The Grand and Petit Palais at Paris

The two wonderful building facing each other off the great ave des Champs-Elysées and going over avenue Winston Churchill over to the bridge Pont Alexandre III;just magical.

My most nostalgic one is the Petit Palais built for the Universal Expo of 1900, and today use as a fine arts museum or Musée des Beaux-Arts of the city of Paris.  Its smaller than its neighbor and closer to the place de la concorde side.  The metro station Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau on lines 1 and 13 get you here. the palais is built around a semi circular jardin or garden (very nice for cafe or tea time), and it houses a collection of fine arts from antiquity to the 19C. You can see paintings of the great masters from Holland and Flanders, France, and Italy. Also, sculpture from amongst others Rodin as well as graphic arts by such as Rembrandt, Fragonard, Van Dyck, etc.

I enjoy a lot the cafe in the garden , “Le Jardin du Petit Palais” even if there is no expo going on, is lovely. The permanent collection is free admission.  There is an auditorium for on site presentation such as now the Fashion Week event, and many activities and shops for adults and children. For all the current info the official webpage is here http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/fr ; you can turn to English above right.

Then, you have the Grand Palais,as its names implies it is much bigger, about 73k sq meters !  It was ,also built as a Beaux Arts museum for the Universal expo of 1900 in the place of an older palais built in 1855 Palais de l’Industrie.  It is the last big architectural renovation done in Paris up to this day, and on which many architects took part in its construction including the team from the Petit Palais. The front facade is 240 meters long ( 792 ft), and the pendulum in the dome weights about 8500 tons of glass, metal and steel with an equivalent weight on its pillars or footing of 6000 tons almost the same as the Tour Eiffel!

It has many salons or rooms designed for different activities and over the years serve as venue for many manifestation of arts, agriculture, industrial, and commercial endeavors such as the previous site of the Salon de l’Automobile up to 1961. It,also, serve for many offices and department of the French and Paris government as a HQ, and ,also during 1944 the Germans kept tanks and other equipment hidden inside.  It even has since 2009 beehives in its roofs providing honey to the city of Paris!!!

You have many entrances depending on the function, as well as times of opening and admissions so better to check the official webpage for current information. In addition in the building lies the Galerie Nationales du Grand Palais where you will see  artists monographies, the great artistics trends of today and past, restrospectives of fine arts,  actors projects and an opening toward the 20C, including all the plastic arts in all the civilizations. You entered it alone by the square Jean Perrin or rue Clemenceau .The official webpage for it is at http://www.rmn.fr/Galeries-nationales-du-Grand . Also, there is the Le Palais de la Découverte (my kids went to see it recently with their school), it came about while the international expo of 1937 was taken place under the  « Arts and techniques in the modern life » in the previous building in the west wing call the Palais d’Antin, tried to reveal to the public then the science as it is made, so much the success that the French government decided to make permanent  in 1938, so a new museum was born.  You entered it alone by the  Ave Franklin D Roosevelt .The official webpage for it is at http://www.palais-decouverte.fr/index.php

You can,also, have lunch or dinner here at its restaurant but its a bit too upper for my tastes, you entered the resto by avenue Winston-Churchill, pont Alexandre-III, the resto call the Mini Palais with great views over the pont Alexandre III, the webpage is here http://www.minipalais.com/

The official webpage of the whole complex of the Grand Palais is at http://www.grandpalais.fr/fr/Accueil/p-93-Accueil.htm , it can be turn into English above right of the screen.

Hope you enjoy the palais, they are unique and gives a different dimension to the shopping ave des Champs-Elysées. Cheers.

 

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