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Baccarat - The Legend of Crystal table

Baccarat - The Legend of Crystal

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Why you will love it?

In 1764 King Louis XV approved the opening of a glassworks shop in Baccarat, a village in Lorraine. 250 years later, the Petit Palais is exhibiting a few of the Baccarat's most beautiful pieces, varying in style from royal dishware to audacious art deco creations such as the giant chandeliers and candelabra. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris
Line 1/13 - Champs Elysées Clémenceau

Sunday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm
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Monday : Closed Tuesday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 20:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 18:00 pm
25 December 1 January

Our Insiders' Article


In 1764 King Louis XV approved the opening of a glassworks shop in Baccarat, a small village in Lorraine, surrounded by thick forests that provided the wood necessary to heat the glass. A few years after its opening, the shop transitioned to crystal manufacturing and from that point forward created some of the most stunning crystal pieces in the world, becoming a favorite among royalty from all four corners of the globe. Today the Petit Palais honors Baccarat’s art of crystal-making with its exhibit of about 400 pieces.

Parisianist Scientific Section: Crystal is a type of glass rich in lead. It is a man-made amorphous solid, not to be confused with naturally-forming crystals that can be found in snow, sugar, salt, and precious stones. 


Outside the exhibit's entrance, in the southern wing of the Petit Palais, you will find an astoundingly large chandelier that will lure you right in. Once inside, the Petit Palais' large space is ingeniously divided into smaller sections with several circular, metallic curtains. These semi-transparent veils allow the visitor to uncover the mysterious beauty of each piece little by little. The Petit Palais, originally built for the World Expo in 1900, puts the spotlight on Baccarat pieces that appeared at the World Expos of 1855, 1867 and 1878 and the International Expos of 1909, 1925, and 1937. Throughout the exhibit tactfully-placed sketches transform before your eyes into the finished pieces right next to them

World Expo

A vase engraved with “Négus” opens the exhibit, introducing the visitor to Baccarat's beauty right off the bat. After reading some useful information on Baccarat's start at the end of the 1700's and on the crystal manufacturing process, the exhibition's first section walks you through 3 important World Expos for the manufacture one at a time. Among the pieces displayed at the World Expos and now at the Petit Palais are some of Baccarat's most important creations, including the tableware for the French royal family (exhibited at the Industrial Products Expositions between 1823 and 1849) as well as magnificent chandeliers and giant candelabra. The objects on display are a testament to Baccarat's interest in various styles from Japan, Russia, the Middle East, and India.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The Mercury Temple is one of Baccarat's largest achievements. However, it could not be part of the exhibit because of it is currently kept in a private garden in Spain. Touch screens nevertheless let you look at the Mercury Temple from any angle and at sun rise and sun set.

Art de la Table

Towards the middle of the exhibit, in an atmosphere of ostentation and splendor, you will find Franklin Roosevelt's Baccarat dishware sitting beside that of the Princess of Thailand. Visitors are invited to transcend continents and centuries, and pull up a chair at the table alongside historical world figures who dined à la Baccarat.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The Boat in Crystal and Gold is displayed near a window that has a view of the Petit Palais' interior courtyard. This was done in order to create a parallel between the golden character on the bow of the ship and the large golden figure that sits atop the roof of the museum and is visible from that window.

International Expos

The second half of the exhibit is dedicated to pieces from the International Fair of 1909 (Nancy), 1925 (Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts, Paris) and 1937 (Technical and Applied Modern Arts, Paris). A small section here focuses on the collaboration between Baccarat and Dior on perfume bottles, as well as the influence of Art Deco at the dawn of the 20th century. At this period, one emblematic figure in manufacturing, Georges Chevalier, brought new life to Baccarat by creating, for example, a new line of jewelry among other daring innovations, influenced by the Art Deco mouvement.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The large chandelier in crystal beads designed by Georges Chevalier and exhibited at the Petit Palais is in fact only a miniature version. The original chandelier made for the 1925 exhibition in front of the Invalides was even larger and can be seen projected on the wall beside the small version. 

Gallery of Chandeliers

The penultimate room, a gallery of chandeliers, is plunged in half-darkness. One after another, the chandeliers light up and reveal their unique splendor, catching light in their crystal teardrops. This artful spectacle is enhanced by enchanting music, drawing you into a hazy dream world. The final room concludes the exhibit with sketches and preparatory designs pulled from Baccarat's archives. 


Baccarat – The Legend of Crystal is an exhibit executed with intelligence and grace, capturing the allure and ostentation of Baccarat's most beautiful works. The Petit Palais, a real architectural gem, is a fantastic location to celebrate such a historic anniversary. The exhibit was not only made for fans of glasswork and the art of the dining set. The smart layout and the pieces themselves, some of which will stun with their size and their detail, make the exhibit attractive to everyone. Since the exhibit is not too long, take advantage of being at the Petit Palais to check out the permanent collection as well as the De Ingres à Polke exhibit showcasing 7 masterpieces from the Fine Arts Museum of Nantes.

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