The "little" palace has a small, overlooked collection of excellent painting, sculpture, and objets d'art, with works by Monet, Gauguin, and Courbet, among others. Temporary exhibitions, beefed up in recent years (and often free), are particularly good—especially those dedicated to photography. The building, like the Grand Palais across the street, is an architectural marvel of marble, glass, and gilt built for the 1900 World's Fair, with impressive entry doors and huge windows overlooking the river. Search directly above the main galleries for 16 plaster busts set into the wall representing famous artists. Outside, note two eye-catching sculptures: French WWI hero Georges Clemenceau faces the Champs-Élysées, while a resolute Winston Churchill faces the Seine. In warmer weather, head to the garden café with terrace seating.
Sep 1, 2014
The Petit Palais is a gem of late 19th century architecture. Built like its neighbor, the Grand Palais, for the World’s Fair of 1900, it now houses the Museum of Fine Arts of the City of Paris. In addition to the undeniable charm of the building, it is the interior that surprises visitors. Composed of paintings and sculptures from the early 20th century and celebrating the Art and the City of Paris, it took 20 years to complete its decoration.
The entrance hallway is decorated with four panels: Mysticism, Physique, Thought and Matter. In the Great Gallery, the history of Paris is illustrated, from Antiquity to the French Revolution. Another mural tells the story of modern Paris. The decorated ceilings of the pavilions celebrate famous intellectual triumphs and women. The Dutuit Dome traces the history of French art, and is decorated with portraits of artists and their works. You will also notice the beautiful stained glass windows at the entrance rotunda and the large mosaic pavement created by the famous Italian artist Facchina. Finally, the interior garden invites you to take a well-deserved break among the female figures symbolizing the seasons. The museum's collections span from antiquity to the 20th century and have a wide variety of works: paintings, sculptures and objets d’art. The ancient and medieval collections are presented alongside the works of the French and Italian Renaissance, as well as Flemish and Dutch works. The Petit Palais hosts a magnificent collection of French paintings from the 19th century from the greatest artists of the time (Delacroix, Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Courbet).