1889 was a significant year for the city of Paris, marked by notable events:
Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair): The most iconic event of 1889 in Paris was the Exposition Universelle, held from May 6 to October 31. This international exhibition celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was visited by millions of people from all over the world and showcased advances in technology and the cultures of France’s colonial possessions.
Eiffel Tower: The Exposition Universelle also saw the completion of the Eiffel Tower. The iron tower, designed by Gustave Eiffel, was initially met with criticism from some Parisians, but it quickly became a defining symbol of the city. It stood as the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930.
Moulin Rouge: The famous cabaret, Moulin Rouge, opened its doors for the first time on October 6, 1889. It was marked by its red windmill on the roof and became a symbol of the bohemian lifestyle and the creative spirit of the Belle Époque. It was known for its music and dance shows, particularly the Can-Can.
Natural History Museum: The Galerie de paléontologie et d’anatomie comparée (Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy) was inaugurated as part of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) during the Exposition Universelle. The gallery is famous for its collections in comparative anatomy and paleontology.
Panama Canal Company Scandal: Though it didn’t fully erupt until a few years later, 1889 saw significant developments in what would become the Panama Canal Company scandal. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the man behind the successful Suez Canal, attempted to launch a similar venture in Panama, attracting massive investments largely from the French public. However, the project was failing, and efforts to hide this fact in 1889 sowed the seeds of the ensuing scandal.