In 1899, Paris, France was undergoing a variety of changes, many of which were influenced by significant political, cultural, and technological developments:
The Dreyfus Affair: One of the major political controversies of the time was the Dreyfus Affair, which spanned from 1894 to 1906. In 1899, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery officer in the French army, who was wrongfully accused of treason, was retried. Despite the continued claims of his innocence and growing public outcry, he was again convicted, though he was pardoned later that year by President Émile Loubet. The Dreyfus Affair deeply divided French society and had significant effects on public life in Paris.
The Universal Exposition of 1900 Preparation: While the Universal Exposition itself took place in 1900, 1899 was a year of intense preparation. The exposition showcased technology, art, and culture from around the world, attracting millions of visitors to Paris. Preparations for this major event would have significantly impacted life in the city.
Automobiles in Paris: In 1899, the automobile was becoming increasingly popular and the Compagnie Parisienne des Voitures Électriques was one of the pioneering companies contributing to this technological shift. This development marked the start of a new era in transportation for Paris.
Founding of the Automobile Club de France: The Automobile Club de France, which played a critical role in the development and promotion of motor vehicles in France, was founded in Paris in 1899. The club was also involved in organizing some of the first motor races.
Artistic Developments: In the world of art, 1899 in Paris saw continued activity among the Impressionists and post-Impressionists. The artistic scene was vibrant, with artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso (who would arrive in the city just a few years later) beginning to make their mark.