Petit Palais

Petit Palais, Historic site, exhibition hall in Paris, France.

Petit Palais image

This article is about the museum in Paris, France. For the museum in Avignon, France, see Petit Palais, Avignon. For the former commune in Gironde, France that was merged with the commune of Cornemps, see Petit-Palais-et-Cornemps.Historic site, exhibition hall in Paris, France Petit Palais façade The Petit Palais in 1900. The Petit Palais in 2015

The Petit Palais (French::; English: Small Palace) is an art museum in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France.

Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle ("universal exhibition"), it now houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris). The Petit Palais is located across from the Grand Palais on Avenue Nicolas II, today Avenue Winston-Churchill. The other façades of the building face the Seine and Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

The Petit Palais is one of 14 museums of the City of Paris that have been incorporated since January 1, 2013, in the public corporation Paris Musées. It has been listed since 1975 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Design Competition
    • 1.2 Inspiration
    • 1.3 Plan of the Building
  • 2 Architecture
    • 2.1 Exterior
      • 2.1.1 Main Façade
      • 2.1.2 Pavilions
      • 2.1.3 Decoration
    • 2.2 Interior
      • 2.2.1 Courtyard
      • 2.2.2 Museum
  • 3 Exhibits
  • 4 Reactions and Influence Abroad
  • 5 Gallery
  • 6 See also
  • 7 External links
  • 8 References


Design Competition

In 1894 a competition was held for the 1900 Exhibition area. The Palais de l'Industrie from the 1855 World’s Fair was considered unfitting and was to be replaced by something new for the 1900 Exhibition. Architects had the option to do what they pleased (alter, destroy, or keep) with the Palais de l’Industrie. In the end, Charles Girault won the competition and built the Petit Palais as one of the buildings that replaced the Palais de l’Industrie. The construction of the Petit Palais began on October 10, 1897 and was completed in April 1900. The total cost of the Petit Palais at the time of the construction was 400,000 pounds.


Charles Girault largely draws on the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century French style for the Petit Palais. Additionally his work, such as the domed central porch and the triple arcade, has many references to the stables at Chantilly.

Plan of the Building

View from the Eiffel Tower

Girault’s plan for the Petit Palais had minimal alterations from the design to the execution. The plan was original and fit perfectly in its given location. The Petit Palais is a trapezoid shape with its larger side as the main façade facing the Grand Palais. The building’s shape makes a semi-circular courtyard at the center.


The Beaux-Arts style Petit Palais was designed by Charles Girault, and is around an octi-circular courtyard and garden, similar to the Grand Palais. Its ionic columns, grand porch, and dome echo those of the Invalides across the river. The tympanum depicting the city of Paris surrounded by muses is the work of sculptor Jean Antoine Injalbert.

The Petit Palais was built to be a lasting building that would become a permanent fine arts museum after the exhibition. The materials of the building—stone, steel, and concrete as well as the decoration were to demonstrate that the Petit Palais was built to be enduring.


Main Façade


The main façade of the building faces the Grand Palais. The focal point of the façade is the central entrance: “a central archway set in an archivolt topped by a dome and reached by a broad set of steps”. Two wings flank the main entrance. These wings, continuing to the end (corner) pavilions, are embellished with fr... more

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