The Palais du Bardo was built for the Exposition Universelle of 1867 in the 14th arrondissement at Parc Montsouris. It was designed by the French architect, Alfred Chapon. The original Bardo Palace was the 13th-century royal residence of the Hafsid family, located in the suburbs of Tunis. It was one of the most important museums of the Mediterranean basin, tracing the history of Tunisia over several millennia. Chapon carefully recreated a reduced-scale replica of the Bardo Palace in Tunisia in pure Moorish style. Six statues of lions flanked the staircase of honor that led to a brilliantly green-tiled, colonnaded courtyard evoking A Thousand and One Nights. The Bey of Tunis rested here during his visits to the expo in a private bed chamber with an adjoining harem room.
After the expo, the City of Paris bought the Palais and commissioned a redesign by Gabriel Davioud. It accommodated housing for the staff of the astronomical and meteorological Observatoire de Paris, installed on its premises in 1876. In 1974 the building had deteriorated to such an extent that its occupants were evacuated. A fire destroyed it completely in 1991.
Most buildings of the Expositions Universelle were meant to be temporary. Only a few vestiges remain, most famously the Eiffel Tower (1889), the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and the Alexandre III Bridge (1900), the Palais de la Porte Dorée (1931) and the Palais de Chaillot and Palais de Tokyo (1937). But you’ll find drawings, paintings and maps of all the buildings created at the Musée Carnavalet museum.
The Palais du Trocadero – another lost monument of Paris
Sue Aran lives in the Gers department of southwest France where she runs French Country Adventures which provides private, personally-guided, small-group food & wine adventures into Gascony, the Pays Basque, Tarn and beyond…
More on old Paris
Maison Sennelier art shop – a blast from the past
Step back in time at Maison Soubrier Antiques
Opera Garnier – a mini Versailles