2005 - 2015

Into the 21st century

Rmn-Grand Palais

"It's more than a reopening, it's a renaissance. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, Minister of Culture and Communication

The nave reopens
After five years of works and twelve years of closure, the Grand Palais nave reopened its doors in September 2005 for the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days). The spectacle was worthy of the event. The whole space was filled with multicoloured lights, multiplied by angled mirrors. The vault of the nave and the sky were reflected on the ground. A sound composition fused early music with sounds from nature to create a contrasting ambience.
Coronelli's globes
In this poetic atmosphere, two magnificent globes were suspended from the vault. One represented the sky, the other the earth. They were created on the order of Louis XIV for a Venetian monk, Vincenzo Coronelli, the most celebrated geographer of his era. The monk travelled to Paris to supervise their creation between 1681 and 1683. Each weighs 2 tonnes and is 5 metres in diameter! Their presentation to the public marked the completion of their restoration.

Their presentation to the public marked the completion of their restoration.

"Jours de fête" at the Grand Palais
A few months after reopening, the nave was transformed into a funfair! In the centre, a 30-metre high big wheel offered exceptional views of Paris to visitors.

Young and old could be found wandering among the rides, attractions and snack stands.

Under the Europe's biggest glass roof, a huge skating rink has been built for sportsmen, amateur or ordinary visitors. An unforgettable experience.

Loyal to its primary function as a palace of fine art, from 2006 the Grand Palais has hosted the International Contemporary Art Fair.

The FIAC 2012

Monumenta was born from an astonishing concept: to invite a contemporary artist to create a work designed for the nave. German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer was the first to accept this challenge in 2007, with his work "Starfall" ("Sternenfall"). In 2008, the American artist Richard Serra presented "Promenade". This work consisted of five steel plates, each 17 metres in height and 4 metres wide, weighing in at 75 tonnes.

In 2010, Christian Boltanski filled the nave with his work entitled "Personnes".
In 2011, Anish Kapoor created "Leviathan". This monumental sculpture in inflatable PVC caused a genuine poetic and aesthetic impact.

In 2012, Daniel Buren presented the work "Excentrique(s), Travail in situ".

An exhibition open day and night
The 1966 Picasso exhibition had already proved to be a huge success. In winter 2009, a new exhibition placed the artist among the masters he admired: Ingres, Manet, le Greco, Velasquez, Goya... an impressive catalogue of 210 works. The extraordinary success of this exceptional exhibition meant that opening hours had to be extended: over the last weekend, it was open 24 hours a day. Outside in the cold, queues were extensive: up to 4 hours' wait for brave visitors without reservations. Hot drinks were handed out through the night. 47,949 art lovers passed through the doors in just a few hours.

L'expérience se renouvelle en 2010 pour l'exposition Claude Monet, puis d'autres par la suite.
Dehors, dans le froid, les files d'attente sont longues : jusqu'à quatre heures pour les courageux sans réservation. Des boissons chaudes sont distribuées toute la nuit. Ainsi, 47 949 amateurs se déplacent en quelques heures.


The "Claude Monet 1840-1926" exhibition was held in the National Galleries of the Grand Palais from 22 September 2010 to 24 January 2011, organised by the rmn-Grand Palais and the Musée d’Orsay. It traced the artist's career from his earliest works to his final Water Lilies paintings. Almost a million visitors were recorded.

The Salon d’Honneur
This magnificent space – covering 1,200 m2 and 17 metres in height, crowned by a superb glass roof and light oak flooring – was restored to its former splendour after two years of works. Designed by the architect Louvet in 1900, it was much in favour with the Parisian elite for its exhibitions and society events when it opened.
Paris Photo
Paris Photo, the international photography exhibition, is held in the nave of the Grand Palais in November. Every year more than one hundred galleries from around twenty countries gather to demonstrate the richness and vitality of photographic creativity from the past and present.
As one of France's greatest exports, fashion is regularly on display at the Grand Palais. Offering an exceptional setting for creations from the greatest fashion houses, the Grand Palais is one of the essential venues during Paris Fashion Week. Under the incomparable light of the nave, in the Salon d'Honneur or the Curved Gallery spaces, it's the amazing clothes that take centre stage during spectacular shows.
The worker bees of the Grand Palais
In May 2009, two hives containing around 60,000 bees were installed on the roof of the Grand Palais. Three more hives were added in 2011. The bees probably get their pollen from the Tuileries gardens, along with bees from the hives at the Opéra Garnier.

The bee hives corner on the roof of the Grand Palais.

The beautiful cars return
The Grand Palais is once again home to beautiful cars, having previously held the Paris Motor Show from 1901 to 1961. Since 1992, Peter Auto has organised a classic car rally that crosses the country, and competing vehicles (dating from 1951 to 1973) are exhibited in the nave before they set off.

The most beautiful cars at the Grand Palais, in 2012.

Saut Hermès
The Grand Palais had not hosted a horse show since 1957. But horses and riders have once again filled the hall since 2010.

Every year, Hermés organises a show jumping competition that recalls the early days of the nave.

Visit the nave of the Grand Palais

Credits: Story

We would like to thank all the people who have contributed to the construction of this journey through the Grand Palais and those who have given us valuable time and information as well as permission to reproduce their documentation.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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