The History of the Grand Palais

Paris Tours

Paris Tourist Attractions

From the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum to the hidden attractions in Paris, there is always a lot to see in this beautiful city. Grand Palais is one of the most important places you should visit during your Paris tours. The Grand Palais, meaning ‘Grand Palace’ in English, is a historic museum and an exhibition hall located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris at the Champs-Élysées avenue. This palace was built between the Seine River and the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

During 1894, a competition was held for the general layout of the Exposition Universelle, and 100 projects were considered for the event. The winner was Eugène Hénard, and for his project, the Palace of Industry was demolished and it made way for the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, and the Pont Alexandre Bridge. A new street connecting the Champs-Élysées to the bridge was also subsequently built.

In 1896, another competition was held for the design of the Grand Palace, and this time, the award was granted jointly to the 4 top architects, Albert Louvet, Henri Deglane, Albert Thomas, and Charles Girault. The first 3 were assigned to design different portion of the building, while Girault oversaw the whole project.

The column, stone facades, and friezes in the Grand Palais feature the Classicism design, while the metalwork inside features the classic Art Nouveau. There are mainly 3 main areas in this building: the Palais de la Découverte, the Galeries Nationales, and the Nave. The Palais de la Découverte is located in the west wing of the building and it holds an interactive science museum; the Galeries Nationales hosts major exhibitions, while the Nave is the setting for many social and cultural events.

Although the Grand Palace was originally intended to showcase fine arts and France’s leadership in monarchy, it also hosted a wide range of cultural events like automobile shows, fashion shows, concerts, fencing tournaments, etc. You can also find a restaurant lounge named Mini Palais here, which is located between colonnades and the Nave of the building, and offers a great view of the surroundings.

In the south wing of the Grand Palace is the Centre d’Accueil de la Presse Étrangère, which is a press center for the foreign journalists who live in Paris; press conferences, public debates, and formal meetings are also held here.