Palais Galliera Palace in Paris

The Palais Galliera was purposely built to be a museum in Paris, which was constructed in the 1800s in a Renaissance style and was bequeathed to the City of Paris by Duchesse de Galliera.

About Marie Brignole-Sale, Marquise de Ferrari, Duchesse de Galliera

Marie Brignole-Sale was born in Genoa and often travelled with her father on diplomatic missions, and he was held in high regard by King Louis Philippe of France, which meant that Marie was often at the Tuileries Palace in Paris with his children.
Palais Galliera Paris
It was then in 1828 that she married Marquis Raphael de Ferrari who was the developer of railways in Italy and of the Paris-Lyon Mediterranean railway along with being a co-founder of a bank.

And during the reorganisation of Paris through Baron Haussmann, there were several opportunities to purchase land and property, whichMarie and her husband invested in, but they also invested in property in Italy including the Galliera estate, which is where a part of her name comes from, as she became known as the Duchesse Galliera.

The couple had three children who were brought up with the children of King Louis-Philippe, yet after the death of one of their children, Marie grew even closer to Antoine, who was the youngest son of King Louis-Philippe.

But they continued purchasing property in both Italy and France, including the Hotel Matignon in Paris, and at one point were classed as the wealthiest couple in France, yet unfortunately Raphael de Ferrari died in 1876 and their only son refused the family heritage, so Marie, Duchesse de Galliera managed to pass the titles on the Antoine d’Orleans.
And as a widow with an immense fortune, she started to focus on charitable works and set up a hospice, orphanage, etc, but at this time, museums were also popping up all over Europe, and she decided to found her own museum in Paris for her collection within a dedicated palace that would be on land Marie Brignole-Sale, Marquise de Ferrari, Duchesse de Galliera and her husband had previously purchased.

The impressive art collection going back to the 1600s along with furniture, clocks and other items from famous manufacturers such as Sevres and Gobelins were within the collection, but with new laws put in place in France, the Duchesse de Galliera changed her mind as she did not agree with the laws, and bequeathed her collection to the Palazzo Rosso in Genoa, which is where it remains today.

Yet the Palais Galliera was still constructed, and when Marie Brignole-Sale, Marquise de Ferrari, Duchesse de Galliera died, this was still left to the City of Paris, as per the original agreement.

About Palais Galliera Palace

Work started on the Palais Galliera in 1878 on the plot of land previously purchased by Marie Brignole-Sale, Marquise de Ferrari, Duchesse de Galliera and the land itself was named the Square Brignole-Galliera.
Palais Galliera statue
Palais Galliera south west facades
The building itself in a Renaissance style was well advanced when unfortunately Duchesse de Galliera died in the December of 1888, and initially work was halted, however, construction was restarted by the architect Paul-Rene-Leon Ginain and eventually the museum palace was finished on 27th February 1894.

The Palais Galliera was always intended to be a museum and therefore it has the formal main room of the Salon d’Honneur with three galleries, then there is another room with a large gallery that goes to the petit galleries on either side and there is a fifth room called the Petit Salon.

The ironwork including the staircase railings, windows and the gateway were all produced by the Eiffel company at the same place as the most famous landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, was constructed.

The interior decoration includes mosaics, painted ceilings, a monumental mahogany door in the entrance hall, and it is here that you will find a carved niche with a bust of the donor Marie Brignole-Sale, Marquise de Ferrari, Duchesse de Galliera.
Palais Galliera south east facades
But as we have already mentioned, the Palais Galliera never did house the fabulous collection accumulated by Marie, and instead it open up as an Industrial Design museum in 1895.

And by 1954 the museum had been refurbished and was again hosting temporary exhibitions, yet from 1960 this building became home to auctions for period furniture, curios and old masters.

That is, until it became transformed into the Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, and today, having gone through extensive major renovations to bring the building back up to speed, you can now rediscover the Palais Musee Galliera - Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, which is the Fashion museum of Paris with one of the best collections of dress and costume in the world.

Visiting Palais Galliera in Paris

Palais Galliera east facade
Palais Galliera garden
The Palais Galliera is located in the 16th Arrondissement close to many other tourist attractions in Paris and is an unusual palace to discover with its architecture, the statues and its garden, even if it is not open.

However, this historical monument in Paris is open as a museum at certain times during the year when temporary exhibitions are organised to showcase part of the unique fashion collection, with some items being so fragile that they could never be on permanent display.

But because of this, no matter when you visit the Musee Galliera museum, you will always discover a different theme, era or period, as there are hundreds of thousands of items in the collection dating back to the 1700s.