Paris Travel Planner   Musée des Arts Forains, Paris
The translation "fairground art" doesn't come close to describing this wonderful museum of imagination and creativity!




The Musée des Arts Forains, housed in the Pavillons de Bercy, is a showcase of objects related to Carrousel-Salons, large traveling structures that brought entertainment to the people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They included ballrooms, organs, carousels, games, rides and refreshments.

The Musée actually consists of three separate large buildings, each filled with marvellous objects that mostly date from the Belle Époque, around the turn of the century.

  Musée des Arts Forains, Paris
  Above, You too can ride a cheval blanc!

And best of all, you get to try out some of these marvels!

Take a ride on the Manège de Chevaux de Bois (a carousel/merry-go-round of wooden horses, dating from about 1900). Or try your hand at an old fashioned horse race game, modeled on Siena's famous Palio. Dance in the ballroom to wonderful music from a 1930s organ. Let your imagination run wild!

One of the buildings, the actual Musée des Arts Forains/Museum of Fairground Art focuses on the Carrousel-Salons. At the entrance you are greeted by two huge caryatids, carrying rings of flowers. Organ music encourages you to dance, and your visit goes from one marvel to another. More...

A second building houses Le Théâtre du Merveileux, the Theater of Marvels. This focuses on theater forms popular between about 1800 and 1840. Wax figures sport costumes from the Folies Bergère, and more wonderful music surrounds you. More...

The third building contains the Salons Venetiens, or Venetian Rooms. You'll feel as if you have entered a Venetian palace, and you'll be entertained by singing automatons. Get into the spirit and enjoy! More...

The Museum is a private collection, created by Jean-Paul Favand. Favand has been both an actor and an antiques dealer, and was one of the founders of Le Louvre des Antiquaires, today a collection of over 250 galleries selling antiques and other vintage items.

Over the years, Favand built up his collection of marvels, many of which are displayed at the Musée des Arts Forains. In addition to the permanent collection, there are occasional temporary exhibits.

The complex is located in the beautiful old Pavillons de Bercy, at the far end of the Parc de Bercy. In the 19th century these pavillons were part of a huge number of wine cellars, as Bercy was the main center of wine bottling and storage in Paris. These beautiful pavillons include iron beams like those used on the Eiffel Tower. The architect, Louis-Ernest Lheureux (for whom a nearby street is named) was a student of Gustave Eiffel.

In fact, the buildings and lovely grounds are so much a part of the museum that they're referred to as the fourth part: Le Théatre de Verdure.

The Musée des Arts Forains is used mainly for special events, but visits can be arranged. You must schedule your visit in advance and make a reservation. Most visits are in French, but English (and other languages) visits may be arranged for groups. There are also printed information sheets in English and other languages. Even if you don't understand French, you'll understand the spirit of the place.

Métro: Cour St-Émilion

Musée des Arts Forains
53, Avenue des Terroirs de France
75012 Paris, France
+33 (0)1 43 40 16 22

Museum of Fairground Arts

Théâtre du Merveilleux

Salons Venetiens

Paris Museums

Museums for Kids

Special Focus Museums

Top Museums

Parc de Bercy

What to See & Do in Paris


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Musée des Arts Forains, Paris

Above, Entrance of the Pavillions de Bercy, home of the Musée des Arts Forains.

Below, The Manège de Vélos, or bicycle carousel, which dates from the late 19th century and you can still ride it today!

Manege de Velos, Musee des Arts Forains, Paris

FTP on Facebook    
Pinterest    Twitter