FROM BEES TO FOOD (and back to design)
The most recent addition to the Grand Palais is its fashionista restaurant, the Mini Palais. Opened in the fall of 2010, it has clean minimalist lines, and like its larger counterpart (the unsurpassable Nave of the Grand Palais), is fully flooded in light despite the grey of Paris winter skies. The outstanding setting is between the Nave and the Colonnade — between the Palace’s metal structure and its stone façade. Warmer seasons afford a fittingly magnificent setting on the balcony, with views of the Alexandre III Bridge.
Upon entering the restaurant, one passes massive bronze doors of the Alexandre III Rotunda. They don’t fail to impress, nor do the delicately restored mosaics lining the floor. Redesigned by architects Gilles & Boissier, their aim was to resemble an artist’s workshop, whilst revealing the mammoth metal structures painted in the Grand Palais’s trademark mignonette green.
Eric Frechon, the restaurant’s consultant chef who holds three Michelin stars, has come up with an innovative menu including Clafoutis aux Cepes de Correze, Escargots dans leur Tomate cerise gratins au beurre d’Amande and Pluma de Cochon au Tandoori, Confit d’Oignon, Pommes Paille. Open from noon to midnight (2 AM on weekends), the Mini-Palais continues to cause a stir across Paris.
Reservations (01 42 56 42 42) are strongly suggested, unless you’re stopping in for a scrumptious dessert between lunch and dinner. Entrance: Avenue Winston-Churchill, Pont Alexandre-III 75008 (entrance via the Alexandre III Rotunda). Metro: Champs-Elysees Clemenceau / valet parking service is also provided.
As promised in the first of this 3-part series, here is a list of WOW Factor Facts:
- The Grand Palais was built in just 3 years, from 1897 to 1900
- Workforce on the construction site in 1900 at its peak: 1,500
- The flag flown over the building measures 4 x 6 m
- Facade perimeter: 1 km
- Total metal weight for the entire Grand Palais: 8,500 metric tons
- Weight of steel in the Nave: 6,000 metric tons
- Weight of the “mignonette green” paint inside the Nave: 60 metric tons
- Total stone weight: 200,000 metric tons
- Working area: 72,000 m2
- Nave floor space: 13 500 m2
- Nave length: 200 m
- Height: 45 m under the dome