From the somewhat underwhelming sign that adorns the entrance to the French Pavilion, one might not have very high expectations for what the interior might hold. But, with typical French artistic flair, this is one of the more beautiful country pavilions at the Expo.
There are three halls, which I’ve dubbed “The Hall of Mirrors,” “The Electric Blue Hall,” and “The Green Hall.” Not very inspiring names, but they’ll have to do until I, or you, think up some better ones.
The Mirror Hall features lots of, umm, . . . mirrors. It’s like going to an old-time carnival Hall of Mirrors. A bit disconcerting, so be careful not to smack into one of them.
Along the right hand side are several scenes that show various French landmarks underwater with colored, electric fish swimming serenely through the famous areas. I hope this isn’t a prediction of the height of the rising water levels due to climate change!
Another image of the Hall of Mirrors
In a room just off the Hall of Mirrors is this large model of a futuristic undersea research vessel. Looks like it would be an awesome place to live and work.
Next up is “The Electric Blue Hall.” This one was very difficult to photograph, due to the very low light levels. I had to crank up my camera’s ISO and do some tricky adjustments in Photoshop, but I still couldn’t get it quite right. I’m going to start carrying my tripod with my when I go out to the Expo on weekday mornings and evenings, when it’s less crowded. That’s my colleague Andy watching the video screen in the background.
There were some “tanks” in this room, too, with electric fish swimming around a bright white light, but the photos I took didn’t turn out so good, so you’ll have to go see them for yourself. Here’s the exit from the hall.
The final “Green Hall” leads the way out of the pavilion. This is a landscape-themed hall, more or less, with your usual robot enjoying itself on a tree swing. (See second photo below)
There are two disappointments about the French Pavilion. They are the lack of a souvenir stand and the lack of a restaurant/bar. These are certainly not enough to spoil your enjoyment of the pavilion, but for those looking for such things, it might dampen your enthusiasm a bit.
Time and Day visited: Friday, May 18th at 6:45 p.m.
Interior Design: Outstanding (My photos don’t do it justice)
Lines: There weren’t any at this time of day, nor are there any in the morning, but afternoons there are occasionally long lines. Go early or late if you’re pressed for time.
Multimedia: A few interactive screens, videos, and simulations
Souvenir Shop: None
Cultural Assets: Very Few
Overall Rating: Well worth a visit because of the interior design alone, but a bit of a disappointment that there is no restaurant to chow down on French cheeses and wines.