The Grand Palais in Paris
First constructed for the 1900 World Fair, the Grand Palais offers its visitors a diversity of different events that are organised throughout the year over a vast area, plus this building is also home to the Palais de la Decouverte, which is a unique science museum in Paris.
About the Grand Palais
When you look at the history of the Grand Palais, this was an architectural achievement in its time and utilises a vast amount of stone, glass and steel, and in fact there is more steel used within this building than on the Eiffel Tower!
And even though it started out as mainly an exhibition area for the arts, there has been a wide variety of different shows conducted here throughout the years, just like car shows with some of the top names in the automobile industry displaying here, and these ran from 1901 until 1961, when the place unfortunately became too small to accommodate all the cars they wanted to show.
More recently, the Grand Palais has been host to fashion shows such as those of Haute Couture like Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel, the World Fencing Championships, live concerts, a book fair, the Paris-Roller roller skating exhibition, street dance competition and many more. So as you can tell, the programme is always very varied and there will be something to attract anyone of any age at some time or other during the year.
Now, the Grand Palais is separated into three main areas and one area is purely for the Palais de la Decouverte, which is a science museum that was opened up for the 1937 World Fair, or Universelle Exposition in Paris, as it is also known. And this unique museum provides a hands on approach to science that is suitable for all, even for those that do not have much understanding of different sciences.
The next area is the Nave, now this is at the heart of the Grand Palais and is the main masterpiece of engineering within the building due to its proportions and the large steel structure that is mainly concealed by stone walls. Yet it is the monumental glass roof, which is supported by this steel structure, that your eyes get drawn towards, which is a truly magnificent sight to the Paris skyline and is actually the largest glass roof of its kind in Europe.
And after renovations, since the Nave reopened its doors in 2005, it has continued to be used for temporary exhibitions and shows on a massive scale, just like we mentioned earlier.
The third section of the Grand Palais is called the Galeries Nationales, and it is here within an area of around 5,000 metres squared of space that you can get to see temporary art exhibitions that are staged in collaboration with some of the most famous museums in France and the world. And in fact, over the last 40 years, there have been over 250 major art exhibitions and a recent one was that of the artist Claude Monet.
There is also an elegant restaurant called the Mini Palais serving gourmet French cuisine inspired by a three star Michelin chef, and the restaurant with its terrace that offers views down to the Alexander III bridge is in an outstanding setting between the Nave and the colonnades of the Grand Palais.
You will also find a MK2 cinema that has seating for 104 people and open to the public on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, this small cinema offers a programme of documentaries, monographic seasons, and a strong focus on short films.
Access to the Grand Palais in Paris
Because the Grand Palais hosts many different events, often simultaneously, the opening hours of each do vary, and therefore you would need to go to the website or contact the Grand Palais to find out what is on and when, plus the costs for each event, exhibition, etc also vary in cost.
Located within the 8th Arrondissement of Paris within the Jardins des Champs-Elysees, the entrance for the Galeries Nationales is 3 Avenue du General-Eisenhower at the Place Jean Perrin, however the Nave is accessed via the main entrance which is located on Avenue Winston-Churchill.
If you are attending the Cinema MK2, then you would need the entrance called the Rotonde Alexandre III at 3 Avenue Winston-Churchilll and for those with reduced mobility, the access is entrance B on the Avenue du General Eisenhower for the Galeries Nationales exhibitions and the Avenue Winston-Churchill for exhibitions in the Nave.
Now when it comes to getting to the Grand Palais via the public transport in Paris, the nearest Metro station is called the Champs-Elysees - Clemenceau stop serving lines 1 and 13, or alternatively, a little further walk along the famous tree lined Avenue des Champs Elysees you have the Franklin D Roosevelt stop serving lines 1 and 9.
However, if you are travelling on the RER trains, then the nearest train station is located on the opposite bank of the River Seine called the Invalides stop serving the RER C line, but this is also a Metro station serving lines 8 and 13.
There are also numerous buses including the bus lines 28, 42, 72, 63, 73, 83 and 93, along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N01, N02, N11 and N24, not forgetting the tour buses such as l’OpenTour and the Batobus, which is the water bus that does a circuit up and down the River Seine with stops at major tourist attractions.
Yet if you have your own transport, then there are public car parks located at the Rond-Point Champs-Elysees, the Place de la Concorde and Alma Georges-V, although we would like to point out that these are all paying and have height restrictions.
Address and contact details
Grand Palais, Nave, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008, Paris, Ile de France, France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 44 13 17 17
Grand Palais history
Grand Palais photos
Palais de la Decouverte
Palais de la Decouverte history
Jardins des Champs Elysees
Grand Palais statues
L'Harmonie Triomphant de la Discorde
Immortality Outstripping Time Quadrigas
L'Art et la Nature
L'Inspiration ou la Peinture
L'Art du Moyen Age
L'inspiration guidee par la sagesse
La Science en marche en depit de l'Ignorance
L'Art du XVIIIe Siecle
L'Art de la Renaissance
Paris Metro lines 1, 8, 9, 12, 13
Bus lines 24, 28
Bus line 42
Bus line 52
Bus line 63
Bus lines 72, 73
Bus lines 80, 83, 84
Bus lines 93, 94
Night bus lines N01, N02
Night bus line N11
Night bus line N24
RER Train line C
Water bus service
Attractions close by
Winston Churchill statue
Musee Petit Palais
Charles de Gaulle statue
Jean Perrin monument
Fall of the Berlin Wall
Le Reve du Poete monument
Simon Bolivar Statue
Pont Alexandre III
Russian Expeditionary Force 1916 - 1918
Pont des Invalides