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 Paris Revisited visit the Petit and Grand Palace

Professor Arnie Greenberg

These magnificent buildings faces the Champs Elysees between the metro stops Georges Clemenceau and Franklin D Roosevelt. The buildings is striking with its double stairway entrance and glass domed roof and cupola. Especially elegant is the entrance to the Petit Palace with gold covered doors reminding one of a 18th century chateaux.  Built for the 1900 World’s Fair at the same time as the Alexandre III Bridge, the stone buildings with much Art Nouveau ironwork as well as a, Quad Riga (four horsed chariot) bronze flying horses and chariots, houses special temporary art exhibits. The exhibits are protected by a major police station in the basement of the Grand.. While it might take a while to gain entry because of the crowds, the exhibits are usually worth seeing. Our recent visit to the Petit Palace offered easy access and a wonderful private collection including some of the great masters.

I especially enjoyed the Cezanne, the Renoir and the Modigliani works. Before you enter the Petit Palace, on the corner facing the Seine there is a monumental statue of Sir Winston Churchill commanding the corner. Opposite on the other side of the river is George Clemenceau, a hero of an earlier time.

Both museums are spacious and easy to visit. Their offerings change periodically so check before you go. This is good advice for any museum in Paris.

Petit Palace Entrance - click to enlarge
Petit Palace Entrance 
Rodin The Kiss - click to enlarge
Rodin The Kiss

A wait in line can take up to two hours. Once you are inside, we recommend at least one and a half hours plus lunch and a visit to the souvenir shop.

The Grand Palace is basic and i not the best place for an art tour but groups can walk around on their own with audio guides.

Sir Winston Churchill outside le Petit Palais - click to enlarge
Sir Winston Churchill outside le Petit Palais

I’ve seen exhibits of Matisse, Picasso and Klimt at different times. They are always first class. Its for the art, not the buildings that I go there but you will admire the Petit Palace entrance. It’s one of the most spectacular buildings in Paris.  

There are cloakrooms, modern toilets, a souvenir shop and cafeteria. The building is spacious but still crowded because of the popularity of the collections.

Le Petit Palace is magnificently arranged around a pretty garden, which is a wonderful place to rest for lunch.

The Grand is not very spectacular with light blue wooden walls that show the paintings well. The descriptions are white on light blue and very difficult to read from far.

The façade is gray but impressive. The grounds are not especially pleasing as the entrance is roped off for omni-present lines of people. The setting is nice on the broad boulevard of the Champs Elysees landscaped with splendid trees. There always seems to be work in progress which can deter from its beauty.

Purchase your tickets in advance. Even if you have an appropriated time, you may have to wait outside, especially at the Grand. It can be hot, raining or very cold. Those without tickets line up in a different line and may wait twice as long to enter. Once inside you may be jostled by the crowds or have trouble seeing the exhibits over the crowds. There are many guards around to assist you but limited space to rest.

Cameras with flash are not permitted.

For art lovers in Paris you’ll get your money’s worth .. The problem is the time it takes to see the exhibit with the crowds. The rooms are drab and uninteresting but that’s not why you go. We found viewing difficult at times but the exhibits and descriptions first class. Even with the long waits, the experience is worth it. Minimize your wait by purchasing your tickets in advance. This year we just entered the Petit Palace without tickets. It wasn’t crowded and I must say that of the two buildings, I like the smaller one best.

These artists shown all lived around the turn of the 20th century. There was greatness in all of them but the subject matter did change as some devoted their style from French or Germanic traditions.

Best Time to Go:

For me it’s always crowded even though the exhibits last for four months or longer. First thing in the morning when it opens might be best or at the end of the day but leave ample time to see the exhibits. Wednesday evening may be good for the Grand only.

Open daily at 10 AM. Last entrance is 45 minutes before closing.

Getting There:

The best way is by Metro. It is a short walk from the Champs Elysees stops at Clemenceau or Franklin D Roosevelt.

The Grand is at 3, av. Eisenhower open Thurs.-Mon

The Petit Palace is on Ave Winston Churchill  across the street open Tues.-Sun.

Paris 70008. There are admission charges at each.       

Phone:  01 44 13 17 17 or 01 42 56 42 42 (Petit)


Arnie Greenberg


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You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at


Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to: or contact him directly at

(More about the writer.)


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Last Revised: Friday, May 15, 2015 06:38:58 AM
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