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Stairs - Expo Paris 1889

Stairs at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889

At each of the east and west piers there are straight staircases 1 metre wide, with numerous landings giving very easy access to the first floor.

Beyond the first floor and up to the second, in each of the four piers, a spiral staircase 0.60 m wide has been laid out; two of these staircases, the second and the fourth, are used for the ascent of visitors and the other two for the descent.

They thus ensure the circulation of approximately 2,000 people per hour.
Climbing the stairs. - We encourage visitors to climb the stairs at least once. Nothing is more curious than this slow ascent, often interrupted by sudden returns and capricious flights: it alone allows one to study all the details of this immense aviary, with its gigantic red mesh in which one seems imprisoned.

At each level, the view changes and the horizon becomes wider, while at your feet the Champ de Mars gradually unfolds, this enormous hive with its noisy flowerbeds, its gigantic farms and its formidable galleries, which seems to be moving away, merging and dying out.

Above you, the immense carcass of a huge ship whose moorings and ropes are endless trails of very fine, very round and very red iron.

In front of you, along an inclined plane, two enormous rails: this is the lift's path. A little higher, the cellars and kitchens of the restaurants; higher still, the first platform.

At this moment the iron entanglements follow one another, more prodigious, more indescribable and more numerous; the meshes become tighter, the lines more bizarre, the designs more extraordinary, the curves lighter and crazier; then, all around you, with its golden domes, its spires, its enclosure, its columns and its woods, from all points of the horizon, Paris appears.

One has reached the first floor, and the feast of the view is impossible to describe in its dazzling details.

This ascent is very simple; all visitors must try it: and if you want to walk very slowly, talking little; if you take care to lean your right arm on the banister, swinging your body from one hip to the other and taking advantage of this momentum to reach each step, the three hundred and fifty steps are gentle to climb.

It takes seven to eight minutes at the most.

One recommendation: Cover up lightly during the ascent but warmly during the stay on the platforms.

From the first to the second floor, this same climb becomes more tiring because there are no more landings and the staircase continues, unceasingly, in the form of a helix.

There are 380 steps: about ten minutes to climb them.

From the second floor to the top, another staircase, of the same shape as the previous one and 160 metres high; but this one is a simple service staircase; it has 1,062 steps and is not available to the public.

There are a total of 1,792 steps for all the staircases.

© Guide Bleu du Figaro et du Petit Journal 1889