Saturday, February 11, 2006

The PETIT PALAIS has reopened and, boy, is it GRAND! After four years of renovation, the Petit Palais, originally built for the Universal Exposition of 1900, has reopened its golden-gated doors, shed its window coverings and welcomed the public.

The ornately sculpted stucco interior, with its elaborate garlands, leaves and scrolls has a wedding-cake feel, enhanced by delicately curving wrought-iron railings gracing doors and circular staircases. Broad expanses of intricate mosaic tiled floors conjure up images of magnificent, turn-of-the-century ball
gowns sweeping past the huge floor-to-ceiling windows to the strains of a waltz.
And the art collection was beyond our expectations! Like so many of the museums, it really requires several visits to see its extensive range of well displayed antiquities, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, furniture…. The current temporary exhibit, “Demoiselles on the Banks of the Seine”, features paintings about women selected from the Palais’ permanent collection and is augmented by oversized drawings and curatorial notes by British illustrator Quentin Blake, which appear, with childlike whimsy, on the walls.

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