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14 September 2015 / leggypeggy

Petit Palais well worth a visit

Petit Palais, exhibition hall

Plenty of room and smaller crowds

Petit Palais

Petit Palais exterior and entrance

After whingeing (fussing) about the Louvre in my last post, I figured I should showcase one of the museums we really enjoyed—the Petit Palais.

Built in 1900, along with the nearby Grand Palais, for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, the Petit Palais became a museum in 1902.

Designed by architect Charles Girault, the palace isn’t all that petite. In fact it was designed to have spacious exhibition spaces, so has large gardens, two levels, high ceilings and wide corridors and hallways, which means it can accommodate plenty of visitors. The exterior and entrance are imposing too.

Some famous sculptors of the time, such as Convers, Desvergens, Fagel, Ferrary, Hugues, Injalbert, and Peynot, worked on the building’s exterior decoration.

While the Petit Palais displays works from many periods, I was particularly interested in the pieces that were created in the last half of the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s.

Vitrine from 1867, Petit Palais

Vitrine from 1867

I loved seeing the vitrine created in 1867 created by four artists, whose names probably won’t mean anything to you (let me know if I should list them). I remember the frequent references to vitrines in the book The hare with amber eyes, so it was great to see such a beautiful one on display.

There’s an intriguing sculpture of Woman with a monkey, done by Camille Alaphilippe in 1908, and a wonderful portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, done by George Clairin in 1876. Bernhardt rose to fame on the French stage in the 1870s and was often referred to as ‘the most famous actress the world has ever known’. She must have been a great drama queen because I remember my mother cautioning us kids not to behave like Sarah Bernhardt.

Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt

Woman with a monkey

Woman with a monkey

I read about Bernhardt before writing this piece and was surprised to learn that she lost a leg to gangrene in 1915, resulting from a stage injury in 1905 that never healed. She despised using an artificial leg and often appeared on stage without one. Not sure how she managed to get around?

But I’ve digressed. The Petit Palais is well worth a visit. It’s not overcrowded, it’s well-lit and it has lovely pieces to see. Another big bonus—admission to the main exhibitions is free.

And if you’re wondering why I took a picture of a simple portrait of a baby with a dog (see below), it’s because most early European painters managed to make babies (especially Baby Jesus) look like little Al Capones minus the cigar. This one actually looks like a baby. Probably because the artist was the child’s father, so he knew what the kid looked like.

The other two works below are: Grimaces and wretchedness, The entertainers, by Fernand Pelez, 1888, and The bread carrier, by Jules Félix Coutan, 1882.

Speaking of bread, this is a nice recipe from my cooking blog—buttermilk bread loaf.


Leave a Comment
  1. Ralph / Sep 14 2015 7:45 am

    Looks fantastic and my family tell me they have not been there even after numerous trips to Paris so its on our list. By the way your last photo of Horace, the dog looks like a prototype Border Collie if I’m not mistaken…



    • leggypeggy / Sep 14 2015 4:19 pm

      Ralph, I think you’re right about the dog breed. And I must say, I liked the portrait of the dog as much as the portrait of Horace. I wonder if the dog’s name was Ralph? Could have been!


  2. Vicki / Sep 14 2015 9:36 am

    I’ve never seen this Museum before which is a shame as I like all the pieces you’ve shared with us. The woman with a monkey is just so unusual a subject too.
    Thanks for sharing, Peggy.


    • leggypeggy / Sep 14 2015 4:22 pm

      You are most welcome. The woman with the monkey is an unusual subject and made out of unusual materials too. I can’t now remember what, but I think there’s a catalogue of items on their website.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. priyankamoraes / Sep 14 2015 4:21 pm

    Wonderful and grand ! A lovely read . Thank you for the lovely shots and the information you shared. It was a nice vicarious tour for me !


  4. Curious to the Max / Sep 15 2015 9:49 am

    I wonder who posed for the monkey. . . ?

    I too remember my mother saying I behaved like Sarah Bernhardt. Never knew about the leg – very interesting tidbit.


    • leggypeggy / Sep 15 2015 3:56 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers a mother likening her to Sarah Bernhardt. She was a great actress, so I’ve decided to take it as a compliment. That said, I probably acted more like the monkey.


  5. Galavanting Gran / Sep 16 2015 8:56 am

    Ah I have not been so will add to my list. Interested in the painting of the small child who looks like a child. I visited the Queens Gallery in London recently and there was a painting of Queen Victoria, Albert and their daughting Victoria, about 3 years old. Albert had returned from hunting and was showing off his kills. There is young Victoria examining a dead bird in the same way as any 3 year old of my acquaintance.


  6. The Sock Mistress / Sep 17 2015 10:27 am

    Loved the woman with monkey – thats so quirky!


    • leggypeggy / Sep 17 2015 4:09 pm

      Yep, a dog or cat would be more expected. I wonder who she was and if she really had a monkey.


  7. starrywazzoh / Sep 18 2015 12:08 pm

    I’m enjoying your trip, leggypeggy. Keep the reports coming.


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