An intense national debate preceded the 1937 Paris Exposition, involving two series of competitions that summarized the issues of the entire decade of the 1930s and intersected with controversies about the future of Paris. The 1932 competition to select a new exposition site in an area where it could stimulate Paris’s growth and the subsequent competition series of 1934–35 yielded remarkable proposals. These included projects by Beaudouin and Lods, Pierre Patout, and Le Corbusier, as well as Auguste Perret’s proposal for a “Champs-Élysées of the Rive Gauche” affecting the entire southern half of Paris. In Reinventing Paris: The Competitions for the 1937 Paris International Exposition, Danilo Udovički-Selb looks at the complex discourse around the 1937 Exposition and concludes that this occasion was a missed opportunity for the “reinvention” of the French capital, which emerged only as a mirage in phantasmagoric light pageantries for the duration of the exposition.

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