Paris Grand Palais to close in 2020 for restoration works

We were apprehensively waiting for it: the Grand Palais will close from December 2020 to March 2023 to reopen before the Olympics 2024. Announced by Françoise Nyssen, this 2-year schedule to renovate one of Paris greatest monuments puts an end to long debates about costs, to be continued!

Already announced in 2010, Grand Palais restoration works have been delayed across the years: how come? Renovation costs have been first estimated to 236 million and re-estimated to 390 million euros under the François Hollande presidency, without being validated, and now, restoration works will cost some 466 million euros.

Fair enough, the new culture minister Françoise Nyssen decided to pay no heed to budgetary problems and gave the budget the green light: €128M of subsidies from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, €160M of subsidies from the “Grand Plan d’investissement” [Large Investment Plan], €150M of Rmn-GP loan, €25M from Rmn-GP patronage, €3M of museography Universcience partnerships.

The construction site is of epic proportions. According to Culture minister Françoise Nyssen, “[Grand Palais] is now in an extreme state of dilapidation and fragility that, over time, it jeopardizes its capacity to remain open to the public and needs upgrading up to standards. Beyond restoring the historic monument, works will aim at dramatically transform the distribution of the spaces, including the creation of Rue des Palais and the deep modernization of the building functioning.”

Grand Palais works will revolve around several points:

  • Securing the monument and returning its volumes, flows, decors
    Currently, Grand Palais is parceled out and divided up, which prevents from grasping its size (70,000 sqm). We all know the Grande Nef d’Europe, 13.500 sqm) topped by a glass-roof covering 17,500 sqm, the Salon d’Honneur, the Galeries Nationales, the Palais d’Antin, that has been housing Palais de la Découverte since 1937… Yet, we couldn’t imagine that it’s one and one building only, the same that has been imagined in 1900! So, Grand Palais and Palais de la Découverte will be gathered up, including perceivable and secured areas for visitors.

Le Grand Palais va fermer en 2020 pour de grands travaux

  • Reinforcing Grand Palais domestic and international drawing power in the field of shows and privatizations
    After the works, the Grande Nef will be able to welcome about 11,000 people (twice as many of the current capacity). Its balconies, accessible to the public, will be linked to the whole galleries allowing an exceptional 22,300-sqm layout to welcome wide-ranging events. Areas currently closed to the public will be opened including reception rooms of varied sizes and catering areas.

Le Grand Palais va fermer en 2020 pour de grands travaux

Le Grand Palais va fermer en 2020 pour de grands travaux

  • Modernizing Palais de la Découverte to make sciences accessible to all
    Grand Palais works will be the occasion to rethink Palais de la Découverte, open since 1937 and never renovated since then. The aging museography will be entirely corrected thanks to digital while keeping the same proximity with young people thanks to the scientific mediation and the on-spot experimentations.

Le Grand Palais va fermer en 2020 pour de grands travaux

  • Displaying wider exhibitions
    In the future Grand Palais, 6 adjustable exhibition galleries, from 500-sqm to 600-sqm each, will allow to think wider temporary exhibitions, as well as areas for a permanent tour promoting French art thanks to funds from the Agence Photographique de la Rmn-Grand Palais [Rmn-Grand Palais Photography Agency], the room displaying Grand Palais story, the Salle du Trésor [treasure room] regularly displaying a work coming from domestic and territorial collections.

This project is entrusted to François Chatillon, chief architect of the Historic Monuments from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, who has been driven by the harsh observation that “visitors who make the link between the glass-roof, the Galeries Nationales and Palais de la Découverte are rare; even rarer than those able to name Grand Palais architects.

Changes conducted over time for using matters ended up by screening the great strength of the plan outline and the high volumes. Issues of this restoration consist in unveiling its outline and organization, rediscovering its incredible luminosity and revealing its decors”.

So, for this work site, François Chatillon asked out Umberto Napolitano and Benoît Jallon from the LAN Agency. This agency is entrusted with the construction of the Théâtre du Maillon in Strasbourg, development and coordination of new neighborhoods in Bordeaux and Nantes or the construction of one of the highest wood building in France as well.

We are eager to visit Grand Palais 2.0.!

Elodie D.
Last updated on 13 February 2018

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