11/08/2022

1900, Paris FR – Exposition Universelle

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1900 Paris

Name:Exposition Universelle
Dates:15 Apr – 12 Nov 1900
Days:211 days
Venue:Champ-de-Mars, Les Invalides, Chaillot Palais du Trocadéro, Grand Palais,
Petit Palais and a host of other pavilions – 120 ha (297 acres)
Theme:‘The balance of a century’ featuring the Belle Époque and Art Nouveau.
Held alongside the second modern Olympic Games.
The Eiffel Tower was painted yellow to mark the co- location.
Exhibitors:83,000 exhibitors from 42 nations and 25 colonies
Awards:Winners were given a pin and 100 francs to pay for their own medal
Visitors:39,027,177 paid entries, total visitors inc staff was 50,860,801, this total included
the Vincennes auxiliary site, Admission 1 to 2 francs
Legacy:Costs had been 119m FFr. Though profits were 7m FFr the event led to
‘exhibition fatigue’ as expositions began to be seen as a burden.
Paris did not run another World Fair until 1937.
Entrance under the yellow towe

There had been rumours of a German Exposition being planned by Kaiser Wilhelm, but the French sent out their invitations first. The event was organised by the French Third Republic. Alfred Picard was the Commissaire général and the Architectural Director was J-A Bouvard.

The Exposition was underwritten by the French State and by the City of Paris, supported further by public investors.

1900 View of Paris showing the exposition site

The venue was the Champ-de-Mars, Les Invalides, Chaillot Palais du Trocadéro, Grand Palais, Petit Palais and a host of other pavilions, plus the Olympics Vincennes site, where exhibits were placed to effectively twin the events. Both the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower were incoporated into the showgrounds.

Grand Palais interior with sculpture on display

A number of the new buildings were designed to be Art Nouveau, the Grand and Petit Palais would become the Parim Museum of Fine Arts.

1900 Le Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palais

A new bridge, the Alexander III bridge, was built to link the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the. Esplanade des Invalides.

One hundred and seventy-five pavilions and thirty-six national pavilions were located in a double row along the Quai d’ Orsay.

The Palais d’Electricité was illuminated by electrical lights.

1900 La Porte Monumentale (main entrance

La Porte Monumentale Paris was an ornamental entrance, on the Place de la Concord. It resembled a branded stove so became known as la Salamandre after the marque. Atop the arch was a large Moreau-Vauthier statue called la Parisienne but she was considered rather vulgar.

There was a large area for automotive exhibits and a section presenting flying machines.

Exhibitors were variously reported as representing 42 nations and 25 colonies. Those named were (those emboldened had their own pavilion): Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Great Britain (inc Canada, India, Western Australia), Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Netherlands (inc Dutch Indies and Western Sumatra), Peru, Persia, Portugal (inc colonial pavilion), Romania, Russia (inc Finland), Salvador, San Marino, Serbia, Siam, South Africa (inc Orange Free State and Transvaal), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United States,

Rue des Nations – from left-to-right: Belgium, Norway, Germany,
Spain, Monaco, Sweden, Greece and Serbia

Turkish pavilion

Italian pavilion

There were also many French Colonies/Protectorates – Algeria, Dahomey, French Congo, French Guiana, French India, French Oceania, French Somalia, Guyana, Indochina (inc Cambodia/Tonkin), Guadeloupe, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Martinique, Mayotte et les Comores, New Caledonia, Reunion, St. Peter and Michael, Senegal, Sudan and Tunisia.

A programme of light and water was run at the Chateau d’Eau every night.

Globe Céleste, a large globe WAS set beside the Eiffel Tower, internally offered panoramas of the solar system The event also had a large number of colonial exhibits featuring small ethnographic villages, criticised later as human zoos, highlighting African primitiveness to underline the French civilising mission.

1900 Great Exposition Refracting Telescope

The Great Exposition Refracting Telescope, 60m (200 ft) long, 1.25m (49-inch) diameter, with little scientific application it was dismantled post-exposition.

1900 La Grande Roue

The Grande Roue was a 100m (328 ft) tall Ferris wheel, the tallest in the world at the time. The cabins were so large that they were removed and used to house Parisian families during WWI. They were later used for antique and bric-a-brac stalls becoming named the Swiss Village after the exposition feature.

The rottoir roulant as it approached the
Quai d’Orsay-Pont des Invalides station

Trottoirs roulants (pedestrian automated walkways) operated at two speeds for a fee of 50 centimes, and an electric train travelled around the fairground in twenty minutes.

Poster for the phono-cinema theater

Product launches included: early techniques for talking movies; X-rays; diesel engines and turbines; ; a magnetic audio recorder; the telegraphone; the first popularisation of Russian matryoshka or babushka nesting dolls; and Campbell’s Soup won a gold award.

The visitor attendance was 39,027,177 in terms of paid-entries, and the total visitors inc staff was 50,860,801, this total included the Vincennes auxiliary site. Admission was 1 to 2 FFr. The organisers had ambitiously set their goal at 100m visitors and so there was some disappointment with this data. Concessionaries went on strike and received a small site rent reduction.

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