Between May 6 and October 31, 1889, l'Exposition Universelle de Paris attracted millions of visitors from around the world to its 96-hectare grounds on the Champ de Mars. The total attendance was almost 30,000,000, or more than double the 13,000,000 initially projected. New to this exposition was the use of electricity, which dramatically increased the operating hours. A week there would definitely be Jean's idea of a sugoi vacation -- although he'd probably prefer a month or two.
The symbol of the exposition, the 6600-ton, 300-meter-tall Tour d'Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), was selected from a pool of over 100 contestants. The decision was met with almost uniform disapproval at the time, although attitudes had changed considerably in the tower's favor by the opening of the expo. Also in the category of "really big buildings," the Galerie des Machines (Machinery Hall) covered an area in excess of 83,500 square meters (at a cost of $300,000), at the time the largest area roofed by a single span.
The major omission from a Nadia fan's perspective is an aeroplane competition. As far as I can tell (having looked in various engineering periodicals), such an event did not take place. The articles on aerial navigation that do exist from the 1889 exposition concern themselves exclusively with lighter-than-air craft. Likewise, there is no mention of a high-speed chase through the Exposition grounds, and I was unable to find an article explaining in detail the construction of a variable-geometry hot-air balloon which was allegedly involved in such. Rather a pity, that -- I'd love to know just how Hanson managed the articulation in Gratan's robotic arms.
(There are probably some who wonder why the absence of a flying contest is even relevant. I'm a gweep and an otaku -- wouldn't it be surprising if I did have a life? ^_^)