Le Grand Palais – one of the most splendid buildings in Paris and a legacy of the city’s extraordinary World Expo in 1900 – is set to undergo a large-scale renovation, according to a recent announcement from its President, Sylvie Hubac. The aim of the works, which will take place between 2020 and 2024, is to bring greater flexibility and openness to the colossal structure, which is composed of several halls and venues.
The renovation programme will return the Grand Palais to its original splendour, removing internal walls and reusing the structure’s existing large bay windows and balconies. As a result, the capacity of the mammoth Nave – the main hall that hosts events including fashion shows, contemporary art fairs and show-jumping competitions - is set to double to 11,000 people.
Entrances and corridors will be redesigned, allowing greater interaction between arts and science by connecting the Nave with the National Galleries and the Palais de la Découverte science museum. Visitors to the latter will no longer use a separate entrance, and will instead pass through the main building via the ‘Rue des Palais’ to access the museum. Other exhibition spaces will be designed to be more adaptable in order to host different types of events.
The ‘opening up’ of the building will also allow in more natural light and will give visitors a better chance to contemplate its architecture, with rooftop access being an added bonus to enjoy stunning views of Paris. The whole renovation project will require an investment of EUR 436 million, most of which will be financed by the French State. The required works will force the Grand Palais to close its doors to the public between late 2020 and 2023, while the Palais de la Découverte will not reopen until 2024.
More than a simple monument or museum, Le Grand Palais represents the audacity and optimism of 1900 and the Expo for which it was built. With its imposing size and vast roof made of glass and steel, it is one of the most recognisable buildings in Paris. Located between the Champs-Elysées and the Seine, the Palace served as a museum of fine art during the Expo. Since then, the building continues to be used as a venue for a range of spectacular events, exhibitions and shows, acquiring ‘National Monument’ status in 2000.
The Grand Palais renovation project
Visit the official website of Le Grand Palais.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.