Musée des Arts Forains
Make your best effort to visit the spectacular Musée des Art Forains. Your only disappointment will be if you don’t secure a ticket.
Once you know your dates for visiting Paris, bookmark and stalk their website regularly because limited tickets become available in small blocks of dates, which can only be pre-ordered via their website.
I don’t want to be an alarmist but I learned the hard way and it did take me a few years before I managed to be a happy ticket holder. So let’s see what all the fuss is about!
Step right up! Step right up!
The large brick warehouse located in the area of Bercy holds a dazzling collection of antique fair-ground equipment.
Elaborate carousels with prancing horses and decorative bevelled glass fill the large space.
Mostly this private museum is used for event space but a few times a year it opens it’s doors to the public to gape in awe. Adults momentarily become children for the duration of the visit and children enjoy the colourful displays rides and commentary.
Fun and informative for all of the family, young and old. Although from what I experienced and witnessed, I suspect that it is the adults who enjoy a couple of hours of sheer pleasure.
Antiques dealer and actor Jean Paul Favand created the private museum from his own collection of fair-ground rides, games and objects in 1997.
The equipment is in working order and dates between 1850-1950 and the fun part is that visitors can participate in games and ride the elaborate attractions of a by-gone era.
Our guide told us that back in the day, to own or ride a horse was quite noble. Not dissimilar of today to own a flash car. The carousel was able to give people a sense of what it would be like to ride a horse and this is how the carousel was born.
As we rode around with the music of Piaf radiating from the merry-go-round, everyone, including myself agreed that this was fun.
Come along for a ride and watch a short video here:
Next we played a game that had smartly dressed waiters carrying a tray who would race across a platform, powered by us, the player.
By tossing a ball up a shaft, with the object of getting it in a hole, preferably a red hole for speed, our waiter trundled along until someone won. This was really good fun and to watch the waiters racing against one another was quite amusing.
The guide informed us, that initially, the waiters would have been horses. Effectively creating a horse race.
A short video for some live action!
As you can see in the video, during the one and a half hour guided tour the cheerful and animated guide will bring the history and museum alive with their fun anecdotes.
Another magnificent carousel but this one, was something I had never seen before.
Dating back to the mid 1800’s. In fact, it is so unique that a patent was secured for it’s design. It was only after someone stole the design to run it backwards that the patent was open to be exploited.
Initially powered by steam, large bikes on a tilt whirl around at great speed, generated at first, by the riders and then it takes off!
Seeing is believing, take a look at this and I don’t know about you, but I don’t see too many children on this ride!
It was such a huge buzz, as it worked up momentum, faster and faster, the breeze flapping through our hair.
What a fantastic experience we were giddy with excitement.
I hope that you too manage to secure a ticket and wander through the dimly lit warehouse full of fun, colour and excitement with an added dose of historical information and Parisian charm.
If you have found this information useful or interesting, please leave a comment or follow me here on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes. Your feedback encourages me to keep this site up to date. Merci!
Paris Adèle’s Information Nécessaire:
Museé des Arts Forains – official website
Les Pavillons de Bercy
53 Avenue des Terroirs de France
Nearest Metro :
Adults: €16, Children: (4-11) 8 euros, Children 4 and under: free
Hours: check website for ticket availability and English Guides.
You might like to visit these places on the same metro line :
- Le Train BleuThis wonderful bustling restaurant, located in the Parisian train station, Gare de Lyon, is nothing short of spectacular, frescos, sculptures, banquette seating ...
- Restaurant Foyer de la MadeleineLurking deep in the cellars of L’église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine is one of Paris' best kept secrets, Restaurant Foyer de la Madeleine.
- Rue CrémieuxA tiny paved street, that oozes charm, lined with pretty colourful houses that will take your breath away, still one of Paris' best kept secrets.
You might also like to explore:
- Musée Jacquemart-AndréI love poking around former residences of the bourgeois and Musée Jacquemart-Andre is one of the finest you will see in Paris.
- Maison de Victor HugoNestled in a corner of Place des Vosges, is the former home of famous author of the Hunchback of Notre Dame; Victor Hugo.
- Musée Nissim de CamondoA splendidly elegant mansion and former home of the Camondo's with an evocative, unforgettably tragic family history.
- Musée des Arts ForainsTransport yourself back in time. Ride spectacular antique carousels, play ancient fair-ground games and admire colourful memorabilia.
- Musée de la Vie RomantiqueTucked away behind an unassuming green gate, you will discover this enchanting hôtel particulier. An absolute delight.
- Fondation Louis VuittonNothing short of spectacular, offering panoramic views and modern art, this new museum is sure to become another Paris icon.
- Petit PalaisNot as small as its name suggests. Elaborate ceiling murals, magnificent mosaics, grand staircases a pretty garden café and it is free.
- Muséum national d’histoire naturelleThis museum would have to be the most dramatic and stylishly arranged natural history museum in the world. Be dazzled in awe ....
- Musée Cognacq-JayThis stunning home of Samaritaine Department store founder, Ernest Cognacq-Jay and his wife Marie-Louise Jay, includes Fragonard, Rembrandt, Cézanne ...
- Musée de la Chasse et de la NatureThis wonderfully, quirky, informative, interactive museum, doesn't take itself too seriously. Exploring the history of hunting.
- Musée BourdelleFormer home and studio of the artist; Antoine Bourdelle, who was famous for his monumental public statues and friezes, is an exceptional free museum.
- Musée ZadkineThe small sun drenched former home of Ossip Zadkine allow light to bounce off African influenced work, giving the museum a quiet sense of calm and elegance.
- Musée RodinThe newly renovated mansion and former home of the artist, has an equally rich and inspiring history as Monsieur Auguste Rodin himself and then there are the gardens.
- Maison La Roche – Foundation Le CorbusierAt the end of a leafy private lane is an iconic tribute to the architect of modern architecture.
- Musée CarnavaletLocated in the heart of the Marais, this museum is dedicated to the history of Paris. Boasting 600,000 pieces, ranging from the 17th to 20th centuries.
- Palais de TokyoContemporary and cutting edge exhibitions of modern art, a very chic restaurant, late night openings until 12am and a great view of the Eiffel Tower.
- Musée d’OrsayThe former railway station, sitting on the left bank of the Seine, has the largest collection of impressionist and post impressionist art in the world.