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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.
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
Le Musée des Arts Forains is an Unusual Museum
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 ; -)
One of the Most Beautiful Fairground Collections in the World
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!
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.
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.
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?
Some interesting articles in the blog
- Check out our Paris Travel Planner here
- Read here why Paris is always a good idea
- Check out our Louvre Museum Guide
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