Category A1 International Horticultural Exhibition
23/04/1969 - 05/10/1969
Flowers of France and Flowers of the World
Floralies Internationales Paris 1969
France organised its first Horticultural Expo – the Floralies Internationales – in Paris in 1969. The Expo was recognised by the General Assembly of the BIE on 9 May 1968 with the theme “Flowers of France and the World.”
Organised under the patronage of the French President and managed by the City of Paris, the aim of Floralies 1969 was to increase sensitivity about nature and the measures needed to protect it.
The Expo was a major opportunity to increase the availability and quality of green spaces open to Parisians. The site, located in the Bois de Vincennes, was previously owned by the military, and the purpose of the Floralies project was to transform it into a botanical garden, permanently open to the public. The task of developing the land for the purposes of the Floralies and its long term legacy was given to landscape architect Daniel Colin.
The site was centred around a 4,500m2 reflecting pool, which was bordered by the impressive Valley of Flowers. Here, visitors could appreciate the blooming of seasonal flowering plants, including tulips, cloves, poppies, rosebushes, geraniums and pansies, throughout the duration of the Expo. Next to the pool, the largest water-plant garden in Europe featured a range of exotic species, including the American water lily and the Egyptian lotus. The Expo site also featured the three hectare ‘Pine-wood’ with hardy perennials, an industrial and commercial section showcasing the latest machinery and equipment, and a children’s park.
In addition to the regular exhibits, the five-month Expo demonstrated the seasonal evolution of plants through three main temporary exhibits based around Spring (23 April-4 May), Summer (20-29 June) and Autumn (26 September–5 October). During these special exhibitions, special cultural events were organised and the site was open until 11pm at night.
Countries from across the world were represented through individual exhibits and gardens, with eight countries having official participations, including Cambodia and Japan. National day celebrations were held in the presence of dignitaries, including Princess Paola of Belgium, and Prince Rainer and Princess Grace of Monaco.
After gathering 2.4 million visitors during the Expo, the site of the Floralies was converted into the Parc Floral, the first new public park inaugurated in Paris in the post-war period. The largest of four Botanical Gardens in Paris, the Parc Floral continues to be a popular destination for horticultural enthusiasts and for the public at large. Every year, a number of events are held within the park, including the Paris Jazz Festival, as well as indoor events within La Chesnaie du Roy, one of the pavilions built for the Expo.