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The World Exposition of 1889 in Paris. Why have a World Exposition? . Each universal exposition was a showcase from the middle of the 19th century for French technical and scientific progress Before the 1889 exposition, there had been others: 1855, 1867 and 1878. 1889.

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Why have a world exposition
Why have a World Exposition?

  • Each universal exposition was a showcase from the middle of the 19th century for French technical and scientific progress

  • Before the 1889 exposition, there had been others: 1855, 1867 and 1878


  • 1789 was the year which saw the Storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.

  • 1889 – The French Revolution celebrated its centenary and France wanted to commemorate this with a World Expo.

Where would the expo be held
Where would the Expo be held?

  • In all it covered 96 hectares

  • le Champs de Mars

  • le Trocadéro

  • le quai d'Orsay

  • A part of the Seine river

  • The Esplanade in front of Les Invalides.

    • On the right, the Champs de Mars.

How did the french feel about this
How did the French feel about this?

  • The French were not at all in agreement with celebrating the Revolution.

  • Even worse, the majority of countries invited were monarchies. They certainly did not want to encourage a celebration that commemorated a revolution!

  • Consequently the international profile of the Expo was a little « fragile » during the preparations for the event.

The participants
The participants?

  • Nevertheless, some countries wanted to participate indirectly in the Expo.

    • Greece

    • Japan

    • Serbia

    • Persia

    • Siam (now Thailand)

    • Turkey

    • Russia

    • The majority of Latin American countries.


  • What could be done to attract people?

  • You could offer “a magic garden” in “fairyland” ?

  • World Expo not only offered this but also much more

A special attraction
A special attraction.

  • To be assured of an international customer base, there had to be an attraction that was « different ».

  • An architectural competition was organised.

  • More than 107 entrants suggested projects that were varied and even weird.

  • One of them was for an enormous guillotine 30 metres in height!

The eiffel tower
The Eiffel Tower

  • The supreme symbol for the 1889 Expo was obviously the Eiffel Tower.

  • However, the Tower was not really liked by the Parisians.

  • A petition from 47 famous artists called it « a useless and monstrous building. »

  • They demanded that work should be stopped on the Tower.

An unworthy monument
An unworthy monument.

  • People thought that the Eiffel Tower had no place on the Parisian landscape beside other, more noble, monuments.


  • Expo 1889 introduced a important innovation: the use of electricity

    • Bridges

    • Gardens

    • Pavilions

    • And the Eiffel Tower

      were all illuminated.

  • The Eiffel Tower was literally enveloped in light rays

  • It had a very powerful light at its top (see the photo at the right)

Modern life
Modern life.

  • The introduction of electricity changed visitors’ habits.

  • You could visit the Expo at night

  • The opening hours were extended to midnight

  • It marked the beginning of modern urban life.

Gustav eiffel
Gustav Eiffel

  • Mr. Eiffel had an office at the top of the tower, where he went to work every day.

  • He had an immense pride in the project, which lasted for the rest of his life.

La galerie des machines
La Galerie des Machines

  • This is «  la galerie des machines », which no longer exists, for it was demolished in 1910-1911.

La galerie de machines
La Galerie de Machines

  • The huge building was 420 metres long, 115 metres wide and 43 metres high!

  • It was one of the biggest building in existence and, at the time, had a greater importance than the Eiffel Tower.


  • What would you wear going to the Expo?

  • Here’s a picture from « Figaro Exposition 1889 » – the English version.

  • A lady dressed up to her nines is visiting the Expo.

Facts and figures 1
Facts and figures 1.

  • Expo accounts

  • Expenses : 41 500 000 Fr

  • Receipts : 49 500 000 Fr

  • Profits : 8 000 000 Fr

    • An entry ticket

Facts and figures 2
Facts and figures 2

  • Number of visitors :

    28 000 000

  • Number of exhibitors :

    61 722