The Paris city council approved plans in July to construct a temporary venue in the Champ de Mars gardens, near the Eiffel Tower to host most events usually held at the Grand Palais. That historic venue will undergo extensive renovation from January 2021 to Spring 2023. Fairs including Paris Photo, FIAC and La Biennale Paris will be forced to relocate to the temporary semi-permanent structure on the Plateau Joffre. All three shows have agreed to relocate during the renovations.
The Grand Palais was built in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) and has undergone renovation to various sections on several past occasions, but this will be the first major renovation and expansion. During the 2024 summer Olympics, fencing and taekwondo will be held at the famous site. The Exposition Universelle took place at the Champ de Mars in the 19th and early 20th century.
A spokeswoman for the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN), the government cultural body that runs the Grand Palais, says: "This temporary venue will house fairs and events such as Fiac, Paris Photo and La Biennale Paris, and Art Paris, but not temporary exhibitions." Fashion and sports events will also take place in the Champ de Mars venue.
Florence Bourgeois, director of Paris Photo, said that the move is "a challenge of course, but the solution is very interesting."
She added that the photography fair "would never have moved out to the suburbs. Our selection committee is excited, and it will be a different experience for collectors."
This year's Paris Photo will be held at the Grand Palais from Wednesday, November 7 to Sunday, November 11.
"Now that we have clarity, I think galleries will remain on board. They're excited and want to participate in this new chapter [of FIAC]," says the director of FIAC, Jennifer Flay. "We will not be at the Grand Palais for two editions, and could not sustain being away any longer," she added.
Mathias Ary Jan, the president of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, which organises La Biennale Paris, said, "La Biennale Paris is looking forward to the renovation of the Grand Palais. The location chosen by the RMN and the City of Paris is a perfect site: central and symbolic. It will be a structure the same size as the Grand Palais."