"Infotainment? What the hell are you talking about?"

Grand Palais - Big Blonde and Beautiful!

Grand Palais
Henri Deglane, Louis Albert Louvet, Charles Louis Girault, and Albert Théophile Félix Thomas
After being closed for 12 years for extensive restoration work after one of the glass ceiling panels fell in 1993, the Grand Palais reopened in September 2005. But the restoration work is still going on, since the buildings facade only had been restored to its beauty on the front elevation. The sides are still getting work done, and the building*s "butt", which is also an exhibition palace called Palais de la Découverte, is getting a long needed restoration and its facades are currently covered in an extensive scaffolding.

The Grand Palais is currently the largest existing ironwork and glass structure in the world, a title once held by London’s Crystal Palace, which was lost in a fire.
It boasts 9,400 tons of steel framework, 15,000 sq. meter (162,000 sq ft) of glass, and about 5,000 square meter (5,400 sq ft) of galvanized iron/zinc roofing.

Originally intended to host art exhibitions (Salons) - all the rage in the early 20th century - it also welcomed, in 1901, the first Automobile Show (an industrial sector in which France was then a pioneer) and has since served as the venue for more technological events, such as the first Aeronautics Salon (featuring hot-air balloons), the Childhood Fair, and the Household Arts Show, as well as agricultural shows, circuses, horse shows, operas and even a ski run.

Main entrance
note the restored mosaics above the monumental doors, also recently renovated

The mosaic frieses on the building were completed repaired and restored, with the 1200 different colours in the designs carefully matched. Once again, the previous ages of culture and arts are clearly pictured - from Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, to the Renaissance.

This is the Seine side, which is still awaiting its restoration

The South pavillion of the Palais de la Découverte, desperately in need also. Check the bad condition the stone is in on the close-ups further down
One can imagine in what bad shape the whole building was in, considering the facts that throughout WWI, the Grand Palais sheltered colonial troupes heading to the front and later served as a hospital. Bombarded during WWII, the structure served as a truck depot, and was partially burned down in 1944 during the combat to liberate Paris.

South part of the frontal facade of the Palais de la Découverte already refreshed; shining in the winter sun
Note the brightly colored sculpted friese

Main entrance to the Palais de la Découverte, which became a science museum

Entrance door to one of the grand art exhibition spaces

Check out this page for pictures of the 1907 Automobile fair!

Labels: ,

1 Responses to “Grand Palais - Big Blonde and Beautiful!”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    It is soo beautiul!
    I cant get over it
    thanks for posting tis, i really needed some info for my french project
    this was awesome!!  

Post a Comment

    Image Hosted by
    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
    But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...

Be-Facebook me!
Visit my architecture soap opera Beautiful Buildings Club.
Visit my foreign correspondents Snobby Foreign Correspondents.


Paris2e Guides

  • HIP - Paris.

    places to go and weird stories to know about the city of lights... Improve your brain's useless knowledge parts, impress your neighbors, raise the roof, and anoy your friends with these funny facts and places

  • FOODBUCKS - Paris.

    The not yet complete map of all the places I have had the joy (or disgust) to get food.

  • ART - Paris.

    Museums, galleries, hot spots, places of interest. And don't forget vernissage nights!

Main Departments

PARIS 2e: Mindboggling since 2006 * All rights reserved * Copyright Cedric Benetti 2010