Mon Petit Palais Isn’t Very Petit

Le Petit Palais, Saturday, May 17th, 2008, Close to Midnight

Mon Petit Palais Isn’t Very Petit

Parler Paris…
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Monday, May 19, 2008
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

It was “La Nuit des Musées.” The weather held out for a glorious evening at nine-plus city museums that opened their doors to the public until midnight Saturday.

Art galleries and other museums took advantage of the event creating a festive atmosphere all over the city, not unlike “La Nuit Blanche” or “Fête de la Musique.” We chose (I believe, wisely), to visit the largest museums of the listing to avoid any long lines or crowded spaces. Funnily enough, the largest equates to “Le Petit Palais.”

The “Grand Palais” had also opened its doors, to both the current exhibition, “Figuration Narrative” on until July 13th, and its main exhibition
space under the glass domed roof. It is here we chose to enter, easily and quickly, the security guards opening purses, but without much reserve.

Yes, the Grand Palais is larger than the Petit Palais. (Duh!) Built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900 at the same time as the Petit Palais and the Pont Alexandre III, it “combines an imposing classical façade with a ‘riot’ of Art Nouveau ironwork” ( After 12 years of renovation, precipitated by a glass panel having fallen from its roof in 1993, the doors reopened in September of 2005. Those privy to ‘secret Paris’ know that a major police station exists in its basement.

At night the ceiling is stunning. During the day, it is even more impressive. Currently there is an exhibition of sculptor Richard Serra’s “Promenade,” a “multiple piece installation that creates a landscape of steel” made up of five steel pieces measuring 14 meters by 4 meters, with a thickness of 13 centimeters, on until June 15th. (I found this article online that well describes and illustrates it.)

Le Petit Palais is far from “petit.” Just across the street from the Grand Palais, it now houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris (City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts). “Arranged around a semi-circular courtyard and garden, the palace is similar to the nearby Grand Palais. Its ionic columns, grand porch and dome echo those of the Invalides across the river” (

The elaborately painted domed ceiling is cleverly enhanced by a series of mirrors angled so that one can view them by looking down, rather than up. Visitors were plentiful, but not so overwhelming as to be too crowded for pleasure.

As with all public events such as this, we noticed how orderly and well behaved the French are — quiet and respectful in the museums, just as always, in spite of the festive occasion. And we noticed how many take advantage of this opportunity to see art, visit their monuments, make a social evening of it.

Why would a city go to such trouble and expense to open its museum doors to a vast public?

Because it’s Paris, that’s why.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. For those of you interested in Fractional Ownership, Steve Navaro of Paris Home Shares is extending his offer to Parler Paris and French Property Insider readers to pay for the first year of annual dues to any purchases of a share in Chez La Tour! Visit /frenchproperty/fractional/chezlatour.html for more information or email Steve Navaro by clicking on this link: [email protected]

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Visit /frenchproperty/consultation or email [email protected]

This Week in French Property Insider…

Jardin Saint PaulAs Seen in the New York Times!
In Paris, Owning an Eleventh of an Apartment
By Linda Hervieux for The New York Times
May 14, 2008
Photo by Richard L. Harbus

When Steve Navaro throws open the thick silk drapes framing the large windows in his Paris pied-à-terre, he enjoys a rare luxury in this tightly packed city: a lush garden…Subscribers Read On…

Learn how to buy property in France!

French Property Insider is a weekly e-zine, sharing insights, recommendations, tips, and discoveries about Paris real estate and French property. Each information-packed issue is devoted to educating its readers on how to effectively, efficiently and profitably purchase property in France.

>For more information visit /frenchproperty/insider or email [email protected]

Adrian Leeds, of Parler Paris and French Property Insider and John Howell, The International Law Partnership, Present the…

Living and Investing
in France Real Estate Conference

Upcoming Conferences in 2008:

Date: June 22, 2008
Location: International Law Partnership Offices, Holborn Hall, 193-197 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BD
Times: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with buffet lunch
Limit: 25 attendees
Registration Fee: £147 1st person, £97 2nd person

To learn more and reserve your place, click here: /frenchproperty/conference/LIF_London_June_2008/index.html

San Francisco
Date: July 26-27, 2008
Location: San Francisco, Alliance Francaise, 1345 Bush Street, San Francisco, California 94109
Times: To Be Announced
Limit: 80
Registration Fee: To Be Announced
For more information, email [email protected]

Date: October 11-12, 2008
Location: Paris Chez Jenny
Times: To Be Announced
Limit: 100
Registration Fee: To Be Announced
For more information, email [email protected]

We wanted better guides. So we wrote them.

Insider Paris Guides are written for people who love the City of Light. You’ll get a Paris insider perspective on Good Value Restaurants… Making a Life… Black Culture… Expat Writers…plus the newest guide, Practical Paris!


Email: [email protected]

Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the “seal of approval” from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds.


La Bonne Nobel
Rue Nobel – one of Montmartre’s Most Charming Streets
Two-Bedroom (One-Bedroom + Bedroom/Office), Sleeps 4

Rue Nobel is one of Montmartre’s most charming staircases — the romantic Montmartre we now know as depicted in the popular movie “Amélie Poulain.”

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Reserve now! Visit /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/nobel.html
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Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris…

The next gathering is June 10, 2008 and every second Tuesday of the month.

Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like!

Parler Parlor meets Tuesdays 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

23, boulevard de Sébastopol (at the corner of rue de la Reynie), 1st arr

3rd Floor on the Left (read notice on door to obtain entry code)
Métro Châtelet, Les Halles

Wednesdays 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
14 rue Mabillon, 6th arrondissement
(at rue Guisarde and Le Marché Saint-Germain) 1st Floor
Métro Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mabillon, Odéon

For further details, visit

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