The Grand Palais of Paris!

Let me tell you about another wonder of my beloved Paris. This is a huge building and sometimes on the spot that it is it goes unnotice somehow. In addition to the wonderful architecture it hosts a variety of events second to none in Paris. I like to tell you a bit on the history of the Grand Palais de Paris.

Of course, I have written a bit before, but not really a single post it deserves. Here is my previous blog post on it.  Grand Palais

The Grand Palais is located on the edge of the Champs-Elysées, facing the Petit Palais, which is separated by the Avenue Winston Churchill in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris. The Grand Palais des Beaux-Arts was built  from 1897, for the Universal exhibition scheduled from April 15 to November 12, 1900, instead of the vast but uncomfortable Palais de l’Industrie of 1855. It was a Monument consecrated by the Republic to the glory of French art. As the pediment of the West Wing (Palais d’Antin) indicates, its original vocation is to welcome the major official artistic events of the capital. The ceremony was held on May 1, 1900 for the grand opening. The Grand Palais is served nearby by the Metro lines 1 and 13  at the Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau station, and Metro lines 1 and 9 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Station, as well as the RATP  bus lines 42 and  73.

The main building, with a length of nearly 240 meters, consists of an imposing space surmounted by a large canopy. The slightly lowered cradle vault of the North and South Naves and the transverse nave (paddock), the dome on pendants weigh about 8 500 tons of steel, iron and glass. The total weight of metal used reaches 9 057 tons. The summit of this set culminates at an altitude of 45 meters. The colonnade of Deglane, inspired by the one in the Louvre, but without the grace, conceals cautiously the splendid innovation of the metal structure. The Grand Palais is, on its own, a summary of the tastes of the Belle Epoque, but at the same time marks the end of a certain conception of architecture where the masterpiece, both an artist and a technician, occupies a prominent role.  The communication between the large nave and the other parts of the palace (Salon d’honneur, central wing and  Palais dAntin) is done by a wide iron staircase of classic inspiration tinted with Art nouveau.

PAris

The sculptures the copper Quadrigas crown the two entrances and their pediment, to the northeast and southeast, on the new avenue. These allegorical works, imposing on the passerbys at an altitude of 40 meters, represent,  on the side of the Champs-Elysées,  Immortality ahead of time and on the side of the Seine river  the triumphant harmony of discord.  The mosaics inside, the pavements of the elliptical hall are mosaic of ceramic sandstone. There is a large floral motif in a central symmetry, consisting of tesserae with poorly supported colors (beige, brown and green), but detaching well on a white background. The outer friezes, located under the Peristyle de Deglane (facade on Avenue Winston Churchill ), consist of a long band with brightly enhanced gold colors using the traditional mosaic technique.

The game of the tesserae is animated by very regular opuses and underlined by marked contours as well as subtle gradients. It includes representations of the great civilizations of history as perceived at the end of the 19C, including Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Rome of Augustus to the Greece of the century of Pericles, the Italian and French Renaissance in the Middle Ages, Europe Industrious to that of the classical and Baroque arts. The more distant civilizations are not forgotten, glorifying in passing the period then at its apogee of the great colonizing nations in the Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa, the East and the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Indochina With the Khmers and temples of Angkor, the Cochinchina and the Vietnamese landscapes around the city of Hue, the Far East with representations of mysterious China and Japan , and  evocations of the two Americas.

From 1947, the building loses its function as a palace of fine Arts, for which it was built.  Several events are held on the artistic side such as French and independent artists, painting and sculptures etc. etc. from the years 1960 the technical shows are done here such as automobiles, agricultural and horticultural machines, etc. etc. Commercial events such as living and decorations, etc. and various makes such stamps, concerts etc. etc. All too numerous to mention in a simple blog post.

Paris Paris PAris

During the 20C, the Grand Palais is sometimes a witness of the tragedies of history, sometimes an object of unexpected uses. At the beginning of  WWI, the Grand Palais was used as barracks for colonial troops preparing to go to the front. It quickly became a makeshift hospital for the wounded in the Navy who could not find a place in the crowded hospitals of the capital.  During , WWII and the German occupation, the palace was commandeered by the Nazis to house military vehicles there. In August 1944, the nave was bombarded and a fire was declared, without major consequences, in part of the building; the firefighters are however hampered in their work by rescuing animals from a circus that has elected home under the large canopy. They must also protect the works sent for an exhibition by working artists or prisoners.

In 1964, part of the north wing of the Grand Palais, at the request of André Malraux then Minister of Cultural Affairs, became a National Gallery destined to receive large temporary exhibitions. Presented in 1966, a retrospective of the painter Pablo Picasso and an important presentation of African art.  Numerous exhibitions of classical painters, impressionistic (Renoir), and modern (Zao Wou-Ki, Prassinos, Mušič, Manesser) are organized thereafter. and other uses followed of diverse splendor and magnitude. And this has continue today. Since 2009, hives have been installed on the roof of the Grand Palais to promote biodiversity and make the life of bees in urban areas known.

Since January 2011, the public establishment of the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées has merged with the National Museums . On February 12  2018, it was  announced the forthcoming closure of the Grand Palais, from December 2020 to the spring of 2023, in order to carry out a larger renovation by 2024, the date on which the games of Fencing are to take place during the  2024 Olympic Games.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is a must while in Paris are

The Grand and Petit Palais de Paris : https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/1804

Official Grand Palais : https://www.grandpalais.fr/en

Tourist office of Paris: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71080/Grand-Palais

There you go another grand piece of architecture and history in my beloved Paris. Did i tell you I can keep writing on Paris and will never finish? YES!

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “The Grand Palais of Paris!”

  1. I am going to need another life to see all this!

    Liked by 1 person

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