La Musée des Arts Forains - Carnival Arts Museum 
Monday, January 3, 2011
Heather Stimmler-Hall in Around Town, Bercy, Paris, Sightseeing, antique, carnival, fair, forain, merry-go-round

The privately-owned Musée des Arts Forains (Carnival Arts Museum) in the Pavillons de Bercy are only open to the general public for special occaisons, such as the winter holidays...and today was the last day, désolé! Here are a few photos to whet your appetite for the next special opening.

The Pavillons de Bercy are part of the old wine warehouse district, located just behind Bercy Village.

From the moment you enter, you know it's a magical place.

Beautiful antique merry-go-round horses welcome visitors, along with flocked pine trees for Christmas.

A mystical attraction with a live carnival hawker telling people their fortune below the unicorn grotto.

Antique carnival signs. Most of the private collection dates from the 19th-century fairgrounds in France.

Not for children! The halls of the museum are huge, with actual antique carnival rides. But there's no neon or tackiness like today's fairs. It's all low-lit, antique, almost sinister...not conductive for taking photos, but magical to stroll around with a date.

The Paris waiter's race, kids at the bottom are trying to get their skee balls in the high-point holes to advance their waiter.

In the courtyard, vin chaud, a real gypsy wagon, and some very interesting decor. Keep an eye on the Secrets of Paris Calendar for announcements of the next opening.

Here's a news video (in French) which gives you a great idea of the atmosphere inside:

Note: the space can also be rented for private events.


Update on Monday, October 19, 2015 by Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall

There are now English tours of the museum available throughout the year: English Tours of the Carnival Museum

Article originally appeared on The only authentic insider guide to Paris. (
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