Grand Palais
This article contains material abridged and translated from the French and Spanish Wikipedia.

The Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, commonly known as the Grand Palais (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: Great Palace), is a large historic site
Historic site
A historic site is an official location where pieces of political, military or social history have been preserved. Historic sites are usually protected by law, and many have recognized with the official national historic site status...

, exhibition hall and museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 complex located at the Champs-Élysées
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a prestigious avenue in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strip of real estate in the world. The name is...

 in the 8th arrondissement of Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Construction of the Grand Palais began in 1897 following the demolition of the Palais de l'Industrie (Palace of the Industry) as part of the preparation works for the Universal Exposition of 1900
Exposition Universelle (1900)
The Exposition Universelle of 1900 was a world's fair held in Paris, France, from April 15 to November 12, 1900, to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next...

, which also included the creation of the adjacent Petit Palais
Petit Palais
The Petit Palais is a museum in Paris, France. Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 to Charles Girault's designs, it now houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts ....

 and Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III
The Pont Alexandre III is an arch bridge that spans the Seine, connecting the Champs-Élysées quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter, widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris...


The structure was built in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture as taught by the École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts refers to a number of influential art schools in France. The most famous is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, now located on the left bank in Paris, across the Seine from the Louvre, in the 6th arrondissement. The school has a history spanning more than 350 years,...

 of Paris. The building reflects the movement's taste for ornate decoration through its stone facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

s, the formality of its floor planning and the use of techniques that were innovative at the time, such as its glass vault, its structure made of iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 and light steel framing, and its use of reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...



One of its pediments calls it a “monument dedicated by the Republic to the glory of French art”, reflecting its original purpose, that of housing the great artistic events of the city of Paris. The competition to choose the architect was fierce and controversial, and ultimately resulted in the contract being awarded to a group of four architects, Henri Deglane, Albert Louvet, Albert Thomas and Charles Girault
Charles Girault
Charles-Louis Girault was a French architect.Born in Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, he studied with Honoré Daumet at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He received the first Prix de Rome, awarded him in 1880 on the basis of a design for a hospital for sick children along the...

, each with a separate area of responsibility.

The main space, almost 240 metres long, was constructed with an iron, steel and glass barrel-vaulted roof, making it the last of the large transparent structures inspired by London’s Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in...

 that were necessary for large gatherings of people before the age of electricity. The main space was originally connected to the other parts of the palace along an east-west axis by a grand staircase in a style combining Classical
Classical architecture
Classical architecture is a mode of architecture employing vocabulary derived in part from the Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, enriched by classicizing architectural practice in Europe since the Renaissance...

 and Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

, but the interior layout has since been somewhat modified.

The exterior of this massive palace combines an imposing Classical stone façade with a riot of Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 ironwork, and a number of allegorical statue groups including work by sculptors Paul Gasq
Paul Gasq
Paul Jean-Baptiste Gasq was a French sculptor, born in Dijon.- Life :Gasq was a student at the Dijon School of Fine Arts and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he took the Prix de Rome in 1890...

, Camille Lefèvre
Camille Lefèvre
Camille Lefèvre was a French sculptor.- Biography :Born in Issy-les-Moulineaux, in 1870 Lefèvre became a pupil of Jules Cavelier at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1878, he won the second Prix de Rome in sculpture. In 1893 he exhibited at the Chicago World Fair...

, Alfred Boucher
Alfred Boucher
A French sculptor, Alfred Boucher , mentor to Camille Claudel and friend of Auguste Rodin.Born in Bouy-sur-Ovin , he was the son of a farmhand who became the gardener of the sculptor Chantalle van Zanten, who, after recognizing Boucher's talent, opened his studio to him.He won the Grand Prix du...

, Alphonse-Amédée Cordonnier
Alphonse-Amédée Cordonnier
Alphonse-Amédée Cordonnier was a French sculptor.Born in La Madeleine, Nord, Cordonnier was educated in nearby Lille, then in Paris, then in Rome, on a scholarship funded by the foundation of Jean-Baptiste Wicar...

 and Raoul Verlet. A monumental bronze quadriga
A quadriga is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast . It was raced in the Ancient Olympic Games and other contests. It is represented in profile as the chariot of gods and heroes on Greek vases and in bas-relief. The quadriga was adopted in ancient Roman chariot racing...

 by Georges Récipon
Georges Récipon
Georges Récipon was a French painter and sculptor.The son of a sculptor, Récipon's major work is probably his work at the Grand Palais in Paris, two monumental and exuberant quadrigas on the building's roof.Other work includes:...

 tops each wing of the main façade. The one on the Champs-Élysées side depicts Immortality prevailing over Time, the one on the Seine side Harmony triumphing over Discord.

The grand inauguration took place May 1, 1900, and from the very beginning the palace was the site of different kinds of shows in addition to the intended art exhibitions. These included a riding competition that took place annually from 1901 to 1957, but were mainly dedicated to innovation and modernity: the automobile, aviation, household appliances, and so on. The golden age of the art exhibitions as such lasted for some thirty years, while the last took place in 1947. The first major Matisse retrospective after his death was held at the Grand Palais from April 22, 1970 to September 21, 1970 and was an incredible success.

The structure itself, however, had problems that started even before it was completed, mainly as a result of subsidence caused by a drop in the water table. The builders attempted to compensate for this subsidence, and for a tendency of the ground to shift, by sinking supporting posts down to firmer soil, since construction could not be delayed. These measures were, however, only partially successful.

Further damage occurred once the building was in use. Excessive force applied to structural members during the installation of certain exhibitions such as the Exposition Internationale de la Locomotion Aérienne caused damage, as did acid runoff from the horse shows.

Additional problems due to the construction of the building itself revealed themselves over the course of time. Differential rates of expansion and contraction between cast iron and steel members, for example, allowed for water to enter, leading to corrosion and further weakening. When finally one of the glass ceiling panels fell in 1993, the main space had to be closed for restoration work, and was not fully reopened to the public until 2007.

Wartime and the Palais

The Palais served as a military hospital during World War I, employing local artists that had not deployed to the front to decorate hospital rooms or to make moulds for prosthetic limbs.

The Nazis put the Palais to use during the Occupation of France in World War II. First used as a truck depot, the Palais then housed two Nazi propaganda exhibitions.

The Parisian resistance used the Grand Palais as a headquarters during the Liberation of Paris. On August 23, 1944, a peace officer fired on an advancing German column from a window on the Avenue de Sèlves, and the Germans responded with a tank attack upon the Palais. The attack ignited hay that was set up for a circus show, and over the next 48 hours, thick black smoke from the fire caused serious damage to the building. On August 26th, American jeeps are parked in the Nave, followed by tanks from the French Second Armored Division, completing the liberation of the building.

The Grand Palais today

A little known fact is that the Grand Palais has a major police station in the basement which helps protect the exhibits on show in the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais
Galeries nationales du Grand Palais
The galeries nationales du Grand Palais are museum spaces located in the Grand Palais in the VIIIe arrondissement of Paris. They serve as home to major art exhibits and cultural events programmed by the Réunion des musées nationaux , and are open six days a week.- References :* * * *...

, and particularly the picture exhibition "Salons" as the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Arts
Société Nationale des Beaux Arts
Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts was the term under which two groups of French artists united, the first for some exhibitions in the early 1860s, the second since 1890 for annual exhibitions....

, Salon d'Automne
Salon d'Automne
In 1903, the first Salon d'Automne was organized by Georges Rouault, André Derain, Henri Matisse, Angele Delasalle and Albert Marquet as a reaction to the conservative policies of the official Paris Salon...

 and Salon Comparaisons. The building's west wing also contains a science museum
Science museum
A science museum or a science centre is a museum devoted primarily to science. Older science museums tended to concentrate on static displays of objects related to natural history, paleontology, geology, industry and industrial machinery, etc. Modern trends in museology have broadened the range of...

, the Palais de la Découverte
Palais de la Découverte
The Palais de la Découverte is a science museum located in the Grand Palais, in the 8th arrondissement on Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, Paris, France. It is open daily except Monday; an admission fee is charged....


The couture fashion house Chanel
Chanel S.A. is a French fashion house founded by the couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, well established in haute couture, specializing in luxury goods . She gained the name "Coco" while maintaining a career as a singer at a café in France...

 annually hosts many of its fashion shows here, setting up elaborate and expensive surroundings for its models and hosts.

It was the host venue of the 2010 World Fencing Championships
2010 World Fencing Championships
The 2010 World Fencing Championships were held at the Grand Palais in Paris, France 4–13 November.-Medal table:-Men's events:-Women's events:- Participating nations :...


Sculptor Anish Kapoor was commissioned to create "Leviathan", an enormous structure that fills half the Grand Palais. "Leviathan" opened to the public in May 2011.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.