart the Grand Palais across the road, and the Pont Alexandre III, the deck arch bridge just down the street.
Handsomely decorated, the Petit Palais will definitely catch your eye. Charles Girault, the architect, really strove to give it the grandeur and dignity of an official palace.
Marvel at its sophisticated design and rooms within the four main sectors of the building, and also outside in the garden. Sculptures and paintings are located throughout the museum; here are some of the best things to check out at the Petit Palais:
In the entrance hall, notice the beauty of the four decorative Symbolism murals representing la Mystique, la Plastique, la Pensée and la Matière (Mysticism, Formal Beauty, Thought, and Matter).
Another beautifully decorated section of this building is the glass dome above the staircase which leads to the Dutruit gallery. Discover and follow the history of French art through the many portraits of famous French artists displayed alongside their most iconic works here.
There are many more design aspects here to enjoy, the stained-glass windows of the hallway entrance, the 16 busts honouring famous artists above the main galleries, and also the stunning paintings in the North and South pavilions.
Mosaics also feature in this museum! Admire them, paving the floors of the galleries, as well as around the edges of the garden ponds.
From the 20th century, the Petit Palais has both permanent and temporary displays of Fine Art, exhibited in two distinct locations.
On the Champs-Elysées side of the Petit Palais, discover the collections shown off in an impressive space of 5000 m². Visit free of charge and learn all about the important names in French art, including Hector Guimard, Jean-Joseph Carriès, Edouard Vuillard, and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. View the collection of 20,000 pieces of antique art as diverse as Belgian and Dutch work (17th century), books, 3D artwork and also etchings.
Alternatively, admire the unique collection of a temporary exhibition on the Cours de la Reine side, commemorating prestigious artists such as Ruben from Holland, or Goya from Spain.
After visiting, feel free to take a little food break at the indoor garden with its fascinating 1900s atmosphere.
Le Petit Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill