The Grand Palais éphémère: an innovative, environmentally-friendly, architectural feat built

On 3 September 2020, the first arch of what would be the structural frame of the Temporary Grand Palais (Grand Palais Ephémère) was erected on Place Joffre in Paris. Eight months later, after the completion of a project that was remarkable in every aspect, the GL events Group is proud to announce the delivery of the Temporary Grand Palais, which is ready to host its first event.

Chosen as prime contractor after the call for tender co-organised in 2018 by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Consortium of French National Museums) and the Organising Committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games (COJOP Paris 2024), GL events was responsible for the design, production, and financing of this temporary building and will be in charge of its operation and dismantling.

Copyright : GL events - Wilmotte&Associés © LB

Since the project demanded the very highest standards and requirements, GL events launched a broad consultation process with the world's leading architects. The Group's aim was to deliver an original architectural design that would shake up the conventional codes associated with cultural and sporting events. With this in mind, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Wilmotte & Associés agency, was selected for the project. Working closely with GL events' teams, they designed a durable temporary building that blends in with the iconic setting of the Champ de Mars, in perfect harmony with the arches of the Eiffel Tower on one side and the historic façades of the Ecole Militaire (Military School) on the other.

The Temporary Grand Palais was born out of an ambition and objective that many believed impossible; it was achieved through the determination and expertise of the very best, united under the same banner in order to make a mark on history.

Everything about this project will be remembered as extraordinary and historic.

Copyright : GL events - Wilmotte&Associés © Frederic Bienne



Firstly, the investment and financial risk taken on and guaranteed by GL events, at a time when the world was gripped by an unforeseen and unprecedented health crisis (which had a major impact on the Group).
Secondly, the deadlines and speed of execution. Never before has a building of this scale had to overcome so many challenges and constraints linked to the nature of the site, and had to manage such significant risk. Despite all these difficulties, the Temporary Grand Palais was completed in less than eight months, and without the standards or requirements ever being lowered, whether in terms of health and safety inspections (the site even obtained the Safe and Clean certification from Apave) or the strict environmental commitments made to the contracting authorities.

A total of 500 tonnes of wood were used in total compliance with the requirements of the sustainable forestry sector.
All the 44 arches were pre-assembled in the factory to avoid nuisances for the local community and to reduce waste on the site itself. They were then lifted into place one after the other to form one of the most beautiful plenum spaces among all the Parisian monuments. The thermal and acoustic insulation used innovative technological solutions to guarantee a nuisance-free environment for local residents and on the site.

From the Joffre Statue to the 18th century balustrades, everything was protected and recovered by the historical heritage teams of the Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall). The cobblestones were re-laid one by one. The roads around the site were given back in a better condition than before the work. No trees were cut down (30 were even protected), a garden was added to one of the alleys of the Champ de Mars and rose bushes were replanted.

More than just a new venue

Now completed, the Temporary Grand Palais forms a "white cross", visible from the international space station. It has impeccable soundproofing and uses 100% renewable energy. As if by magic, it seems to have aligned itself perfectly between two buildings that represent the eternal and world-famous city of Paris. This venue now provides more than 10,000m2 for cultural events and sports competitions, offering limitless possibilities for creativity and expression for receptions and events.

GL events' teams, the architect, the subcontractors, the various French companies involved, and all those who worked on this project (sometimes day and night) can and should be proud of this architectural and environmental feat.

The Réunion des Musées Nationaux and COJOP Paris 2024 now have more than just a venue to bring their events to life over the next three years.
However, this achievement will have an additional legacy; when the building is dismantled it can be reinstalled elsewhere, for other events. It will therefore have several other lives in the future.

Because often, what is temporary is what makes the biggest impression and lasts the longest.

Copyright : GL events - Wilmotte&Associés © LB