Le Grand and Petit Palais: A History


Petit Palais and Grand Palais: That Beaux-Arts Beauty Though!

Off the Champs Elysees, adjacent to the Pont Alexandre III, stands two beautiful buildings. Both are used for exhibitions and housing art. Both were built in the Belle Epoque. And both are two lesser known museums when it comes to all the other art museums has to offer. Constantly changing their artwork, you can never tire about what the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais have to offer. So here are some facts about the two buildings' history.

World's Exposition of 1900

What in Paris wasn't built for the one of the World's Expositions? It seems that everything was built in mind for a display of all the French beauty and glory. These two buildings were no different. Both began their construction in the late 1800s and opened their doors in 1900. Both were built in the beaux-arts style with high vaulted ceilings. The glass dome of the Grand Palais and its iron and steel are iconic for that style.

The Roof of the Grand Palais

Promoting French Art

The two buildings were dedicated to the "republic and glory of French art." Since their openings, both buildings have housed many masterpieces and put forward many exhibitions, showcasing French art. The Grand Palais has also been used for other things. During the holiday season, the upper level gets turned into an ice skating arena and the building has also held car, airplane, and fashion shows.

The Palaces in the Wartime

During World War I, the Grand Palais was used as a hospital. During World War II, when the Nazis occupied Paris, they would house propaganda exhibitions in the Grand Palais. They took a place known for showcasing French art and used it to promote Nazi ideals. During the Liberation of Paris, the Resistance took over the Grand Palais and used it as one of their headquarters.

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