Dateline Paris 1900: The Astounding Moving Electrical Sidewalk

Parisian Fields

In 1900, if you were lucky enough to have a ticket such as this one—and almost fifty million people did—you were in for an astounding treat. Paris and France went all out to make the Paris Universal Exposition the biggest and best yet anywhere in the world.

Although the Exposition seemed to have something for everyone, two words capture much of the spirit and substance of that great event: electricity and motion. As Charles Rearick writes in Paris Dreams, Paris Memories:

The fifty million visitors who came to the ‘Exposition Universelle’ were met with a dazzling profusion of electric lighting—in the pavilions and the Palais de l’Électricité and all the way up the Eiffel Tower. Outside the fairgrounds, the new lights illuminated the city’s monuments and the central boulevards.*

The newly constructed Pont Alexandre III led to the grounds, and provided lovely stopping points for flâneurs, flâneuses

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