1855 Paris
BIE-classUniversal exposition
CategoryHistorical Expo
NameExposition Universelle des produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855
Building(s)Palais de l'Industrie
Area15.2 hectares (38 acres)
VenueJardins des Champs-Élysées
Coordinates48°52′0″N 2°18′47″E / 48.86667°N 2.31306°E / 48.86667; 2.31306
Opening15 May 1855 (1855-05-15)
Closure15 November 1855 (1855-11-15)
Universal expositions
PreviousGreat Exhibition in London
Next1862 International Exhibition in London

The Exposition Universelle of 1855 (French pronunciation: [ɛkspozisjɔ̃ ynivɛʁsɛl]), better known in English as the 1855 Paris Exposition, was a world's fair held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, from 15 May to 15 November 1855. Its full official title was the Exposition Universelle des produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855.[1] It was the first of ten major expositions held in the city between 1855 and 1937.[a] Nowadays, the exposition's sole physical remnant is the Théâtre du Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées, designed by architect Gabriel Davioud, which originally housed the Panorama National.


The exposition was a major event in France, then newly under the reign of Emperor Napoleon III.[2] It followed London's Great Exhibition of 1851 and attempted to surpass that fair's Crystal Palace with its own Palais de l'Industrie.

The arts displayed were shown in a separate pavilion on Avenue Montaigne.[3] There were works from artists from 29 countries, including French artists François Rude, Ingres, Delacroix[3] and Henri Lehmann,[4] and British artists William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.[3] However, Gustave Courbet, having had several of his paintings rejected, exhibited in a temporary Pavillon du Réalisme adjacent to the official show.

According to its official report, 5,162,330 visitors attended the exposition, of whom about 4.2 million entered the industrial exposition and 900,000 entered the Beaux Arts exposition.[1] Expenses amounted to upward of $5,000,000, while receipts were scarcely one-tenth of that amount. The exposition covered 16 hectares (40 acres) with 34 countries participating.[1]

For the exposition, Napoleon III requested a classification system for France's best Bordeaux wines which were to be on display for visitors from around the world. Brokers from the wine industry ranked the wines according to a château's reputation and trading price, which at that time was directly related to quality. The result was the important Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.[5]

See also


  1. ^ This includes six world expositions (in 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889, 1900 and 1937), two specialized expositions (in 1881 and 1925) and two colonial expositions (in 1907 and 1931).


  1. ^ a b c Exposition Universelle. "1855, exposition universelle des produits de l'agriculture, de l'industrie et des beaux-arts". Exposition Universelle. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  2. ^ Art Nouveau. "L' Exposition Universelle de 1855 à Paris". L'art nouveau. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Ratcliffe, Barrie M. (2008). "Paris 1855". In Findling, John E.; Pelle, Kimberley D. (eds.). Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9.
  4. ^ Océanides grief of the foot of the rock where Prometheus was chained, Fitzwilliam Museum, 2014
  5. ^ Peppercorn, David (2003). Bordeaux. London: Mitchell Beazley. p. 83. ISBN 1-84000-927-6.

Further reading