The Grand Palais in Paris: An Architectural Icon in Photos

The Grand Palais in Paris: An Architectural Icon in Photos

One of the city’s beloved landmarks, the Grand Palais is visible from across Paris, its enormous glass roof illuminated at night. In this photo essay, I hope to illuminate its splendor in 10 images. On Sunday November 24, 2019, the Grand Palais hosted an event, in partnership with Spotr, for photographers and the general public to partake in a free photo tour. Some of my resulting photos portray pre-pandemic moments of normalcy with visitors freely wandering around the exhibition space. Indeed, many of us may be feeling nostalgic for the time before covid-19. But one day soon, we will serenely enjoy the beauty of this place once again…

Are you nostalgic for a monument in the City of Light? Please share your story in the comments section below.

The Dome of the Grand Palais is the central point of the largest glass roof in Europe. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

The monument’s history, in a few words

The Grand Palais is situated on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in the 8th arrondissement, not far from the majestic Pont Alexandre III on the River Seine.

The imposing landmark was erected for the 1900 World Fair. It was a feat of industrial architecture at that time. The Grand Palais was built in less than three years with 200,000 tonnes of stone, 14,900-sqm of glass and 9,056 tons of steel! Its structure even weighed more than the Eiffel Tower.

In the 19th century, Paris was infused with the profound artistic vitality of the Belle Époque. The architecture’s elegant design is thus entwined with French art: its opulent interior features an Art Nouveau style Grand Staircase supported by dramatic columns, and unveils an unparalleled, curved-glass roof which is the largest in Europe.

Visitors and photographers blithely walking around to capture the beauty of the Grand Palais and its imposing nave.
Photo: Sarah Fauvel

This year, the monument celebrates its 120 years as it opened its doors on May 5, 1900, and continues to leave us in awe.

The Grand Palais hosts every year an abundance of prestigious fashion and cultural events such as the FIAC, the Biennale, Paris Photo, the Saut Hermès or the Chanel fashion shows, to name a few.

The Nave and the Grand Palais was respectively classified as historic monuments in 1975 and 2000.

The carefree crowd indulging their curiosity: A whiff of nostalgia. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

The outstanding masterpiece is undoubtedly an iconic heritage of the City of Light and has remained an essential cultural destination over time.

For an immersive experience, you can explore the monument with a virtual visit here.

Dramatic columns and gilded cornice. The 14 columns gracefully support the Balcony of Honor of the nave. Photo: Sarah Fauvel


The Grand Palais will reopen on July 1st with the talked-about Pompeii exhibition. Looking ahead, the Black and White Photography exhibition (“Noir et Blanc : une esthétique de la photographie”) will open on November 12.

A historic renovation coming soon! From January 2021, the Grand Palais will temporarily close its doors for a major modernization project. It will reopen to host the Olympic Games in 2024. During this four-year period of time, the renowned cultural events will be maintained. The City of Paris has decided to install an “Ephemeral” Grand Palais on the Champ-de-Mars at the beginning of 2021.

The Grand Palais is located at Avenue Winston Churchill in the 8th arrondissement.
For more information, you can go to the website of the Grand Palais here.

The light of the sun embraces the magnificent steel-framed glass roof. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

The steel structure supporting the glass-roof. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

The Art Nouveau Grand Staircase. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

Visitors admired the Art Nouveau style Balcony of Honor and Grand Staircase from the entrance. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

The VIP Lounge – Salon d’Honneur – With its 56-feet high (17-meter) walls and its light oak parquet.
Photo: Sarah Fauvel

How could we have imagined at that time that we were about to step into a new world? Photo: Sarah Fauvel

Photo credit : The Grand Palais at sunset. Photo: Sarah Fauvel

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Sarah Fauvel hails from Rouen, Normandy. She is a Paris-based travel journalist, editorial and fine art photographer. She has developed communication and writing expertise in different fields over the course of her career. She has previously lived in the United-States.

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  • ed cobleigh
    2020-06-12 23:18:10
    ed cobleigh
    In the early part of the 20th century, Le Grand Palais hosted what later became known as the Paris Air Show. Early aircraft were displayed, most for sale. Suspended by cables from the ceiling, the spindly craft appeared to fly silhouetted against the glass ceiling. No actual flying took place. Later, the air show moved to Le Bourget, where it is held now every two years.