The Havre Maritime Exhibition opened on the 7th of May.
Will this exhibition awaken general interest, or will it prove a local affair simply? This is a secret of the weeks that are to follow.
Should nothing chance to discourage the general interest that surrounds Havre, to dampen the enthusiasm of the public, or to act to the prejudice of the exhibitors, whose very evident desire is to show nothing but remarkable products in every line, the International Maritime Exhibition will prove a great success.
The International Marine Exhibition At Havre
THE PRINCIPAL ENTRANCE.
The people of Havre have two points of comparison that more particularly concern themselves: Their Maritime Exhibition of 1868, which, as far as exhibition goes, was a complete success, is the first. The financial results of it were not brilliant, but that was due to certain reasons upon which it is not necessary to dwell. On the contrary, the Rouen Exhibition of 1884 proved profitable.
The Havre Exhibition, under able management, can have only a like good fortune. It must be said that the people of Havre would be deeply humiliated should it prove otherwise.
A very appropriate location was selected for the Exhibition, in the busiest quarter of the center of the city. Its circumference embraces one of the finest docks of the port - the Commerce Dock, thus named because it could not be finished (in 1827) except by the financial co-operation of the shipowners and merchants of the city. For the purposes of the Exhibition, this dock is now temporarily closed to navigation.
In the various structures, wood has been exclusively employed. The main building, which alone has a monumental character, is Arabic in style, and is situated in the center of Gambetta Place, over Paris Street, which here becomes a tunnel. Two facades overlook the ends of this tunnel. A third facade, which is much longer, fronts Commerce Dock.
The edifice is surmounted by a spherical cupola that serves as a base to a semaphore provided with masts and rigging. On each side of the sphere there are two pendent beacons. Wide glazed bays open in the external facades, and allow the eye to wander to the south through Paris Street as far as to the outer port, to the summits of Floride, and to see beyond this point the bay of La Seine, Honfleur, and the coast of Grâce. To the north, the most limited view has for perspective the City Hall, its garden, and the charming coast of Ingonville.
The principal facade, that which fronts Commerce Dock, from which it is separated solely by a garden laid out on Mâture Place, is the most attractive and most ornamented. Here are located the restaurants, the cafes, the music pavilion, and a few other light structures.
Internally, this portion of the Exhibition comprises a vast entertainment hall, brilliantly and artistically decorated with tympans representing the three principal ports of commerce - Havre, Bordeaux, and Marseilles - and with pictures by the best marine painters. It is lighted by an immense stained glass window which fronts Commerce Dock and the garden, and which lets in a flood of soft light.
The galleries to the right and left, over Paris Street, are reserved for the exhibitions of the ministers of state and of the large public departments, and for models, specimens, plans, and drawings of war and merchant vessels, and of pleasure boats, and for plans of port, roadstead, and river works.
Two endless galleries run to the north and south of Commerce Dock, parallel with Orleans Wharf on the one hand and Lamblardie Wharf on the other.
The northern gallery is connected by a foot bridge with the annex of Commerce Place, where is located the colonial exhibition, the center of which is occupied by a Cambodian pavilion, in which are brought together the products of Indo-China and Algeria. For half of their extent, the two galleries are separated from the dock by a promenade provided with seats and covered with a roof. On this promenade, it became necessary to make room for certain belated exhibitors whose products are not affected by the open air.
In Commerce Dock are to be seen, floating, specimens of every ancient and modern naval construction, French and foreign, among which are the state convette Favorite and an English three-master converted into a cafe boat. We find here, too, the giant and prehistoric oak of the Rhine, on board of the Drysphore.
Commerce Dock is divided into two parts by a foot bridge, which allows the visitors to pass from one side to the other without being compelled to tiresomely retrace their steps.
The main entrance to the Exhibition is opposite the portico of the theater, on Gambetta Place. A second entrance is found on Commerce Place in the colonies annex. The others, near the center, are on Orleans Wharf, opposite Edward Larue Street, and on Lamblardie Wharf, opposite Hospital Street and opposite Saint Louis Street.
The garden of the Exhibition and the galleries that surround it are illuminated at night by the electric light. - L'Illustration.