The Petit Palais is part of a unique monumental setting situated between the Seine and the Champs-Élysées. The Petit Palais, together with the Grand Palais and the Pont Alexandre III, was an architectural masterpiece created by Charles Girault for the 1900 Paris Exposition and later became the City of Paris’ museum of fine arts in 1902.
The collections provide a broad overview of art history, spanning from antiquity through the early decades of the twentieth century. The serenity of the indoor garden provides a brief relief for guests.
We still consider the Petit Palais to be one of the greatest museums in all of Paris. What’s not to adore, after all? It’s a tiny museum that can be seen in a couple of hours; admission is free (though temporary exhibits have a modest cost); there’s a wide variety of art to peruse; the museum store and tea cafe are lovely; and there’s also a tranquil inside garden.
The Petit Palais was constructed for the 1900 Paris World’s Fair and consisted of four wings surrounding a semicircular courtyard with an ornately carved arcade. Although small, it is packed with beautiful features. At the entryway are stained-glass windows, the wrought-iron gate was created by architect Charles Girault, and the floors were designed by Giandomenico Facchina, a renowned Italian mosaic artist. All of this took place over the course of twenty years.
There are eight distinct types of permanent collections housed at the Petit Palais. Let’s look at each one to get an idea of what it’s about and what makes it so special.
Top 8 permanent collections in Petit Palais, France
- Paris 1900
- The 19th Century
- The 18th century
- The 17th century
- The Renaissance
- The middle ages
- The Classical World
The Art Nouveau movement peaked in the early years of the twentieth century (1899-1909). Emile Gallé, Hector Guimard, René Lalique, and Georges Fouquet brought in the new century for the French decorative arts. Pieces of jewelry by Georges Fouquet, vases from Baccarat’s Greek revival line, the full dining room of Metro entrance designer Hector Guimard, and other period ornaments may all be found in this impressive collection.
The 19th Century
Paintings, sculptures, and other works of art from the Restoration to the Third Republic may be seen in these Petit Palais galleries (1814-1870). The lavish lifestyles of medieval aristocrats, including artists, monarchs, and knights, are shown in the Troubadour style. The artists who laid the groundwork for the Romantic era of painting took their inspiration for a special gallery from their travels.
Works by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Jean Carries, and Jules Dalou are also included, including sculptures, terracottas, and plasters. You may see works by artists including Alfred Sisley, Gustave Courbet, and Camille Pissarro, as well as others from the Barbizon school and the Impressionist movement.
The 18th century
The American collector Edward Tuck and his wife Julie gave the majority of their collection to Petit Palais Museum in 1921. Treasures from the 18th century, including paintings, furnishings, tapestries, porcelain, clocks, silverware, and enameled artifacts, are spread out throughout four rooms. Hubert Robert’s landscapes hang beside Jean-Honore Fragonard’s portraits and Jacques-Louis David’s historical scenes.
The 17th century
The Dutuit brothers, Auguste and Eugene, gave the main collection of 17th-century paintings to the young Petit Palais Paris in 1902. The extensive collection consists of antiquities, works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, rare texts, paintings, and prints, and works of Dutch art from the 17th century. The Dutuit family’s generosity has allowed the Petit Palais to amass a collection of Dutch masterworks that is second only to the Louvre in France.
The Renaissance art collection of Petit Palais Museum is organized into two major categories: France and Northern Europe, and Italy and the Islamic world. Exquisite examples of Moorish pottery, Venetian glass, Iznik (Turkish) ceramics, Saint-Porchaire (French) pottery, glazed earthenware, and painted Limoges enamels may be found here. Moreover, there are exquisite European arts and crafts from the Renaissance, such as clocks, watches, and jewelry.
The middle ages
Artworks, paintings, and sculptures from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance may be found in this permanent collection of the Petit Palais Museum. Products such as medieval manuscripts, early printed books, and French ivory and Limoges enamel works. A rare collection of wooden sculptures reflecting the era’s most popular religious settings and holy characters are also on display.
The Classical World
You’ll be able to witness priceless treasures from the ancient Greek and Roman cultures all in one place at this permanent collection of Petit Palais Museum. There are bronzes from the Archaic period of Greece (about 520 BCE), a collection of vases from Etruria, terracottas and jewelry from the Hellenistic period of ancient Greece, and glass and gold works from the Golden Age of Augustus in ancient Rome.
Since Roger Cabal, a rich entrepreneur and art collector, gave the entirety of his icon collection to the Petit Palais in Paris, it has been widely regarded as the country’s premier public collection. Seventy-six icons from the eighth to the nineteenth centuries, including Greek icons from after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Russian religious pictures, and a Pieta from the Cretan-Venetian school. Icons are religious paintings depicting Jesus Christ or other sacred figures that were common in Byzantine churches.
What is the address for Petit Palais Museum? Av. Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France.
What are the opening hours of the Petit Palais Museum? Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Closed on Mondays.