So there's a really cool museum in Paris that no one knows about. It's called the Musee des Arts Forains, which means "Museum of Fun-Fair Arts," and it's exactly what that sounds like: a private collection of really awesome vintage fun-fair rides, games, and ephemera. My best friend Alexandra told us about it after going on one of her trips to Paris.
It's housed in this fabulous series of brick warehouses surviving from the time that this neighborhood, Bercy, was the famed tax-free district for wine cellars, from the early 18th Century.
That's the history of the building. The collection celebrates a different history, that of the "carousel salon," these fantastic temporary pavilions that would be erected to attract a wealthy (and adult-only) clientele for an evening of wonder. Back then, carousels weren't for kids. Here's one of the pavilions:
It made me think of The Night Circus!
Anyway, it's fabulous, full of such wonderful things, and the best part: You RIDE the rides, and PLAY the games!
Here, the jewel of their collection, a bicycle carousel!
It's human-powered, from the days when bicycles were rare, and people could ride this to see what it was like! Let me tell you: it is FAST. Like hold-on-tight-so-you-don't-fly-off-it fast!
There was a fabulous Venetian automaton show too.
And plenty of silliness.
So, so pretty.
Highly recommended! And you need reservations so book ahead. Have fun!
(P.S. We haven't been back to Paris this week or anything -- we wish! These are from last spring.)