Grand Palais

The Grand Palais is located in Champs-Elysées which is part of the 8th arrondissement in Paris. This historic site was built for an event called the Universal Exposition of 1900, which was a gathering that celebrated the achievements of the 19th Century. When the Palais de l’Industrie was torn down, it was quickly followed by the construction of the Grand Palais which started in the year 1897. This structure also serves as a museum complex as well as an exhibition hall. It is known for its ornate decoration and magnificent glass roof.

Early History


The building was designed by three different architects named Albert Louvet, Henri Deglane and Albert Thomas. They worked under the supervision of Charles Girault, a famous French architect during the 19th Century. The inauguration of the palace was held on May 1st, 1900. The structure serves its original purpose, to hold big artistic events in Paris, among other things. Different shows, exhibitions and functions were held in this palace. There were numerous structural problems during construction and these worsened once the palace was in use. Expansion, erosion and many other issues caused one of the glass ceiling to fall. The site was closed in 1993 for restoration and opened again in 2007.

The Structure


The marvelous building is one of the most beautiful structures in Paris as it reflects the glory of French art. Currently, the palace is the largest existing glass and ironwork structure in the entire world. This title was once held by a structure in London called the Crystal Palace. The beautiful building is not only known for its art-nouveau ironwork and glass, but also the classicist stone facade. It is a structure which represents Beaux-Arts architecture.

Wartime


During WWI, the palace was used as a hospital. Many artists who were not yet deployed helped out by making prosthetic limbs and caring for war victims. The Nazis used the structure during the WWII in their occupation of France. It served as a truck house during this time and was even used as an exhibition hall during a Nazi propaganda event. During the liberation of Paris, Parisian Resistance used this Palace as their headquarters. When a German column was attacked on August 23, 1944, the Germans quickly responded with a tank attack directly aimed at the palace. The attack set a fire near the palace and thick black smoke damaged much of the structure’s exterior. Three days later, American jeeps which were followed by the French Second Armored Division parked at the nave of the structure. This led to the liberation of the building.

Modern Day


Chanel, the haute couture label, annually hosts its events at the palace. This venue also played host to the World Fencing Championships of 2010. The exhibit for Leviathan, an enormous structure sculpted by Anish Kapoor, was also in the palace.


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