Grand Palais Paris is a massive palace, build for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle, today functioning as one of the main exhibition spaces in the city.
Grand Palais was completed at the same time (1900) with the Petit Palais (on opposite side of the street), and Pont Alexandre III…all to celebrate the world’s fair in Paris.
The palace was designed by a team of four high-profile architects:
- Henri Deglane, Albert-Félix-Théophile Thomas, Albert Louvet, and Charles Girault.
PHOTO: A panorama view to the Grand Palais facade from Avenue Winston Churchill (there a Winston Churchill statue by Jean Cardot closer to the Pont Alexandre III).
PHOTO: A closeup of Grand Palais entrance portal, from the opposite side of the street, from in front of Petit Palais (which houses the wonderful Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris art museum). The wheel in the picture is part of a “Jours de fêtes” event.
PHOTO: On top of the entrance to the palace, you can see two big monumental statues…the pictured “L’Art et la nature” by Paul Gasq and, on the right side, “L’Inspiration” by Alfred Boucher. “L’Art et la nature” depicts a young woman, appearing out of an unworked stone, as an allegory to the creation of art.
PHOTO: On the northern and southern ends of the palace there are two massive bronze quadriga monuments by Georges Récipon…of which pictured is “L’Harmonie triomphant de la discorde” (“Victory of Harmony over Discord”). The other one, on the Champs-Élysees end of the palace, is titled “L’Immortalité devançant le Temps” (“Immortality in Front of Time”).
PHOTO: The palace was taken into use with very impressive celebrations (which were, in fact, typical for the French Third Republic) on 1st of October, 1900. In attendance at the time were Émile Loubet (French President), Pierre Waldeck-Rousseau (Prime Minister), Georges Leygues (Minister of Education), Alexandre Millerand (Commerce Minister), and Alfred Picard (the Head Commissar for the World Expo 1900). The pictured memorial placate (within the palace facade) is dedicated to these opening ceremonies.
The building’s architecture style is Beaux-Arts. In addition to the classical facade, you can see Art Nouveau shapes on the palace’s steel and glass structures…
…making it possible to use natural lighting to illuminate the exhibition spaces inside.
In terms of size, the palace lives up to its name:
- a total floor space of 77 000 m2,
- total height (in the exhibition floor) of 60 meters, and
- even the French flag on the roof is enormous, at 24 m2.
Galeries nationales du Grand Palais section of the palace has regular, temporary exhibitions throughout the year, which are visited by around 1.5 million people annually.
You can also visit the Palais de la Découverte (www.palais-decouverte.fr) science museum, located on the western wing.
To plan your visit here, you can consult the Grand Palais Paris official website at www.grandpalais.fr, from where you’ll find a calendar of events, a map of the palace, and background information regarding the construction of the building.