a spark of life


why is it that even old paris never gets tired? good morning everyone! i’ve been obsessing over some shots of paris in the last century when technology was brand new. the images led me to investigate one of the many fascinating bits of paris’ history i never delved deeply into but am smitten by, the world’s fairs that were held in the last centuries.


i’ve just started skimming the surface and want to devour them all but the one i’m drawn to today is the exposition universelle of 1900.


google it and you may never come back from the mesmerizing images of past fairs. each year is an incredible capsule and an insight into the time and mindset of the people of paris and in fact, the world.

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the eiffel tower had been unveiled in 1889 and by 1900 the city was already feeling the empowerment of the industrial revolution. electricity had long been discovered and many new inventions had been already been launched.

image2-exposition universelle-paris 1900


at the exposition  universelle of 1900, there was one major difference that separated it from all other fairs. the ‘palais de l’electricite’ was created. it showcased new technology and served as a hub for the show. it was the place that harnessed all the energy and sent it to the other exhibits throughout the city.

The Palace of Electricity at the Universal Exhibition, from 'Le Bon Marche' shop catalogue, 1900 (colour litho)

it was by far the most revered pavillon and considered the absolute heart of the event.




it was sketched, photographed and immortalized. never before had such brilliance beamed from one place!

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if you have a minute to travel back in time, check out this rare footage and take a trip to the fair yourself…


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for first time in the world, the streets in the paris were lit up. thousands of lights covered every inch (including the eiffel tower)! and everyone was charged with the energy of a new era.



suddenly up one side and down the other, the city was transformed into a playground of new technology, not the least of which was being able to enjoy the city of light at night.


Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 12.14.33 AMbridgemanart.com

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1900 26 mai L-Illustration Le Montage de l-etoile qui surmonte le palais de l-Electricite

it must have been an enormous endeavor to set it up.

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it was a new era.



and there was dancing in the streets!

b1971065eff2liveinternet.ru  The Exposition Universelle of 1900 world’s fair was held in Paris from 15 April to 12 November 1900, to celebrate the achievements of the past century and to accelerate development into the next. 


The fair displayed, in view of over 50 million people, many machines, inventions, and architecture including escalators, Ferris wheels, Diesel engines, talking films, and the Telegraphone (the precursor to modern-day sound recording).


other exhibits included motors, cars and planes and moving sidewalks.

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among the new technologies on display were X-rays, wireless telegraphy, bicycles, turbines, and cinema, but the exposition’s massive use of electric lighting was the biggest marvel.

1956896f81fd141abac8a051da4faf26 (1)

Paul Morand, a contemporary chronicler of the exposition, dubbed electricity “the religion of 1900.”

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In the Palace of Electricity visitors could watch the dynamos at work supplying electricity to power machinery and illuminate the exposition grounds at night to create a fairy-tale landscape. 


The Monumental Gateway, the bridges over the Seine, and the Eiffel Tower sparkled with thousands of incandescent lights, giving Paris a glimpse of the luminous future.

expositionphotogra00expo_0001 johncoulthart.com brassgoggles.co.uk



i was going to grab a string of holiday lights for my balcony but they sort of pale in comparison. well, at least when i look at them i’ll think about the path that was paved so many years before.

you-tube images-exposition universelle-paris 1900

if you’re in the mood to do a little time traveling, sit back and enjoy the show.

well, now i better get this day started. i have a lot to do and this was a fun diversion but reality is kicking in. if it turns into a tough day, i’ll just channel edison when he said:  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison.  have a great day!

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 10.30.02 AM

one more if you’re like me and can’t get enough (this one’s in french. enjoy)!

December 5, 2013. Tags: , , , . Paris, Paris Exposition Universelle 1900.


  1. Peggy Braswell replied:

    this is fascinating! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com


  2. Heidi replied:

    Its Magical……hands down!


  3. mingpeicobb@yahoo.com replied:

    Love it. Thanks.


  4. Clare replied:

    How truly brilliant! Things we take for granted in our lifetime, imagine how amazing this would have been! Thanks for sharing.

    Clare x


  5. Natalie @ jewelyettofind.blogspot.ca replied:

    Unimaginable beauty! Belle epoque, Art Nouveau. Regretfully everything was demolished. How sad.. Miraculously Le Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais survived as well as Tour Eiffel which according to plan was also destined to be demolished in a couple of years after the Exposition 1900. Thank God! French wisdom prevailed.

    Thank you for taking your time to share.


  6. Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light! | LADYBOY PROMPT replied:

    […] a spark of life (parisapartment.wordpress.com) […]


  7. Karena Albert replied:

    So gorgeous Claudia! Thank you for sharing!
    The Arts by Karena


  8. EIFFEL TOWE PARIS NOVEMBER 2002 | The Ladyboy Media replied:

    […] a spark of life (parisapartment.wordpress.com) […]


  9. valinparis replied:

    Thanks so much for posting these photos and video. Keep up the great work, Claudia. I posted to my FB page.


  10. girlseule replied:

    Thank-you for sharing these amazing images!


  11. Merillion replied:

    Nice job, Claudia! Lots of work on your part, but well worth it to us who see this. Your comments are like a story – that’s part of the pleasure of it. Don’t you wish you could be at all these great events? (And then come back to this time, of course.)
    But what would we wear??


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