Universal and International Exhibition of Paris 1900

The balance sheet of a century

April 15, 1900-November 12, 1900


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Old Poitou

Old Poitou at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1900

Architect(s) : Etienne Bentz

The Poitevin exhibition, or Vieux Poitou, has as its lord and master the chansonnier Georges Oble, originally from Poitou and remaining Poitevin despite his current status as a Montmartrean. He was assisted by the architect Joseph Carré, the contractor-builder Chapelle, and by the painters Léon Oble and Raoul Carré, all, like him, compatriots of the Lusignans and Mélusine.

He set out to restore the façade of the venerable Provost's House in Poitiers, now transformed into a school. Two elongated cloisters extend at right angles from the ends of this façade, one of which is a reproduction of the cloister of the abbey of Ligugé where M.J.-K. Huysmans went there to seek final peace. Very skilful connections have made these three elements, to which must be added the keep of Château-Guillaume, into a very harmonious and blended whole.

Around the entrance door of the Provostry, on the turrets built into the facade, flowers climb upwards and, after gaily framing the windows, reach the roof made of old Poitevin tiles. In the courtyard, pigeons frolic; everything here is bright, joyful, good, and breathes the sweetness of life.

Inside, you can visit an exhibition of Poitou pottery; you can crowd in front of the shops run by cheerful Poitevin women; outside, you can attend, every afternoon, the curious ceremony, directed by Georges Oble, of the Wedding of the Rosière, as it takes place at La Motte-Saint-Héraye.

I forgot to mention that the building formed by the meeting of the cloisters and the Provost's office is called "Hostellerie de Mélusine". It was Oble who gave it this name in memory of one of the most graceful legends of France. Needless to say, Mélusine has all the honours of music and poetry at the artistic evenings that take place daily in her hostelry.

Soleil du Dimanche


The Vieux Poitou concession was granted to Mr. Oble and comprised 800 square metres.

Around a courtyard open on one of its sides, there was a succession of wooden and plaster buildings designed by the architect Bentz (617m2).

The low buildings, separated by pepperpot towers, were reminiscent of the Gothic style of the late 15th century; their high roofs served as a backdrop to the elegant cut-outs of the dormer windows. The facade of the Prévoté, the Château-Guillaume Tower, the Saint-Jouin cloister, the Ligugé abbey, etc. were all there.

In these buildings, a restaurant known as the Hôtel de la Mélusine and shops selling regional art objects were installed.

Visitors could also see a shadow theatre

©Rapport Général et Administratif - 1900