With the Paris Olympics just weeks away, our city is getting ready for its close-up!


It’s not just about the sporting events. All over Paris, landmarks and monuments are being carefully restored, to look their very best for the millions of visitors headed here – and the millions more watching at home.


We take a look at some of these renewed architectural wonders – sure to be of interest to readers of the 56Paris blog.



Paris 2024 – the Summer Olympics


The 2024 Summer Olympics begin officially on Friday July 26, and will take over our city for two weeks.


Announced as the host city back in 2017, preparations have been taking place in Paris ever since. Part of these plans include a major beautification project, instigated by the French Ministry of Culture.


But this is more than just a fresh coat of paint. It’s actually about preserving our city’s rich heritage for generations to come.



Masterminded by Ateliers de France


Ateliers de France is a consortium of over 50 specialized artisan companies.


These skilled artists are masters of everything from gold leafing and decorative painting to leatherwork and stonemasonry. They often use traditional techniques, some of which have barely changed since the 17th century.


Before the Paris Olympics, they worked on some of the most prestigious properties in the world – including the Oval Office in the White House.


And now, they’re giving the iconic buildings such as the Grand Palais and Palais Garnier a makeover, along with many more landmarks dotted around the city.



A grand restoration at the Grand Palais


Set in the heart of Paris on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Grand Palais is receiving the biggest transformation for the Paris Olympics.


This Belle Époque masterpiece, built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, is the venue for fencing and taekwondo competitions.


Thanks to the combined efforts of over 1,000 artisans, the Grand Palais is experiencing a monumental revival. The fashion house Chanel is also supporting the work.


Imagine a cathedral-like space bathed in natural light – that's the experience that awaits visitors to the restored nave.


VLD, a company specializing in metalwork, then meticulously restored the 3,600 feet of guardrails and the famed Escalier d’Honneur (Staircase of Honor). They even managed to unearth the original shade of black paint, hidden beneath layers of time.


In total, the staircase case uses more iron than the Eiffel Tower!


This meticulous restoration goes beyond aesthetics. Partitions have been torn down and long bricked-up windows reopened throughout the building – increasing the capacity and bringing a sense of openness to the nave. Before it could host 5,600 visitors, now it’s around 9000.


Palais Garnier Opera and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel


More restoration work is taking place at the iconic Palais Garnier Opera House.


The inspiration for Phantom of the Opera, here specialists in decorative painting have transformed the comedy and tragedy masks on the facade. Newly regilded, they now shine brightly!


Meanwhile, across from the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel has been revived. Built in the early 19th century to celebrate Napoleon’s victories, this is about half the size of the better-known Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées.


The once-faded red marble columns and friezes are now vibrant, and back to their former glory.



More improvements for the Paris Olympics


The restoration work extends far beyond these buildings.


At the Palace of Versailles, where equestrian events are taking place this summer, more changes are underway. This includes a restoration of the Hall of Mirrors and the majestic Buffet d’Eau fountain.


On the Place de la Concorde, a temporary urban sports arena hosting skateboarding, BMX and breakdance events is in place. But behind this, the old guerites (sentry boxes) are all now restored.


One of the largest green spaces in Paris, the Champ-de-Mars, is the site for beach volleyball. Here, the sculptures adorning the École Militaire façade have all been cleaned and restored too.


And finally, at the north end of the Champ-de-Mars is the most iconic landmark of all – the Eiffel Tower. While nothing too dramatic is happening here, Ateliers de France and Monnaie France have collaborated on a fresh coat of paint!


The Olympic ‘rings’ are also in place on the first and second floors of the tower. It took four cranes to lift them into place.



Finding the right property for you


Whether you’re attending the Paris Olympics in person, or watching on television, be sure to look out for these renewed Paris landmarks.


If this inspires you to spend more time in our city, we can help find you the perfect apartment in Paris to purchase or rent. Feel free to get in touch with our team of English-speaking property experts.


You can also follow our social media platforms FacebookXInstagram, and Pinterest for more news from Paris.

Photos: Peter Rivera, isogood, Billy Wilson, Moonik