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Le Musée des Arts Forains, Paris: Fairground Artifacts & Quirky Curiosities

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12/07/19

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Le Musée des Arts Forains, Paris, is a museum dedicated to ancient fairground artifacts, theatre and music-hall objects and other curiosities. 

This museum is usually open for private events BUT from time to time, during special occasions and only for a few days, the management decides to open it also to the public.

If you are visiting Paris with kids or you just want to go off the beaten path and look for more local activities, don’t miss this museum while it’s open.

Musée des Arts Forains - Old Carousel

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What is Le Musée des Arts Forains in Paris?

The Museum of Fairground Arts is located at the end of the park of Bercy in the 12th Arrondissement of Paris. It presents the recreation of a funfair from 1850 to 1950.

The Museum houses a collection of objects from the show created thirty years ago by Jean-Paul Favand, originally an actor and antique dealer. This museum, installed since 1996 at the Pavilions of Bercy – former buildings of wine conservation, by architect Lheureux, student of Gustave Eiffel -, presents the only exhibition of private fairground elements open to the public in France.

Le Musée des Arts Forains consists of two parts: the temporary exhibition and the permanent exhibition, both hosting :

  • 14 rides and other fairground attractions
  • 16 fairgrounds and restored attractions,
  • 18 sets of historical works,
  • 1522 independent works

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Le Musée des Arts Forains is an Unusual Museum

Funfair Attractions at Musée des Arts Forains
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Unlike other museums, the objects and artifacts of the Musée des Arts Forains are not behind a display cabinet or a cord: all the fairground artifacts are working or ready to use so children (and not that children) can enjoy them.

What is more, the entrance ticket of this museum includes two rides or games and, believe me, this was not enough for us ; -)

Musée des Arts Forains Paris

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One of the Most Beautiful Fairground Collections in the World

Musée des Arts Forains Paris

Jean-Paul Favand is the owner and collector of one of the most beautiful collections of ancient fairground attractions. Stage designer, he created in this museum four different spaces using light, mirrors, music, and paper-mache: la Rue Jardin, les Salons Vénitiens, le Théâtre du Merveilleux and le Musée des Arts Forains.

Apart from the objects and artifacts, there are impromptu performances every 30 minutes.

Welcome to another world, a timeless and mesmerizing world where beautiful carousels, forgotten fairground artifacts and automatons singing opera will bewitch children and adults. This has nothing to see with “Mickey Land”, this museum is a superb show!

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The Oldest Carousel in the World

The Musée des Arts Forains is also special because it owns the oldest carousel in the world: a carousel formed by velocipedes dating from 1860! This carousel is 100% eco-friendly because it only needs our legs to move.

I decided to use my entrance ticket to try the carousel. People were very motivated and the carousel started running so fast that I could not follow on my velocipede. In the end, I had to raise my legs up and let others do the job. Big fail, I guess, haha.

Oldes Carousel in the World - Paris

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Le Festival du Merveilleux

During the Christmas holidays, Le Musée des Arts Forains organizes for one week Le Festival du Merveilleux (The Festival of Wonder).

The place is adorned with Christmas lights and decorations and becomes the theatre of a wonderful array of festive shows and performances. Storytellers, magicians, aerial silk dancers, funambulists, musicians, puppeteers, tap dancers, and other artists create dreamlike stories whilst mechanized music performances, automatons shows, and optical illusions succeed one another all day long.

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Musée des Arts Forains, Paris – Practical Info

Le Musée des Arts Forains is in Paris 12. 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France. The nearest metro station is Cour St Emilion,  line 14; If you want to go by bike, the nearest Vélib Stations are #12034 or #12110.

The museum is usually opened to the public during Les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine (next time on 19-20 September 2020) and for Le Festival du Merveilleux, this year from December 26, 2019, to January 5, 2020.

Tickets: Full price 16€, children 10€. Each ticket includes two rides or games. Extra rides cost 1,5€

 

Do you like carousels and fairground artifacts? Have you seen any similar museums around the world?

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Visit Le Musée des Arts Forains in Paris and enjoy its fantastic collation of fairground artifacts and quirky curiosities #paris #france

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Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links. It costs you nothing more (in fact, if anything, you’ll get a nice discount) but helps us to go on creating incredible Paris content for you. We trust all products promoted here and would never recommend a product that isn’t of value.
World in Paris is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no expense to you.

