we visited the Grand Palais (almost) in Olympic configuration

It is one of the most emblematic projects of Paris 2024: the Grand Palais, between Seine and Champs-Elysées, will host the fencing and taekwondo events this summer. franceinfo was able to visit it in preview.


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The glass roof of the nave of the Grand Palais, in Paris, April 2024 (PAUL BARCELONNE / FRANCEINFO / RADIO FRANCE)

The Paris Olympic Games are approaching: Wednesday April 17 we will be 100 days from the opening ceremony. Work on the future Olympic sites is nearing completion, some equipment has even already been delivered. The President of the Republic is visiting the Grand Palais construction site on Monday, which Franceinfo was able to visit in preview.

There is at first a feeling of dizziness upon entering this immense nave of the Grand Palais, more than 17,000 m2 of a gigantic glass roof. This is where the fencing and taekwondo events will take place.
“The eight fencing tracks will be installed in the center of the naveconfirms Daniel Sancho, the works director of the Grand Palais. And on each side, in the north and south naves, two tiers of 4 will be installed. 000 places approximately each. You have to imagine this nave full like an egg !”

The Grand Palais will be able to accommodate a total of some 9,000 spectators, compared to only 5,000 before its closure in March 2021. More than three years of expansion work, renovation of the balconies, the central slab… A titanic project, of almost 500 million euros, which is now at the finishing stage and the final touches provided by the organization of the Olympic Games: “Here, a coat of paint on the emergency exits, there, a floor resin… For fencing, we can’t have the sun, explains Daniel Sancho. So we are going to conceal it using a light curtain stretched on the underside of the frame, it is essential.”

The work is being completed under the glass roof of the Grand Palais.  Paris, April 2024 (PAUL BARCELONNE / FRANCEINFO / RADIO FRANCE)

All you have to do is imagine the athletes leaving the main room and taking the majestic staircase. “The steps were redone in Comblanchien, the paint and brass railings were taken up, as well as the gilding and bronzines.” The nave and its main staircase will be returned to the public 15 days after the end of the events: part of the legacy of the Olympic Games.

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