Exposition internationale et coloniale (1894)

The Exposition universelle, internationale et coloniale was a world's fair including a colonial exhibition in the French City of Lyon in 1894. The site was the parc de la Tête d'or in the north of the city. The exposition drew unwanted attention with the assassination of French President Sadi Carnot during his visit on 24 July 1894; he died the day after.

1894 Lyon
Plan of the Tête d'Or park
BIE-classUnrecognized exposition
NameExposition universelle, internationale et coloniale
Visitors3.8 mln
VenueParc de la Tête d'or
Coordinates45°46′35″N 4°51′05″E
Opening29 April 1894 (1894-04-29)
Closure11 November 1894 (1894-11-11)
Universal Expositions
PreviousWorld's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
NextBrussels International (1897) in Brussels
OtherCalifornia Midwinter International Exposition of 1894

The exposition was initiated as a national exposition to be held in 1892, but the short interval since the Paris 1889 Universal Exposition led to a postponement of two years and the wish for international participation.[1]

Several names were given to the project: "l’Exposition internationale et coloniale de Lyon, en 1894", "Exposition nationale de Lyon en 1894" and "l’Exposition universelle de 1894" before the eventual name "Exposition internationale et coloniale".[1] At the same time San Francisco and the Belgian city of Antwerp organised world's fairs as well.[1]

The main building of the exposition was a 55-metre high metal dome with a diameter of 242 metres. Several themes got dedicated pavilions:

  • Education (palais de l’enseignement)
  • City of Paris
  • City of Lyon and the surroundings (département du Rhône)
  • Faith (palais des arts religieux)
  • Economy (palais de l'économie sociale)
  • Art
  • Agriculture
  • Labour
  • Railways
  • Civil engineering
  • Forestry services

French colonies were represented as well in four pavilions:

3.8 million people visited the exposition,[1] and the success of the exposition led to renaming the neighbourhood next to the exposition from Tête d'Or to Tonkin de villeurbanne,[2] thus referring to North Vietnam (Tonkin), at that time part of French Indochina, in order to satisfy the inhabitants attracted to the exotic colonial atmosphere.

See also

  • Hanoi exhibition another colonial exhibition, 8 years later, in French Indochina


  1. Lyon 1894 : la Fête s’invite à l’Expo !, Florence Vidal, Mémoire de master "Histoire, histoire de l’art et archéologie", Université Lyon II, September 2010
  2. Louis, Dominique (1996). Naissance d'un site urbain (in French). Éditions L'Harmattan. ISBN 2-7384-4710-4.
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