Paris Art and Architecture: the Petit Palais


A week from now, my hubby and I will be on a plane for Paris. Although I’ll do some research, it will mostly be a vacation—a leisurely week spent visiting people we love and places that nourish us.

One of our first stops will be the Petit Palais. If you love Paris art and architecture, and haven’t visited, make a note now. This luscious building, created for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, became a museum in 1902. Its architecture and holdings represent the peak of Parisian craftsmanship at the turn of the 20th century.

Some of my favorite details: the gilded entrance gate, designed by architect Charles Girault; the grand gallery, with its floor to ceiling windows; the decorative murals by Albert Besnard, and ceilings by Ferdinand Humbert. I love the winter garden, any time of year.

The permanent collection has both depth and breadth, with works spanning the antiquities, the Renaissance, and the Nabis. My favorite, Camille Alaphilippe’s statue of A Woman with a Monkey (pictured above), is just inside the museum entrance.

Do you know this museum? What do you like most about it?

Cézanne et Paris at Musée du Luxembourg

There are so many block-buster (read overcrowded) art expos in Paris that it’s a treat to see a small show in a small museum. Organized in collaboration with the Petit Palais, and drawing on private collections from around the world, Cézanne et Paris at Musée du Luxembourg is a gem.

Eighty major works are organized thematically, to give an idea of Cezanne’s life in Paris. Dimly lit rooms are dedicated to his friends (among them Zola), compact urban scenes, still lives, and the countryside around Paris, where his new language for rendering landscape began to take shape.

One painting, Les Toits de Paris, has never been shown in public before; another, La Pendule noire, was only shown once, in 1939. The Musée du Luxembourg has its own interesting history. As you climb the steps to the museum, take a minute to look at the superbe bronze doors at the entrance.

Until Feb 26.