Petit Palais art museum in Paris

The Petit Palais (Small Palace), like the Grand Palais just across the street, was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Since 1902, the Petit Palais has been the home of the Fine Arts Museum of the City of Paris. The building was thoroughly and elaborately renovated from 2001 to 2005.

In the Petit Palais in Paris

Various art collectors have donated or bequeathed their collections to the museum, so it has numerous and varied works of art on display, from all periods up to the First World War.

Painter’s equipment

As in most of the other city-owned museums in Paris, admission to the permanent collection of the Petit Palais is free. The museum is closed on Mondays but is open on Tuesdays, when most of the big state museums are closed.

Ground floor of the Petit Palais Museum

Gustave Doré (1832-1883), The Valley of Tears

Thanks to lexandneek for pointing out that the sculpture in this photo (in front of the Doré painting) is called “The first funeral” and was made by Louis Ernest Barrias, dated 1883. 

James Tissot (1836-1902), The Return of the Prodigal Child

Other museums owned by the City of Paris include the house of Balzac, the Musée Carnavalet (museum of the history of Paris), the Musée Cognacq-Jay (museum of the eighteenth century), the Musée de la vie romantique, the sculpture museums of Bourdelle and Zadkine and the former apartment of Victor Hugo at Place des Vosges.

Entrance to the Petit Palais on Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris

My photos in this post are from 2012. I revised the text in 2018.

See also: Petit Palais Museum in Avignon.

11 thoughts on “Petit Palais art museum in Paris”

  1. Lovely to see the painter’s equipment and the Gustave Doré sculpture. Wonderful to see something more intimate than the other big museums like the Louvre.

      1. I see the sculpture on their website and it is called “The first funeral” by Louis Ernest Barrias, dated 1883. It does look beautiful in the front of the Doré painting.

  2. We’ve always enjoyed the Petit Palais. There is also a very nice tea room inside on the courtyard. If there are long lines at the entrance, walk past the steps (headed toward the Seine) about 20 feet and there is a ground level door with another entrance and usually no line. This is very nice to know when it’s raining. If you’re in Paris on a budget, the city museums are fantastic on rainy days. Have you visited the Museum of Manuscripts and Letters?

    1. Thanks, Sally. Great to hear from you. Unfortunately I never visited the Museum of Manuscripts and Letters, and probably never will, because it was closed in 2014 as an illegal Ponzi scheme. The last I read about it was that the owner was released on two million Euros bail, suspected of having defrauded more than 18,000 investors.

  3. Hello Don.

    I’ve been to Paris a few times. But never to this museum.

    The last time that I was in Paris I went to l’ Orangerie, which is absolutely fantastic. The Monets there are truly great. I’m sure you’ve been.

    See you —

    Neil S.

    1. Thanks, Neil. Yes, I’ve been to the Orangerie (I’ll post something about it one of these days) and actually I liked the art works in the basement better than the Monets on the main floor. I hope the basement collection wasn’t damaged by the recent flooding.

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