The Petit Palais in Paris

The Petit Palais in Paris
The Petit Palais in Paris

The Petit Palais is actually part of a larger architectural complex, since it is part of what was built in the French capital for theWorld's Fair of 1900. The other part is the Grand Palais, obviously larger, but perhaps because of its stylistic unity, “the little palace” may be more interesting.


The Petit Palais in Paris

Both buildings are located between the Seine River and the Champs-Elysées which a little further on lead to the Arc de Triomphe. That is to say, they are in the most monumental area of ​​Paris and were built to integrate into all that lavish ensemble.

The project fell to the architect Charles Girault, who coordinated both buildings. Although he focused more on the Petit Palais, while at the Grand he delegated parts to three other renowned architects of the time: Albert Thomas, Albert Louvetand Henri Deglane, and although Girault acted as coordinator, the truth is that the Grand Palais is much more eclectic in its forms, although the value of its grandiose steel vault is undeniable and crystal.

On the other hand, it must be understood that Girault delegated this major project to other prestigious architects, and that is because the commission, consisting of the construction of both buildings, had to be completed in just 3 years, from 1897 to 1900. So he focusedespecially in the Petit.

One of the predominant notes is the prominence given to natural light inside the space. Hence the presence of the large windows along its long facades. To which are added the vaults on the sides, and the great central dome. While a large semicircular courtyard also plays a very important role, integrated into the building, in which there is a nod to classical architecture with its Ionic columns and decoration based on garlands.

In fact, at this time in architecture, all the ornamental apparatus was tremendously important. Hence, from the beginning the space was conceived as a waste of decoration where the floor mosaics, conceived by Giandomenico Facchina, stand out. And if we look up, we can see the fresco mural paintings by Alfred Philippe Roll and by Fernand Cormon, who dedicated themselves to illustrating the history and modernity of the French capital.

The truth is that the building is the most pleasant to see. And although it was conceived from the beginning as a museum, that is, a kind of chest for the authentic works of art that today make up the Museum of Fine Arts in Paris, the truth is that with the Over time, although the collection of paintings, engravings or furniture is of great importance, little by little it has been the building itself that has become the masterpiece of the whole complex.

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