Occupying a prime position within the 8th arrondissement of the city and within easy reach of several of our Paris holiday apartments, the magnificent Grand Palais can be found in between Paris’ famous Champs-Elysees and the majestic River seine. As well as being one of the city’s popular tourist attractions, the Grand Palais is the home to a fascinating exhibition hall, together with a superb museum and is a sight certainly not to be missed whilst visiting this wonderful city. Champs Elysees Area Apartments in Paris.
The Grand Palais, which literally translates to ‘Great Palace’, certainly lives up to its name and has become one of the main focal points within Paris, attracting around 2 million visitors from all over the world, every single year. Currently owned by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais (RMN – GP), an establishment responsible for culture and communication within the city, the palace boasts an array of facilities and offers something for everyone who visits.
The idea of the Grand Palais came about in the late 1800s when a competition was held inviting architects to design an iconic structure, due to Paris hosting the Universal Exposition in 1900. The winners of the competition were Henri Deglane, Albert Louvet and Albert Thomas, each of whom was responsible for a certain area of the building. A fourth man, Charles Girault, was given the task of overseeing the whole project, which began in 1897 and was successfully completed just in time for the opening of the Universal Exposition.
Designed in a Beaux-Arts style, the Grand Palais is one of the world’s largest ironwork and glass structures, utilising even more tonnes of steel than Paris’ other well-known, iron clad landmark, the Eiffel Tower. The palace’s beautiful stone facade features striking statues and ornamental decorations, as well as several notable sculptures including the ‘Galloping Horses’ and the ‘Peace’ sculpture. The huge glass rooftop, with its green, painted ironwork, can be seen from all over the neighbourhood, ensuring that the Grand Palais stands out from the surrounding tree-lined avenues of the city.
Throughout history, the palace’s main purpose has been to serve as an expansive exhibition hall, with the exception of a period during World War I when it was used as a military hospital. Nowadays, the Grand Palais is renowned for its remarkable main hall, which boasts a superb, permanent contemporary art exhibition – one which is definitely worthy of a visit. Around 40 staged events also take place throughout the year, ranging from car shows to fashion parades.
To the rear of the Grand Palais, is the fabulous Palais de la Découverte, a science museum which is bursting with interactive activities and entertainment for all ages. The museum opened to the public several years after the opening of the Grand Palais and has become an extremely popular part of the building. It is here that visitors will find an impressive planetarium, together with the incredible ‘Pi Room’, which is a sight not to be missed.
Further information, including opening times and admission prices can be found on the Grand Palais’ official website – www.grandpalais.fr/en