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City of Paris - Expo Paris 1889

City of Paris at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889
Architect(s) : Bouvard

The city of Paris, whose participation in the Universal Exhibition is considerable from the financial point of view, will, as is well known, have its own exhibition on the Champ de Mars, which is likely to be very interesting.

This exhibition will be set up in two pavilions built by M. Bouvard, the city's architect, in the central garden of the Palais des Expositions and running parallel to each other on either side of the main avenue.

One of these pavilions will be used to exhibit the many services of the Paris works department, while the other is more specifically devoted to administrative services such as primary education, municipal and departmental affairs, public assistance, the fire brigade, etc.

The situation of the pavilions did not allow the architect, who was hampered by limited funds, to build anything very monumental, but at least he did something picturesque.

The remarkable report made on January 31st of this year to the Municipal Council by Mr. Guichard will give us some information on the buildings.

The very small sum allocated for the construction of these pavilions, 150,000 francs," says the rapporteur, "obliged the Administration to take on hire, and at very low prices, metal trusses from the Exhibition of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Railways at Vincennes. These forms are now in place, the two pavilions are closed and covered, but no decorative work has yet begun.

"We could not think of making a decoration with a monumental character, which the credit available did not allow us to carry out in a suitable way.

"It therefore seemed more appropriate to give these pavilions a special appearance, appropriate to the gardens in which they are located, and the architect believes he can achieve this by using woodwork and cut wood and mouldings with ornamental latticework, which will allow for a certain amount of richness in the painted decoration, which will vary according to the funds that can be allocated.

"All this decoration has been or will be entrusted to the workers' societies, which alone will participate in the various trades: carpentry, framing, sculpture, moulding, painting, tapestry, etc. This decoration will therefore be the work of the workers' associations, which will thus find in it a very natural exhibition; it is currently being executed in the workshops and the installation will begin on February.

Since this was written, the decoration has been completed and installed, at least externally, and our engraving gives a very complete idea of it, perhaps even a little too complete, because the sculptural groups on either side of the entrance are not yet in place, and I find it hard to believe that those indicated by our engraving are precisely placed there, given that Mercié's Quand même, which, moreover, does not belong to the City of Paris but to the City of Belfort, is not precisely situated at the door of an Exhibition pavilion, a peaceful building by nature as well as by purpose.

But this is not the fault of our draughtsman, who conscientiously sketched Mercié's group according to official documents.

We can, moreover, dispense with putting it there, this very beautiful, very energetic group: it will be at the Exhibition all the same, in the Fine Arts section, where it will be much better in its

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition - Maurice Dulac.