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City of Information -

City of Information at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1931
Architect(s) : Chevalier et Bourgon

Here you are immediately at the entrance to a considerable and very modern-looking monument: its original creation is due to the personal initiative of Marshal Lyautey, who is also a great economist. His views are of a well-known breadth and height: he wanted to put at your disposal, from the very beginning of your visit, an office of order and centralisation, a table of contents and, if you are a businessman, a working tool.
The monument does not have a colonial aspect: that is because you are first of all a man from the metropolis. But as soon as you have entered the metal arches and the glass roofs, you will immediately be a man introduced to colonial life in its most practical sense, that is, close to your curiosity and your interests.
I told you that, for lack of space, I could only be a sentimental guide for you and that it would be impossible for me to enumerate, in this small volume, all the details of what the Colonial Exhibition contains. The City of Information will immediately fill this material gap. In its 19,000 square metres, you will find, first of all, general information capable of enlightening your mind and giving meaning to the many different images that will parade before your eyes.

First of all, here are the offices on either side of the garden. The frieze in relief which decorates their facade represents the main scenes of colonial life.
Inside, if you are at all curious, you will find maps, statistics, graphs, economic data that you can consult at your leisure, and brochures and catalogues that provide you with a summary of their colonial efforts.

As for the French section, it offers you a general inventory of our colonies: economy, production, administration, public works, navigation, colonisation, politics, mines, commercial markets, transport, hygiene, social life, education. Heads of department, with a perfect experience of the colony they represent, give you all the information of a general or practical nature. A study and a library will be open to you so that you can write your notes and orders, and make comparisons on paper at your leisure.

Further afield, it is the great Chambers of Commerce and the great Associations which are multiplying their efforts to develop, in our colonies, the production of the raw materials necessary for our industry and our consumption. The public is too little informed about the serious issues that dominate its economy. By means of graphs and illustrations, the past, present and possibilities of our colonial production are established here in a striking manner and made available to all.

Faced with these studies and results, France has invited the powers to compare and contrast their principles of colonisation, their indigenous policy, their efforts and their successes. Comparisons which will be for us necessary and profitable lessons.

And now enter the Great Hall. Everything has been prepared for your convenience. Here you have the ability to do your mail and put it in the post, to telegraph, to take passage on any ship or railway ticket. You can collect or buy a cheque, buy colonial stamps, medals and books, plan a trip, follow the price of securities, listen to all the radio stations, telephone; all this at the very place where the great congresses and colonial weeks will be held periodically.

Finally, planispheres locate on the surface of the globe the vast spectacles which will be offered to you; a luminous Journal gives you the news relating to the Exhibition and the colonial movement, thus completing the stand of the French and foreign Press organized by the Federation of French Newspapers.

Above all, do not leave the Cité or the Exhibition without visiting the cinema. Not only is it free and permanent, but you will never have to wait: it has 1,500 seats.

What else can I tell you? If you are a philatelist, you will be delighted. If you are a doctor, you will have the opportunity to deal with diseases that are still unknown in our countries, but which we must protect ourselves from. In short, whatever your career, whatever your profession, you will leave here informed.

A well-informed man is worth two, as they say. Today, a well-informed man is worth a hundred...

©Guide officiel - Exposition Coloniale Internationale - Paris 1931