Paris, France — The Grand Palais, an emblem of Parisian heritage and architectural splendor, is undergoing a major transformation to play a central role in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The historic building, originally constructed for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, is being meticulously restored by the renowned French studio Chatillon Architectes.

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Photographer Laurent Kronental has captured the progress of this extensive restoration project, which began in 2021 and is set to be completed in 2025.

In a significant milestone, the first phase of the restoration will be unveiled this summer, allowing the Grand Palais to host Olympic events such as fencing and taekwondo.

This marks a new chapter in the life of the Beaux-Arts palace, which has long served as a cultural and exhibition space but had fallen into periods of neglect and fragmentation.

Reviving a Parisian Jewel

The restoration project, led by Chatillon Architectes, aims to reinstate the grandeur and accessibility of the Grand Palais while ensuring it meets modern standards.

The architects approached the project with a focus on enhancing public access, increasing natural light, and reconnecting the building with its urban surroundings.

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“The Grand Palais is a symbol of French heritage and innovation,” said a spokesperson for Chatillon Architectes. “Our goal is to honor its historic significance while adapting it for contemporary use.”

The restoration is informed by extensive archival research, drawing on original plans and documents to guide the process. Key elements of the restoration include:

  • Improving circulation within the building.
  • Creating new connections between its main areas.
  • Enhancing visitor services.

These improvements are designed to accommodate 60% more guests for events, providing a better experience for all visitors.

Restoring the Heart of the Grand Palais

One of the most significant aspects of the restoration is the reinstatement of the building’s original central axis. This change reconnects the main nave with the Palais de la Découverte and restores views from the Rotunda that have been obscured since 1939.

The restored central axis will enhance the visitor experience, offering a coherent and unified space that highlights the architectural beauty of the Grand Palais.

The surrounding gardens have also been redesigned to complement the restored building. Inspired by the nearby Champs-Élysées, the gardens feature a diverse selection of plants and sustainable irrigation systems.

These green spaces will provide a serene and environmentally friendly setting for visitors.

Honoring Historic Design

Chatillon Architectes have paid meticulous attention to preserving and celebrating the original elements of the Grand Palais.

The restoration includes reinforcing some of the earliest recorded cantilevers and balconies, ensuring that these architectural innovations remain a focal point of the building.

The architects have sought to honor the vision of the Grand Palais’s original designers: Henri Deglane, Albert Louvet, Albert Thomas, and Charles Girault.

Their work has been preserved wherever possible, ensuring that the building retains its historical integrity while being adapted for modern use.

A Central Venue for the 2024 Paris Olympics

As Paris prepares for the 2024 Olympics, the restored Grand Palais will serve as a key venue, hosting events in its magnificent central atrium.

This will allow athletes and visitors to experience the grandeur of the building while enjoying world-class sporting events.

The 2024 Olympics is set to be a landmark event for Paris, with various initiatives and projects enhancing the city’s infrastructure and cultural offerings.

Among these, VenhoevenCS and Ateliers 2/3/4/ have won the competition for a new aquatic center, and Dominique Perrault has revealed the master plan for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Village.

Iconic landmarks across Paris will host sporting events, integrating the city’s rich cultural heritage with the excitement of the Games.

Looking Ahead

The Grand Palais’s restoration is a testament to Paris’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage while embracing the future.

As the city anticipates the influx of athletes and visitors for the 2024 Olympics, the restored Grand Palais will stand as a beacon of Parisian elegance and innovation.

“The Grand Palais is more than just a building; it is a symbol of our history and our future,” said the spokesperson for Chatillon Architectes. “We are excited to see it come alive once more and to share it with the world during the Olympics.”

With the first phase of the restoration set to debut this summer, the Grand Palais is poised to reclaim its status as a cultural and architectural icon, ready to welcome the world to Paris for the 2024 Olympics.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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