The Grand Palais: celebrating French art for more than a century
"A monument dedicated by the (French) Republic to the glory of French art."
Located between the Champs-Elysées and Place de la Concorde, the entrance to the Grand Palais, gives you a glimpse of the majestic and imposing nature of the Parisian museum that awaits.
Built in 1897, and opened for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, this building is an architectural feat in itself:
• Europe’s largest glass roof sits above13, 500 m2 of space;
• The Nave alone contains more steel than the Eiffel Tower (6,000 tons);
• 60 tons of ‘Reseda Green’ paint were needed to colour the Nave;
• 200,000 tons of stone were used in the building’s construction.
La Belle Époque style
The architecture of the Grand Palais is in itself symbolic of the tastes of the turn of the twentieth century Belle Époque period, most notable its large transparent structures made from a range of materials such as steel, iron, stone and copper. Low relief copper work (or Repoussé) is used throughout the building for sculptures, building emblems, and even the chariots - made by the painter-sculptor Georges Récipon - erected on either side of the building.
The two grand and impressive chariots represent:
• Immortality defeating Time (1900), on the Champs-Élysées side;
• Harmony triumphing over Discord (1900), located by the Seine.
Three distinct museums in one location
The Grand Palais can be divided into three distinct areas: the National Gallery, the Palais de la Découverte and the Nef (or Nave). Just opposite the main building of the Grand Palais lies a smaller building - the Petit Palais.
The National Galleries host art exhibitions; the Palais de la Découverte is dedicated to science whilst the Nef showcases contemporary artworks.
The Petit Palais, opposite its older cousin, is dedicated to fine arts.
Over the decades, exhibitions held here have helped the public discover some great artists. For example Georges de la Tour, Gustave Courbet, Chardin, Monet or Nicolas Poussin all exhibited at the Grand Palais.
Since 2008, an extensive programme of development and improvement has been underway to restore and enhance the Grand Palais, which was officially classed as a historical monument in the year 2000.
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower