Is it Worth Visiting the Petit Palais (Paris)?

Nestled in the heart of Paris, the Petit Palais is a true architectural gem. This building, with its delicate architecture, is not only a magnificent historical site, but also houses the Paris Museum of Fine Arts. But does it shy in front of its “big brother”, the Grand Palais? Stay with us to find out all about visiting the Petit Palais.

The Petit Palais
Petit Palais (Credits : GIRAUD Patrick, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons 3.0)



Our opinion

We like:

  • The splendor of the building
  • The richness of the collections
  • Fewer visitors than at the Grand Palais

We don’t like as much:

  • The price-quality ratio in the cafeteria

Whether it is for the architecture of the building or for the works it contains, you will definitely be seduced by this museum.

You get it now… we fully recommend you visit the Petit Palais!


A Little Bit of History

Its Origin

the Petit and the Grand Palais for the 1900 Paris Exposition
Credits : Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Built for the 1900 World Fair, also known as the 1900 Paris Exposition or the Universal Exposition of 1900, by Charles Girault, the Petit Palais now houses the Paris Museum of Fine Arts.

The Grand Palais, the Pont Alexandre III and the Petit Palais form a spectacular unit that attracts visitors from all over the world.

The facade of the building, which is almost 150 meters-long, is framed by a monumental porch surmounted by a dome.

It took more than 20 years to complete the painted and sculpted decorations of the Petit Palais.



From the Building…

Ceiling Paint 'l'Apothéose' by Alfred Roll
Apothéose by Alfred Roll (Credits : Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Flickr, under Creative Commons 2.0)

The building itself is a work of art. Its spectacular architecture as well as the richness of its decor make it a truly remarkable place.

For example, the entrance vestibule has 4 panels of Symbolist inspiration painted by Albert Besnard: Mysticism, Formal Beauty, Thought and Matter.

The pavilion paintings by Ferdinand Humbert and the two large galleries are decorated by Cormon and Roll.

Paul Baudoüin redefined the art of frescos in the peristyle of the gardens with a decoration technique forgotten since the Renaissance.

Finally, Maurice Denis’ dome retraces the history of French art with portraits of the greatest artists accompanied by their most famous works.



… To the Collections

The main Gallery of the Petit Palais
Credits : Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Flickr, under Creative Commons 2.0

In 1902, the Petit Palais became the “Palais des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris”.

With 22,000 m² of exhibition space, the Petit Palais houses permanent collections of works from ranging from the Antiquity to the end of the 19th century.

These collections were then greatly enriched by multiple donations.

The 2000s saw the arrival of contemporary photography in the rooms of the Petit Palais.

The Petit Palais also has a graphic arts collection consisting of 18,000 engravings and 9,000 ancient and modern drawings.


Visiting the Petit Palais


Located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris between the Seine river and the Champs-Elysées, the Petit Palais is face to face with the Grand Palais.



  • By metro: lines 1 and 13 (Champs-Elysées Clemenceau stop), line 9 (Franklin-Roosevelt stop)
  • By RER: line C (Invalides stop)
  • By bus: lines 28-42-72-73-80-83-93


Visitors’ entrance: Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris


How much does an entrance ticket cost?

The access to permanent collections is free of charge.

Ticket prices for temporary expositions generally vary between €6 and €13.

It is strongly recommended to buy your ticket online and to reserve a time slot.


What are the opening hours?

The Petit Palais opens its doors from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Evening openings are also available every Friday until 9:00 pm for temporary exhibitions.

Our recommended time slots:

  • In the morning
  • During the week


Practical information

Please note that the access to the Petit Palais is prohibited to those with luggage, including cabin-sized suitcases and large bags.

The building is accessible to all public, including disabled people, thanks to facilities for wheelchair users (good lifts and access ramps) as well as for the visually impaired public (elevators equipped with sound boxes).

The works are also accessible to all audiences thanks to specific mediation devices such as lip-reading visits or activities adapted for people with mental, visual or psychological disabilities.


