Next to the Palace of Agriculture and Horticulture, the Palace of the Automobile and Aeronautics, an industry which, since the Brussels Exhibition in 1910, France has been keen to put in the limelight, was one of those which attracted the curiosity of the visitors.
The automobile industry is one of the richest jewels in France's industrial crown. Born some twenty years ago, this sport has followed an upward march which can be measured by the export figures. These, which reached a value of ten million francs in 1900, rose to 220 million in 1912.
If the French automobile industry has acquired a universal reputation for the perfection and luxury of its products, the curiosity it aroused in the past has now turned to another means of locomotion: the aeroplane.
France, which has so many famous manufacturers, so many pilots who, by their records and their daring moves, have brought world fame to the aircraft they fly, wanted this part of its participation to be worthy of the fame it had earned.
French aeronautics had an importance in Ghent that it had never had in any other World's Fair. Thanks to the benevolent support of the Minister of Public Works, the organisers were able to present visitors with a chronological history of French aeronautics, from the ancient hot-air balloon to modern aeronats and aeroplanes, by means of life-size or scale models.
The aeronautical exhibition could be counted among the most sensational elements of the French Section.
©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle & Internationale de Gand 1913