Albert Robida’s Vieux Paris

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After several posts about Albert Robida it seems more-or-less mandatory to write something about his spectacular creation for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. “Vieux Paris” was an elaborate theme park-style attraction which sought to recreate some of the lost buildings of medieval Paris on the right bank of the Seine, a short distance from the Trocadero. (The international pavilions were situated on the opposite bank.) Robida is remembered today for his science fiction but he was given this job as a result of books such as Paris de siècle en siècle; le coeur de Paris, splendeurs et souvenirs (1896) which explored life in the historic city. Vieux Paris was planned by the artist, with the buildings being created by a team of architects under the direction of Léon Benouville. As with modern theme parks, teams of actors and other staff were costumed in order to convey the requisite period flavour. The birds-eye drawing is the best view I’ve seen of the construction, the pages being from Albert Quantin’s L’Exposition du siècle.

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From the Brooklyn Museum’s Flickr set.

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Photo by Michel Berthaud at Luna Commons.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The End of Books, 1894
Le Vingtième Siècle by Albert Robida
La Vie Électrique by Albert Robida
The Lumière Brothers at the Exposition Universelle
Le Grand Globe Céleste, 1900
Tony Grubhofer’s Exposition Universelle sketches
The Cambodian Pavilion, Paris, 1900
Le Manoir a l’Envers
Suchard at the Exposition Universelle
Esquisses Décoratives by René Binet
Le Palais de l’Optique, 1900
Exposition Universelle films
Exposition jewellery
Exposition Universelle catalogue
Exposition Universelle publications
Exposition cornucopia
Return to the Exposition Universelle
The Palais Lumineux
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
Exposition Universelle, 1900

The Cambodian Pavilion, Paris, 1900

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Despite being one of the most striking and beautiful national pavilions in the Exposition Universelle of 1900, the Cambodian building seldom features isn’t featured in any of the exposition guides I’ve seen. These photos are from the excellent set of William Henry Goodyear views presented by the Brooklyn Museum at Flickr. If it wasn’t for the people visible in the picture below (and the Parisian lamp-post) you wouldn’t know these were from the exposition at all.

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Another trace of Cambodia appeared via the Tour of the World exhibition where a variety of “exotic” buildings were forced to occupy the same plot of ground. This group does appear in the guides, the view here being from L’Exposition du Siècle by Albert Quantin. The multi-story confection dominating this scene may superficially resemble some of the Angkor temples, but for me it’s more reminiscent of buildings like the Casa Milà which Antoni Gaudí was constructing in Barcelona a few years later.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Le Manoir a l’Envers
Suchard at the Exposition Universelle
Esquisses Décoratives by René Binet
Le Palais de l’Optique, 1900
Exposition Universelle films
Exposition jewellery
Exposition Universelle catalogue
Exposition Universelle publications
Exposition cornucopia
Return to the Exposition Universelle
The Palais Lumineux
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
Exposition Universelle, 1900