I’ve always loved carnivals and amusement parks. The old fashioned ones always sparked a little bit of excitement in me…I loved admiring the colors and shapes and fonts of the signs and attractions. I loved the simple round lights that flashed with fluorescent colors. I lived for summer nights at Lakeside outside of Denver, and was so excitde to stroll the pier at Coney Island. The atmosphere makes me happy, and I’m not sure I can explain why.
What is this magical place, you ask? It’s a museum that consists of a private collection of funfair objects that date from 1850 to 1950. Yup, vintage amusement park goodness, right behind the Bercy Pavilions in the 12th district of Paris. The museum is set up in several parts, with a variation of rides, games and decor filling up the spaces. The lights are perfectly set on the attractions with feathers and colors of the rainbox, and the music that plays while they are switched on will make you feel like you’re in an old movie and a carnival with the other nobles of the town. The tour guide not only explained the origins, context and secrets of the different attractions, but also let us ride some them.
Feathers, organs and elephants with hot air balloons galore, this museum offers whimsical adventure through the world of the carnival.
You can visit the museum by signing up in advanced for a guided tour. There are a few private tours a week, and annually the museum hosts an open house where anyone can come and discover Jean-Paul Favand’s carnival collection. The space is also rentable for private events… how dreamy is that?
This museum is a staple in my Paris Guide.
Musée des Arts Forains
53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 75012
Tél: 01 43 40 16 22
Métro: Cour Saint Emillion (14)