Grand Palais – Palais de la Découverte

The Grand Plais was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 (as Le Petit Palais, on the opposite pavement) and dedicated “by the Republic to the glory of French art”.

Grand Palais - Monumental porch on Champs-Elysées
Monumental porch on Champs-Elysées

It should have been pulled down once the fair was over, but was fortunately kept and converted into a temporary exhibition hall.

The Grand Palais was built on a H-shaped plan.

The Palais de la Découverte was founded on the occasion of the International Exhibition of 1937.

You’ll find it at the rear of the building, in the wing that faces the Avenue Franklin-Roosevelt.

The southern part of the building, on the river side, was attached to the University of Paris in 1957 and converted to accommodate a series of classrooms and a vast library.

Belle Epoque architecture

The Grand Palais boasts a stunning nave covered by a gigantic glass roof supported by a metal structure.

Grand Palais - on Avenue Churchill
Grand Palais on Avenue Churchill

The Orsay Museum, Eiffel Tower and the 20 or so pedestrian covered passages and galleries of Paris are perfect illustrations of this style.

However, the Grand Palais’ imposing facade (240m long) is more conventional than these buildings’, as a series of Doric columns break the volumes and lighten the whole structure.

The monumental entrance porch at the corner of the Champs Elysées and Avenue Churchill is equally spectacular.

It is topped by a gigantic sculptural group – Four horses pulling a chariot – by Falguière and Peter.

The Grand Palais will close for renovation

The Grand Palais was classified Historical Monument in 2000 and is a Must See when in Paris.

Grand Palais - Doric columns on Avenue Churchill
Doric columns on Avenue Churchill

However, you’ll have to wait a few years if you haven’t visited it yet as it will close early 2021.

It will undergo extensive restoration so that its magnificent nave is ready to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Many sculptures and ornaments and the roof’ glass panels have indeed deteriorated over time, and some walls have been damaged by water infiltration from the Seine.

A temporary structure, known as ‘Le Grand Palais Ephémère’ was erected early 2021 on the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower.

The Wall for Peace, a contemporary monument erected on the site in 2000, has been moved to Avenue de Breteuil in the 15th district to free space for this structure.

Grand Palais - Sculptural group on pediment
Sculptural group on pediment

The building of around 10,000 m2 will host the events that usually take place in the famous Nave of the Grand Palais.

It will stay in place until the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Palais de la Découverte, open since 1937, will be renovated and modernized at the same time, which makes sense.

The Grand Palais Museum will fully reopen to the public in 2025.

Much to look forward to.

Directions: 8th district – Avenue Winston Churchill.
Metro: Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau on Line 1
Coordinates: Lat 48.866109 – Long 2.312454

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