The Grand Palais is one of Paris’ most beautiful and recognizable structures. Debuted in 1900 in time for the World’s Fair, the architectural marvel is famed for its colossal nave, Beaux-Arts architecture, and immense glass roof. Today, the Grand Palais houses several gallery areas and also hosts tournaments, Chanel fashion shows, and other major events.
Situated just steps from the Champs-Élysées, the Grand Palais has been a major artistic and cultural destination for more than a century. A classified Historic Monument since 2000, the building is renowned for its opulent appeal; like the neighboring Petit Palais and Pont Alexandre III, it was originally created for the 1900 World’s Fair. In World War I, it was used as a hospital; though occupied by the Nazis in World War II, it also became a headquarters for the French Resistance. Following a lengthy period of renovation in the 1990s, the palace is now one of the city’s top cultural venues, and attracts upwards of 2 million visitors annually.
The Grand Palais is a popular and centrally located stop on hop-on hop-off bus tours, bike tours, and walking tours of the area, and its unique glass roof can also be glimpsed during Seine River cruises. Its two museums—the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (home to blockbuster art exhibitions) and the Palais de la Découverte (a family-friendly science museum)—are also worth discovering.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Avoid bringing luggage or large bags during your visit, as they are prohibited by the venue, even in the cloakroom area.
- The Grand Palais has several main entrances; visitors with reduced mobility should use the entrances at the Avenue du Général Eisenhower or at the Avenue Winston-Churchill.
- The Grand Palais is set to close for extensive renovations from 2020–2024, during which time a temporary venue will open on the Champ de Mars.
How to Get There
The Champs-Élysées - Clemenceau Métro station, which is served by lines 1 and 13, is mere steps away. Just across the Seine, the Invalides station (which is served by lines 8 and 13, as well as the RER C) is another option. The 28, 42, 52, 63, 72, 73, 80, 83, and 93 buses all stop nearby. As with most central Paris landmarks, it’s also reachable on foot, by taxi, or by Vélib’.
When to Get There
Opening hours at the Grand Palais vary among events, exhibitions, and museums, though the venue is most often closed on Tuesdays. Be sure to research specific opening times (and book tickets) in advance.
The 2024 Paris Olympics
The Grand Palais is slated to be host fencing, taekwondo, and other sporting events during the 2024 Paris Olympics.