Paris Travel Planner   Museum of Fairground Arts, Paris
The centerpiece of the Musée des Arts Forains, this wonderful museum lets you experience the thrills of an old fashioned festival.




You enter the large building that houses the Musée des Arts Forains and are greeted by two caryatids holding wreaths of flowers, who flank a fanciful scene of exotic people in fancy costumes, both on the ground and in the air. Welcome to the Musée des Arts Forains!

Musée des Arts Forains, Paris

The next room is home to a beautiful Belgian barrel organ. Your guide will start it playing, and you can watch the "punch cards" of music go through and listen to the joyful sounds. And the organ is loud too: the music was an important way of advertising that the carrousel-salon was in town, and it could be heard for a great distance.

Musée des Arts Forains, Paris  
A fun chance to ride a white horse!  

The Musée also lets you enjoy two different types of carousels (also called Manège in French). The Manège aux Chevaux de Bois is a wonderful carousel that dates from about 1890. It consists of a variety of white wooden horses, some made in France, some in Germany. Hop on and enjoy the ride and the music!

Even more unusual is the Manège de Vélos, or bicycle carousel. You'll be challenged to pedal fast (or sit on a comfy bench and watch the person in front of you pedal) and travel around with the group. It's capable of going up to 60 kilometers/37 miles per hour, though most of us don't manage to make it go that fast.

The Musée des Arts Forains appeared in some scenes in the Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, so look for it there.

By the way, Musée des Arts Forains is the name of the overall complex, as well as of this specific building/exhibition. Equally delightful (and part of the guided visit) are the Théâtre du Merveilleux and the Salons Venetiens.

As with the other parts of the Musée des Arts Forains, you must schedule your visit in advance and make a reservation. Details and a link to the site are here.

Musée des Arts Forains

Théâtre du Merveilleux

Salons Venetiens

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Musée des Arts Forains, Paris

Above, The Manège de Chevaux de Bois—carousel of white wooden horses, from 1900.

Below, The beautiful (and loud) barrel organ.

Musée des Arts Forains, Paris

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