The bridge which leads from the Annexe to the Panorama building, and which was built on the express orders of His Imperial Highness Prince Napoleon, in order to bring together the whole Exhibition, crosses the Cours-la-Reine, leaving free circulation of cars and pedestrians under its arches. It is linked to the two buildings by a double staircase, which starts on the ground floor of the Annexe, between columns 56 and 58, and ends in the axis of the former Panorama, now surrounded by two circular galleries, occupied almost entirely by the products of France; the outer part to the north forms the main buffet, the management of which has been entrusted to Chevet et Cie. This building continues through a vast vestibule to the main palace, the southern pavilion. This construction completely divides the area devoted to the Exhibition into two parts, between the main hall and the Annex, where some foreign products have been placed alongside French products. It will therefore be useful to take a look at this part of the Exhibition to show where each of them is located.
To the west of the Panorama, we find a number of isolated products and three main buildings: two of them are devoted to machinery and agricultural products, the third to bodywork.
In the large agricultural shed we find mainly French instruments. However, Belgium, Württemberg, Bavaria and Prussia (for their millstones only) each have a part in this building, towards its southern end, near the Avenue d'Antin. The machines of the agricultural industries occupy the whole length of the building: the threshing machines, the cleaners, the milling apparatus, form the most considerable contingent... The overflow has been placed outside; the Emperor's yacht, the navy propeller, the threshing machines of Mr. Duvoir, that of Mr. Roux, and a great number of agricultural implements, are in this case. Among the other objects placed in the enclosure, we shall particularly mention new anchors and turntables from England, a model of bridge, from Belgium, and some tents from the new world.
The other agricultural apparatus, among which is the very remarkable carousel of Mr. Pinet, is located between the Panorama and the agricultural shed, with several kiosks and construction models, several carts, and an atmospheric car for emptying, which is very interesting; these various objects occupy more especially the area surrounding the post office.
The agricultural products are grouped together to the north of the main gallery, near the carriage house. Of the two buildings devoted to this industry, it is the one situated in this part of the enclosure that is particularly devoted to the bodywork and luxury saddlery. The products of Belgium and Mexico occupy about one-sixth of its surface.c To the east of the Panorama, we find the ordinary bodywork, and part of that which is more especially related to the railway industry. The crews of the war, of a construction so well suited to the various purposes which they must satisfy, occupy a large place in this gallery, next to the products of Switzerland.
Towards the end of this shed we have very recently brought together, under the title of cheap exhibition, the products most remarkable for their low price and quality, and which seem to be best suited to the needs of the working classes.
Foreign fabrics form the most remarkable part of this exhibition; England, Prussia, and especially Austria, are placed in much more favourable conditions than ours for cheap production; the household utensils and ready-made garments of France are also very remarkable in this respect.
Towards the end of this special exhibition, some specimens of furnishings, some far too rich no doubt, but others more modest and better fulfilling the special conditions which we have sought to satisfy, deserve to be mentioned.
A special jury has been appointed to continue this work, which has barely begun, and of which we are still only seeing the first results; but what we must hope above all is that the prices announced are real and that the worker will not have the displeasure, when he wants to take advantage of the indications on the labels, of finding only products which have already been sold, or which he will not be able to obtain at the same price.
Not far away is Mr. Clark's house, which pretends to unite the various modes of habitation that could be provided for the working classes, at the most moderate prices. We must confess that there is nothing in this model of a working-class township that seems to us to live up to the promise, and we would gladly believe that many working-class people will agree with us.
The solution of the problem posed by the almost complete reconstruction of several districts of the capital, in relation to the housing of the working class population, must, in our opinion, have a much more moral and certain solution in measures which would have the effect of making the upper floors of ordinary houses available to the workers. By bringing the different classes of society more closely together, do we believe that incomparably more favourable results would not be obtained than by the creation of these unhealthy barracks, whatever may be done, which will always be a danger to morals and to opinions.
Around the house of Mr. Clark is the canteen for the workers of the Exhibition, and beside a well-kept lawn, a few isolated objects, among which we shall particularly mention the magnificent cast-iron gate of the André house; the candelabra of the same factory; a small fountain by Mr. Ducel; a kiosk by Mr. Tronchon; the beautiful groups of Mr. Lechesne executed in Roman cement; and finally, the special pavilion which contains the scientific instruments of Mr. Porro.
Having made this rapid examination, let us arrive at the main building, which was supposed to receive all the products exhibited, but which, as a result of the influx of requests, has been found to be far from sufficient.
©Visite à l’Exposition Universelle - 1855