Pavilions of the 1900 Universal Exhibition

Learn about the temporary national pavilions built on the bank of the Seine

The 1900 Paris Exposition, overview, Seine river bank (1900) by AnonymousÉcole Polytechnique

The 1900 World's Fair

The 1900 World's Fair was the 5th to be held in Paris in less than fifty years, following those of 1855, 1867, 1878 and 1889. The theme was “Looking back on a century” and was the birthplace of a number of technical and scientific innovations.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, overview, Seine river bank (1900) by AnonymousÉcole Polytechnique

The Nations along the Seine

The Nations pavilions were spread across the entire length of the World's Fair, with a concentration on the Left Bank of the Seine, on the Quai des Nations between the Pont des Invalides and the Pont de l'Alma. But also on the Quai d'Orsay, the Champ de Mars, the Trocadero.

1900 World's Fair: the Quai des Nations (1900) by E. GaillardÉcole Polytechnique

40 nations represented

These 40 nations represent almost all the countries in the world as it existed in 1900.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, Pavilion of the United States (1900) by Neurdein frèresÉcole Polytechnique

The United States pavilion

The U.S. pavilion was used as a “club” for U.S. citizens in Paris. The entrance was surmounted by a quadriga, the chariot of progress driven by liberty, guided by two children. At the quayside was the equestrian statue of George Washington.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, pagoda (1900) by A. ChevojonÉcole Polytechnique

Pavilion of Korea

A 320-square-meter building, Avenue de Suffren, built entirely of painted wood with a broad tiled roof, was gilded and colorfully framed. The porch was a reproduction of a Seoul residential door. The interior was inspired by one of the courtrooms in Seoul's old imperial palace.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, Palace of Belgium (1900) by AnonymousÉcole Polytechnique

Belgium : an exact replica

The Belgian government had built a life-size reproduction of the town hall in Oudenaarde. Thanks to the good coloring of the plaster, the public experienced a complete illusion of the original, built between 1525 and 1530 by Van Peede.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, Section of the Chinese Empire (1899) by Louis Masson-DétourbetÉcole Polytechnique

The Empire of China section

Located on the Trocadero, it occupied 3,400 m2. A stream ran through its rocks. One of the pavilions was a copy of one of  the Imperial Palace of Peking. The great palace represented one of the nine gates that pierce Beijing's fortified enclosure.

Wolrd's Exhibition of 1900 : Palace of Nations, Serbia (1900)École Polytechnique

Serbia, the first nation to join the World's Fair

Serbia was the first nation to confirm its presence at the 1900 Universal Exhibition, in September 1895. The pavilion was set against the Pont de l'Alma. Inspired for its motifs by various Serbian-Byzantine monasteries, it featured an ethnographic museum.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, the Eiffel Tower seen from the Trocadéro (1900) by AnonymousÉcole Polytechnique

The Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, then called the 300-meter Tower, was built for the 1889 exhibition. Together with the Champ de Mars, this area housed pavilions with technical and industrial themes, as well as national pavilions such as those of Ecuador, Morocco, San Marino and Switzerland.

1900 Universal Exhibition: Ecuador pavilion (1900) by L. BaschetÉcole Polytechnique

Ecuador at the foot of the Eiffel Tower

The Ecuador pavilion featured a large bay with a stained-glass window symbolizing the country. It was to be dismantled at the end of the Exhibition and reassembled in Ecuador as a public library.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, the Globe Céleste (1900) by AnonymousÉcole Polytechnique

A celestial globe 45 metres in diameter

Visitors could step inside the globe and discover a representation of the celestial vault.

Picard, Maurice Alfred (X 1862 ; 1844-1913). (1864) by Alfred CailliezÉcole Polytechnique

Alfred Picard, general commissioner

Civil engineer, he was general reporter for the 1889 Exhibition, general commissioner for the 1900 Exhibition. Student at the Ecole polytechnique in 1862-1864, he donated a collection of photographs as well as the complete collection of reports.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, Royal British Pavilion (1900) by Edwin Landseer LutyensÉcole Polytechnique

Palace of Great Britain

This 554m² palace is a typical 17th-century English Kingston House in Bradford-on-Avon. The architect, Mr. Edwin Lutyens, was inspired by the James I style. He used only steel, cement and plaster for the mass of the building, to protect the works on display in the palace.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, Pavilion of Sweden (1899) by H. Sinding-LarsenÉcole Polytechnique

The Palace of Sweden, made of wood

The palace's light construction was designed by architect Mr. Boberg to give an impression of elegance and cheerfulness. The architecture, created for the World's Fair, is made of Swedish wood and painted brown, red, yellow and green. Visitors were astonished by the palace.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, Pavilion of Austria (1900) by Ludwig BaumannÉcole Polytechnique

Baroque at the Austrian Palace

The Austrian palace included many elements manufactured in Austria and transported to Paris, including sculptures by Theodore Friedl, as well as the entire decoration. The architect was Ludwig Baumann, who would go on to design many of Vienna's public buildings.

World Exhibition (1900) by AnonymousÉcole Polytechnique

Palace of South Africa

This Palace was located on the Trocadero. Built on a square plan measuring 13.4 m on each side, its architecture is reminiscent of the Dutch style. The World's Fair coincided with painful circumstances for the Republic of South Africa, as it took place during The Second Boer War.

The 1900 Paris Exposition, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Invalides, Anonymous, 1900, From the collection of: École Polytechnique
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What remains of the 1900 exhibition? The Grand and Petit Palais, two railway stations (now the Musée d'Orsay and the Gare des Invalides), the Pont Alexandre III, the Debilly footbridge... Two pavilions were dismantled and reassembled in their respective countries: the Greek Pavilion, located on the Quai des Nations, is now in Athens, where it forms the Agios Sostis church. The Peruvian Pavilion was moved to Lima in 1903. Today it housed the Centro de Estudios Histórico Militares.

Credits: Story

École polytechnique (2024)
Centre de ressources historiques/Mus'X

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