France's presence at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition was a 15 acre replica of the historic Grand Trianon at Versailles during the reign of King Louis XIV. It was situated on Forsythe Ave., (also called- the Olympian Way). The pavilion consisted of a central building, flanked by two wings that terminate each in a pavilion. The latter was united by 22 Ionic marble columns of red and green. The roof was surrounded, in Roman style, by a balustrade, ornamented with vases and beautiful groups of figures. Corresponding balustrade extended along the front below, in the center of which stood a massive yet handsome iron gate opening to the principal entrance. The entire front measured 534 feet, and the building cost 142,000 dollars.
The Grand Trianon was one of the favorite residences of Napoleon, and its grand design and extensive grounds and gardens was reproduced quite well with strikingb results.
A broad driveway led up a gentle slope to the court of The Truanon pavilion. The 15 acres were beautifully cared for and included ponds, and gardens. The pavilions huge grounds contained reproductions of several beautiful chalets of Marie Antoinette.
The French Government sent bearing-age fruit trees, roses and other flora across the seas to help landscape the area. Some of the espaliered trees were trained in shape ten years prior to the Fair.
The building was open to visitors with passes daily, except Wednesday, from 9 am. to 6 pm., and to others on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 2 pm. to 5 pm.
On the ground floor were apartments as well as a picture gallery and the billiard room. In one display case was a lock of Napoleon's hair.
The right wing had three rooms filled with the exhibits of the City of Paris, including engravings of the masterpieces which decorated the City Hall of Paris. Two rooms
were filled with a splendid exhibit of porcelains and bisques from the porcelain factory of Sevres, including a statue of Lafayette by Houdon. The ceilings of the galleries d'honneur, at the rear, were ornamented with three great paintings, typical of Liberte, Bgalite and Fraternities. Large gobelins (tapestries), of the period of Louis XIV. decorated the wall.
Many fairgoers marveled at the scale and spender of the salons- (massive rooms with ornate paintings, frescos and ceiling art). The salons included rare and decorative vases, statues, jewelry, glasswork. Another showcased an exhibit of the Chamber of Commerce of Paris.
The France pavilion was dedicated on a stormy morning on May 16th.