Musée des Arts Forains

historic fairground rides paris

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!

historic carousel rides paris

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.

pigs fly museum arts forains paris carousels
carousel horse paris museum merry go round

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.

historic fairground rides paris


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:


french waiters game musee arts forains fairground

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.


carousel merry go round paris

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:

historic fairground rides paris

Museé des Arts Forains – official website

Les Pavillons de Bercy
53 Avenue des Terroirs de France
Paris 75012

Nearest Metro :
Cour Saint-Emilion

Adults: €16, Children: (4-11) 8 euros, Children 4 and under: free

Hours: check website for ticket availability and English Guides.


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