The Grand and Petit Palais

Designed as part of the Universal Exhibition of 1900, these two neighbouring monuments, at the heart of the 8th arrondissement of Paris, bear witness to the prosperity of the period with their majestic architecture near the Hôtel Brighton.

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The Grand and the Petit Palais form an architectural whole, originally designed to house temporary large-scale exhibitions. The structure of the monuments with the large glass roof, the nave and the national galleries for the first, the entrance gate, The painted ceilings and stained-glass windows for the second, masterpieces in their own right.

The Grand Palais, a major artistic venue 

Following the success of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, France had to show it could do even better for the next universal exhibition in 1900, marking the beginning of a new century. A competition was held to build the "great palace", the capital's new fine arts palaceFour architects: Deglane, Louvet, Thomas and Girault, were chosen to work on the project.

It represented a dual technical and architectural feat. First, it shows a surprising blend of styles from classicism to Art Nouveau, and second, a great variety of materials, ranging from steel (over 8 000 tons of steel were used, more than for the Eiffel Tower), to glass and stone. With its spectacular glass roof, the biggest in Europe, the Grand Palais has been listed since the year 2000 as an Historic Monument and since 1937 has housed a science museum, the Palais de la Découverte, in the west of the building.

Very soon the palace went beyond its original mission as a fine art museum to house exhibitions, fairs and competitions aimed at making new inventions known to the public. These events were such a success that the available space proved to be too small to welcome all the visitors. In the early 1960s the fairs were moved to the Cnit in the Défense or to the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles. Today the Grand Palais still welcomes a wide range of events beneath its roof, as well as four exhibitions a year in the national galleries.

The Petit Palais, the Parisian fine art museum 

Built, like the Grand Palais, for the universal exhibition in 1900, to house temporary exhibitions, the small palace became the fine arts museum of the city of Paris in 1902, and houses remarkable art collections dating until the early 20th century. Here visitors can admire major works by such great painters as Monet, Renoir, Rubens or Cézanne, and at the Hôtel Brighton we warmly recommend a visit.

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