Built at the same time as the Petit Palais and the Pont Alexandre III, four architects were involved: the main facade was the work of Henri Deglane, the opposite side the work of Albert-Félix-Théophile Thomas, the interior and the other two ends given to Albert Louvet, with the entire job supervised by Charles Girault. (All four had been winners of the Prix de Rome for architecture.) The building facade is a prototypical example of Beaux-Arts architecture, and the main roof is an expanse of steel and glass.
All of the exterior of this massive palace combines an imposing Classical stone façade with a riot of Art Nouveau ironwork, and a number of allegorical statue groups including work by sculptors Paul Gasq and Alfred Boucher. Two monumental bronze quadrigas by Georges Récipon terminate each wing of the main facade.
The building was closed for 12 years for extensive restoration work after one of the glass ceiling panels fell in 1993. It reopened on Saturday 24 September 2005.
A little known fact is that the Grand Palais has a major police station in the basement which helps protect the exhibits on show in the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, and particularly the picture exhibition "Salons" as the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, Salon d'Automne and Salon "Comparaisons". The building's west wing also contains a science museum, the Palais de la Découverte.
The couture fashion house Chanel annually hosts many fashion shows here.