The early years (1904-1925)


Paris’ major administrative bodies (the City Council, the Seine General Council, Paris Chamber of Commerce) begin to take an interest in the Foire’s future. On their return from a trip to Leipzig, two Parisian councillors report back as follows: “The Foires de Paris affirm the superiority of our taste, ingenuity and culture. We, as a nation, must help them to develop”.


The outbreak of war forces the committee to suspend its activities.


With “Big Bertha” cannons thundering less than 100 km from the capital, the fair still goes ahead: a particularly symbolic gesture!
Agricultural machinery and public works equipment are exhibited for the first time, but there is something even more amazing: 400 shops dedicated exclusively to fashion (in the midst of the war!). Women are not the only visitors to the event; on the front, conscripted industrialists seek and obtain extraordinary leave to visit the exhibition and make preparations for the post-war period.


In early April, with last-minute preparations underway, the dangers become too great and the bombardments force the Minister of the Interior to cancel the event.


The fair continues to grow. It covers the Champs de Mars and Les Invalides as well as the Avenue de la Motte-Picquet which links them. An important new innovation this year: for the first time, exhibitors can, for a modest sum, equip their stand with “a telephonic device”.


The Foire de Paris is held at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre.