Petit Palais Paris

Petit Palais Paris, a design by Charles Girault, was built for the 1900 Paris World Exposition, and today, it houses the Paris Fine Arts Museum.

Petit Palais was completed, in fact, together with the nearby Grand Palais palace and Pont Alexandre III bridge for the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

When it was completed, Petit Palais was intended to be used as a permanent art gallery for paintings and sculptures.

Since 1902, to fulfill this purpose, it has housed the Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, the Paris Fine Arts Museum.

Petit Palais Paris France

PHOTO: Petit Palais’ 150-meter (164 yards) long facade, as seen from Avenue Winston Churchill. Petit Palais has many similarities to Brussels Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, which was also designed by Charles Girault. In turn, Petit Palais has inspired many buildings, such as the 1900 Saigon opera house, designed by Félix Olivier.

Petit Palais entrance Paris France

PHOTO: A highlight on palace facade is the monumental central portico — inspired by the palace of Diocletianus in Split (Croatia) — and palatial dome, crowning the building. There are also many beautiful decorative elements, such as numerous bas-relief sculptures, statues, and Dorian columns.

Petit Palais statue Paris France

PHOTO: To both sides on the main entrance, there are Venetian Renaissance style sculptures. Pictured sculpture is by Louis Convers, “Les Quatre Saisons” (“The Four Seasons”). On the other side of the entrance, the artwork is by Désiré-Maurice Ferrary, “La Seine et ses affluents” (“Seine and its Affluents”).

The Charles Girault designed palace also includes an enclosed inner courtyard, which was used as for creating a calm space to enjoy art within the 1900 World Exposition.

Petit Palais has several similar elements to the Grand Palais (on the opposite side of the street), but there also similarities to the Les Invalides, with the antiquity inspired columns, grand portico, and magnificent dome.

Of buildings outside of France, many have been designed inspired by Petit Palais, including “Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes” in Chile.

Permanent art exhibitions at the Petit Palais are divided into sections, most famous of which include…

  • Medieval and Renaissance paintings, drawings, and objets d’art,
  • 18th century furniture, and
  • collection of French masterpieces, including paintings from Jean Ingres, Eugène Delacroix, and Gustave Courbet.

The museum also has individual paintings from masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Gellée, Fragonard, Hubert Robert, and Greuze.

Petit Palais Paris

Address: Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, France
Official website:

All in all, there is exhibition floor space of around 22,000 m2 (5.4 acres) at the Petit Palais, so it is a good idea to plan your visit here beforehand.

One of the best resources to do so includes the official website, at