Countdown Shanghai: French hope World Expo pavilion won’t face wreckers’ ball

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France's pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo has been likened to the Statue of Liberty - the nation's famous gift to the United States in 1886. But doubts remain over whether China will allow the building to stay standing once the event is over.

The Shanghai Expo will run from May 1 to October 31 next year and is expected to attract some 70 million visitors, the majority of whom will be drawn from within China itself.

France has announced that its pavilion, dubbed "the Sensual City'' and part of the country's 50 million euro budget for the event, will host a collection of famous artwork, including pieces by Edouard Manet, Paul Cezanne, Auguste Rodin, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. All the pieces will come from Paris' Musée d'Orsay.

The French pavilion will be spread over 6,000 square feet (557 square meters) and will include a roof garden, a pond and a latticed exterior. However, organizers of the Expo have said all but four permanent structures in the China pavilion will be torn down after the event.

Director of the French contribution, Franck Serrano, said officials were trying to get China to keep the building, which he said was a gift on par with the Statue of Liberty.

"The 2010 Shanghai World Expo is one of the most significant events in the 21st century and an opportunity for the whole world,'' Serrano told Chinese media last year, a sentiment echoed recently by Hervé Ladsous, France's ambassador to China in an interview with Xinhua.

World Expo 2010 Shanghai

May 01-October 31 2010


French pavilion: