The Petit Palais is one of the most remarkable and popular attractions in Paris. Situated in the eighth Arrondissement that contains the famed Champs Elysees and the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais stands unique with its blend of both traditional and modern architecture. Now a renowned fine arts museum in Paris, this famed attraction has a rich history and construction.
Below are some interesting facts about the Petit Palais that will surely delight any traveler and art lover.
The origins of the Petit Palais are traced back to the Universal Exhibition of 1889 that was a huge success. After that, France decided to highlight its artistic supremacy by constructing the Petit Palais for temporarily hosting the Universal Exhibition to be held in 1900. Yet the construction of this iconic monument took almost three years to finish, and in 1902, the monument was converted to host permanently many of the art collections.
Chief architect Charles-Louis Girault designed the fine blend of conventional and modern architecture found in the Petit Palais. There are numerous styles borrowed from different sources that contribute to the eclectic style of the building. The building is constructed around a semi-circular inner courtyard and garden with a grand façade decorated with numerous columns and sculptures.
The Petit Palais hosts a permanent collection of diverse artworks from the ancient periods to that of 1920. Apart from the Louvre, the Petit Palais is one of the best places to get an overall picture of the thriving art history before the 20th century. One of the famous paintings from the 19th century of a Parisian food market remains a major attraction among the visitors. Besides paintings, the building also contains numerous medieval manuscripts and ancient Greek pottery.
Albert Besnard was commissioned to paint the four major decorative murals that line at the entrance lobby of this museum. The murals decorate the walls of the two galleries and took approximately five years to complete. The murals tell the story of the Parisian history from the Battle of Lutetia to the French Revolution and the modern history of Paris.
The staircases are another significant highlight of Petit Palais. They remain one of the finest work ever attempted on wrought iron and was designed by Charles Girault. The curves are well carried and the designs of the banister are stunning.