A Small Glimpse of a Visit to the Petit Palais

Housed in the heart of the Petit Palais, the magnificent works of art collection does not lacki in interest.

Come and discover paintings, sculptures and decorative objects gathered and following a chronological path from Antiquity to the 19th century.

The exhibition rooms await you on street level and upstairs.

Do you want a small glimpse of what awaits you?

Follow the guide through a quick overview of the works.

Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt by Georges Clairin
Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt by Georges Clairin (Credits : Wikimedia Commons, public domain)


The Bacchante by Auguste Clésinger
The Bacchante by Auguste Clésinger (Crédits : Wikimedia Commons, public domain)


For example, with the Portrait Sarah Bernhardt by Georges Clairin or the Recumbent Bacchante by Auguste Clésinger, the beauty of a woman’s body is showcased and highlighted by many artists.

Three Bathers by Paul Cézanne
Three Bathers by Paul Cézanne (Credits : Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

In Bathers, Pouldu Beach by Maurice Denis or also in The Three Bathers by Paul Cézanne, the voluptuous forms can be seen in these women who inspire relaxation and who share a privileged moment with each other far away from men’s gaze.


Virgin and Child with Saint John The Baptist by Sandro Botticelli
Virgin and Child with Saint John The Baptist by Sandro Botticelli (Credits : Paris Musées Collections, public domain)

You will be touched by the softness that  Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting, Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist emanates as well.

Cézanne, Monet, Courbet, Delacroix, Ingres and much more… Come and discover or rediscover the works of your favorite painters.


Not To Be Missed — the Petit Palais’ Garden

Garden of the Petit Palais
Credits : Thesupermat, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons 3.0

As a true haven of peace, the Petit Palais’ garden inspires calm and wonder.

Located within the Petit Palais, its garden has 3 basins paved with mosaics and magnificent columns and is home to many species of trees (palm trees, banana trees, herbs…).

The garden sometimes features contemporary sculptures or events such as during the Nuit Blanche.


Our recommended restaurants near the Petit Palais

The museum has a café-restaurant: the Jardin du Petit Palais. On the first floor, there is a cafeteria and on the second floor, a gastronomic restaurant.

The prices of the gastronomic restaurant are rather high with menus ranging between €30 and €40, the quality of the cafeteria’s products is not worth the prices. If you fancy the setting more than the quality, then you’ll be thrilled but for gourmets, we advise you to go elsewhere.

This is why we will now recommend other restaurants in the area. In order to find affordable restaurants, you will have to cross the Seine and leave the upmarket districts.


Savarin la table

Address: 34, Rue de Bourgogne, 75007 Paris

This restaurant is a terrific address in Paris. The atmosphere is warm and the setting is sober and refined. Moreover, the dishes are exquisite, refined, tasty and the quality is there… What more could you ask for?

The five-course degustation menu for all the guests is €60.

Openings hours:

  • Tuesday to Friday 12:30-15:00 and 19:30-midnight
  • Saturday 19:30 – midnight

For more information about Savarin la table, click here.


Au Petit Tonneau

Address: 20, Rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris

This nice restaurant offers French dishes in a warm and traditional atmosphere. Their fresh and seasonal products will tickle your taste buds. It costs around 30€ per person

Opening hours:

  • Monday 12:00-14:30
  • Tuesday through Sunday 12:00-14:30 and 19:00-22:15

For more information about Au Petit Tonneau, click here.


Au Coin de la Rue

Address: 34, Rue de Bourgogne, 75007 Paris

This restaurant offers quality dishes at affordable prices. You will be welcomed in a pleasant and warm setting.

Try the Fish and Chips, you won’t be disappointed!

Count about €20 per person.

Opening hours:

  • Monday through Friday 7:00-23:00
  • Saturday 9:00-17:00

For more information about Au Coin de la Rue, click here.


To Conclude

The Petit Palais is not only a museum with splendid collections, it is also a majestic place that puts works of art on a magnificent display.

A visit to the Petit Palais is, without a doubt,  be it for the building or for the works, a must!