Balloons in the Grand Palais


Autochrome by Léon Gimpel.

The Grand Palais exhibition hall in Paris is one of the few sites remaining from the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (see yesterday’s post), and is still in use today as a venue for art exhibits, fashion shows and the like. The huge and graceful canopy ceiling makes it a far better venue for art events than the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern, London, which suffers from being narrow, lightless and bisected by a concrete walkway.


Nine years after the Exposition the first Paris Air Show was held at the Grand Palais giving us these photos of the place filled with a variety of balloons and a blimp. I’m wondering now whether you could fit an entire Zeppelin inside the nave (probably not), although even if it fit there’d be no way to get it inside without demolishing a wall.

The current Grand Palais site has a section devoted to the history of the building which includes this surprising photo from 1937 showing the Beaux Arts structure covered in a Deco-style disguise.





Previously on { feuilleton }
Paris III: Le Grande Répertoire–Machines de Spectacle

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