Imprimerie Robert lang Paris
The exposition opened on 6 May 1931 in the Bois de Vincennes on the eastern outskirts of Paris.[ The scale was enormous;Sculptor Elizabeth Prophet called it "the most spectacular colonial extravaganza ever staged in the West." Some 33 million visitors came from around the world. The French government brought people from the colonies to Paris and had them create native arts and crafts and perform in grandly scaled reproductions of their native architectural styles such as huts or temples. Other nations participated in the event, including Belgium, Italy, Japan, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The exhibition included a "human zoo," displaying nomadic Senegalese Villages.
Politically, France hoped the exposition would paint its colonial empire in a beneficial light, showing the mutual exchange of cultures and the benefit of France's efforts overseas. This would thus negate German criticisms that France was "the exploiter of colonial societies [and] the agent of miscegenation and decadence". The exposition highlighted the endemic cultures of the colonies and downplayed French efforts to spread its own language and culture abroad, thus advancing the notion that France was associating with colonised societies, not assimilating them.
The Colonial Exposition provided a forum for the discussion of colonialism in general and of French colonies specifically. French authorities published over 3,000 reports during the six-month period and held over 100 congresses. The exposition served as a vehicle for colonial writers to publicise their works, and it created a market in Paris for various ethnic cuisines, particularly North African and Vietnamese. Filmmakers chose French colonies as the subjects of their works. The Permanent Colonial Museum (today the Musée des Arts Africains et Océaniens) opened at the end of the exposition. The colonial service experienced a boost in applications.
26 territories of the empire participated in the Colonial Exposition Issue of postage stamps issued in conjunction with the Exposition.
Art Deco poster