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Spotlight On: The Grand Palais and the Petit Palais

The “Great Palace” or Grand Palais, of Paris, France was constructed in 1897 along with its accompanying Petit Palais. This large museum complex was built in only three years in order to be ready for the World Fair of 1900, which showcased innovations in industry, business, and fine arts. Determined to assure that the complex would display the marvelous advancements of Parisian artistry, a group of four men–rather than one individual architect–was hired to design the project with the understanding that the building would reveal on the outside the grand spectacle of French finery, sophistication and innovation that would also be on display within its walls.
After the success of the World Fair of 1900, the Petit Palais, designed by one of the four architects, Charles Girault, and stationed adjacent to the Great Palace, became a museum in 1902. It is now The City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts. The museum’s impressive collection features works from both the medieval and Renaissance periods, including Baroque and 19th-century paintings. Yet in addition to the glorious paintings that hang proudly on its walls, the museum also displays both sculptures and stunning, decorative murals that Girault specifically planned into his design of the Petit Palais.
These buildings, built with the specific purpose to astonish the guests of the World Fair, reflect the French values of fine art and architecture as well as still managing to impress visitors from all over the world. –Nicole Ellul
Petit Palais, City of Paris Fine Art Museum
Avenue Winston Churchill
75008 Paris
+33 (0)1 53 43 40 00

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