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  • Carmen's Luxury Travel
    11/24/2016 at 1:15 am

    From 1860?! That’s very impressive! What a unique and fun place to visit, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • WorldInParis
    11/22/2016 at 5:07 pm

    you will have to come back to Paris 🙂

  • Lara Dunning
    11/22/2016 at 5:32 am

    The oldest carousel in the world! I would so love to see this museum! Thanks for sharing as I didn’t know about this.

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:06 pm

      Few people know about this museum because it is usually open for private events :-/

  • Lala
    11/21/2016 at 9:01 pm

    Carousels are beautiful! I especially love that you can you touch and feel things in the museum.

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:07 pm

      Agree! A nicer experience 🙂

  • Sab
    11/21/2016 at 7:08 am

    I’m not really into museums, but this looks interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:07 pm

      You are welcome 🙂

  • Castaway with Crystal
    11/21/2016 at 5:32 am

    That place looks totally AWESOME! I’d love to check it out one day!
    PS. What’s a “liviving” museum? 😉

    Crystal recently posted… Budget guide for New Zealand; North Island

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:09 pm

      a liviving museum was a typo mistake that I just corrected, lol Thanks

  • Alex Datsev
    11/21/2016 at 4:00 am

    How cool – to be able to not only see but also ride on ancient carousels?! That would be a great experience for kids and adult alike!

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:09 pm

      I am no kid and had a blast 🙂

  • Kaaya
    11/20/2016 at 7:42 pm

    Soo during my next visit I’ll totally visit this museum! OMG, I love museum and this is so amazingly cool!

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:09 pm

      you will need to check on their website if it is open during those days :-/

  • Vicki Louise
    11/20/2016 at 7:51 am

    Wow! A fairground museum would be incredible (and possibly a little bit creepy if it was dark!) Great photos though!

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:11 pm

      a little bit dark for my taste, yes. It is a matter of creating a certain atmosphere I guess . .

  • anna
    11/20/2016 at 2:37 am

    Oldest carousel in the world! How cool is that!

    • WorldInParis
      11/22/2016 at 5:11 pm

      veeeeery cool! :-p

  • Valter
    08/05/2016 at 6:42 pm

    Lovely photos!! 🙂

    • WorldInParis
      08/08/2016 at 11:32 am

      thanks! 🙂

  • Danielle Des
    05/24/2016 at 11:58 pm

    This is really cool and lots of bragging rights if you get to ride. I think the admission is still kind of pricey though.

    • WorldInParis
      05/28/2016 at 8:18 pm

      Yeah, I agree: rides are pricey but it was nice 🙂

  • Ashley Hubbard
    05/24/2016 at 4:22 am

    Oh my gosh, what a neat idea for a museum! I love carousels and would love to visit this one day!

  • Claire
    05/23/2016 at 8:15 pm

    Wow, I’d love to catch this when it’s open to the public, looks awesome!

  • Nancy
    05/22/2016 at 9:36 pm

    I never even knew this was in Paris! Next time we are there we are not going to miss this. So glad you posted so we can add this to our list.

    • WorldInParis
      05/28/2016 at 8:19 pm

      Cool! It is rarely opened to all public though. You good have good chances in periods like Christmas

  • Paul
    05/22/2016 at 7:52 pm

    This looks like an incredible place to visit! Looks like a great spectacle.

    • WorldInParis
      05/22/2016 at 8:51 pm

      Incredible and FUN! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Kathryn Hunter
    05/22/2016 at 6:52 pm

    This looks like so much fun. I’ve emailed them and hope they get back to me with available tour dates for when I’m there. *fingers crossed*

  • Laura Lynch
    05/21/2016 at 11:24 pm

    That looks like a really awesome museum. I like that the tickets include rides on the carousel!

    • WorldInParis
      05/22/2016 at 8:56 pm

      ooh so “rides” was the word, ha haa! Yes, awesome place 😉

  • sarah
    05/21/2016 at 8:31 pm

    This is fascinating. It just goes to show that however well you think you know a city there are still things left to be discovered.

    • WorldInParis
      05/22/2016 at 8:59 pm

      well, yes, there is so much to discover in Paris . . that’s why we propose our Parisian guides here 😉

  • Brianna
    05/21/2016 at 3:21 pm

    Woah this is awesome. I’m really not a museum person, but I think I would really enjoy this one 🙂

    • WorldInParis
      05/22/2016 at 9:00 pm

      probably. . don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this, he hee 😉

  • Colby
    05/21/2016 at 3:04 pm

    I love carousels! Would love to visit here someday!