First Paris International Exposition of 1855

Napoleon III's ambition

: Exposition Universelle des Produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855
: May 15, 1855 - November 15, 1855
: Paris (Champs-Élysées)
No. of visitors
: 5,162,000 (no. of those who visited the exposition for a fee)

This was the first French international exposition held after the cancellation of its regular national exhibition in order to compete with the first London International Exposition of 1851. The French international exposition was realized under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon III, who wished to demonstrate the legitimacy of his regime, and Saint-Simonians, who examined society from scientific and positive perspectives. Visitors to the exposition were able to watch actual operations of large machinery, such as steam locomotives and steamships, and to observe large-scale exhibits from overseas colonies. In this sense, the French event set a new direction for subsequent international expositions. With fewer visitors than the London International Exposition, the French exposition ended making a loss. In a political sense, however, the event was successful in that it helped the Second French Empire to be acknowledged officially and in that it promoted Paris as the capital of France to the international community.


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