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Petit is a relative term

July 1, 2009

A few days ago we went to the Petit Palais to see an exhibit about William Blake. It’s a beautiful exhibition if you enjoy engravings and poetry. But as we walked to the exhibit I was amazed at the sheer size of supposedly “petit” palais — until Hadrien explained that it was petit compared to its neighbor the Grand Palais (literally “Big Palace”). It still bothered me, though that the French had the audacity to call this palace little, as though it were the size of a house or a cottage. I’ve thus decided to christen it the “Comparatively small palace in relation to the larger palace across the street.” I’m sure it will catch on.

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