The 1900 Universal Exhibition

Universal exhibitions in Paris

- 18 January 2012
A true story of Paris
Throughout the second half of the 19th century, Universal Exhibitions were a regular feature on the calendar of the leading European capitals. The boldness of the organisers' projects challenged architects' imagination and, while it was commonplace for even the most grandiose constructions to be pulled down when the show was over, others like the Eiffel Tower (1889) and the Grand Palais (1900) indelibly modified the Paris skyline.

Plans for the 1900 exhibition

- 18 January 2012
The build up to 1900…
The Universal Exhibitions were now firmly established in an eleven-year cycle. These-crowd-stunning spectaculars were becoming increasingly grandiose. Ushering in a new century, the 1900 edition had to outdo everything that had gone before. Yet what could compete with the Eiffel Tower, highlight of the previous exhibition? The idea of the Grand Palais took shape.

Successful bids

- 18 January 2012
Imagination at the helm
The decision to create a new palace for the fine arts was taken as a result of a competition launched in 1894. The edifice was planned to be part of a vast architectural complex that would substantially modify the western part of Paris. Two years later, an architectural competition gave the building its final configuration.

Construction

- 18 January 2012
Construction on an epic scale
The completion of the Grand Palais in just three years, in time for the opening of the Universal Exhibition, was a huge challenge and the construction site was of epic proportions. Yet despite a number of nasty surprises and delays, construction was completed to schedule. The result was a triumph: a true architectural feat combining highly dissimilar materials: steel, stone and glass.

L’ouverture de l’Exposition universelle de 1900

- 18 January 2012
« Je déclare l’Exposition universelle ouverte »
Pendant trois ans, architectes et ouvriers ont travaillé sans relâche pour l'Exposition universelle de 1900. Le jour de l'inauguration, Paris peut enfin dévoiler ses nouvelles splendeurs : le pont Alexandre-III qui, enjambant la Seine, unit les Invalides aux Champs-Élysées, et surtout, le Petit et le Grand Palais qui bordent l'avenue Nicolas-II (auj. Winston-Churchill).