16.2.12

A fun fair museum




This area, Bercy, used since the beginning of the 18th century to be Paris’ major wine storage and market… This was then outside the Paris borders and alcohol was for a long time tax free, so it was not only a place for merchants, but also a place of “guinguettes”; bistros and bars. Bercy developed to be the world’s largest wine market. Wine arrived in large barrels by road, rail … and by the nearby river Seine.

During the last decades the area has been transformed into a park (see previous posts) and only a few of the old warehouses (and rail tracks) remain.










At one end of the park you find some of the old warehouses transformed into a large number of shops and restaurants (Cours Saint Emilion), and then if you cross the street behind you see some more warehouses. Looking through the gate (see top picture) you wonder…


If you take the walk around the block, you will reach the real entrance to what is named “Les Pavillons de Bercy”. The buildings date from the end of the 19th century and have an assistant to Gustave Eiffel as architect. They have now been transformed into some kind of gigantic fun fair museum.


It has all been created by an antique-dealer, restaurant owner, who since some 30-40 years has collected all kinds of historic fun fair equipment from France and abroad … and on a large scale. The place is full of complete and important installations, carefully restored.

The first pleasure is just to walk between the buildings. In each window there is a little statue…




The decorations and the light settings are impressive…






No plastic around; the merry-go-round horses are in light linden-tree wood and the original paintings have been made visible…





You can watch some automated singing, dancing and playing…





Some walls are covered by wax figures from the Grévin Museum…



Some machines are really impressive…  Everything works and kids (and adults) can enjoy!



The below “bicycle-merry-go-round” (from 1875) has needed thousands of hours of restoration. It’s up to you to use the pedals. The speed you reach is amazing … and must have been felt even more amazing those days.



Surprisingly, the place is not permanently open. You'd better call (+33143401622) and check for an arranged tour. I was just lucky to pass by at the beginning of a guided tour. Next time I will bring the grandkids. 

24 comments:

Vagabonde said...

Peter, this sounds like an enchanting place – how fortuitous that you went there when it was open. My mother’s side of the family is in the “fair” business and I grew up riding many merry go rounds – it is all so much fun for kids – your grandchildren will love this place. Next time I am in Paris I’ll have to see if they are open.

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Whoever knew Bercy had such treasures! As always, your photos and text are magnifique!

Denise

French Girl in Seattle said...

Bonjour Peter. In recent years, le Parc de Bercy and Bercy Village (Cours St Emilion) have been one of my favorite places to visit in Paris. I was so happy when I saw this post, as that neighborhood is not always mentioned in travel guides (maybe that's a good thing, eh?) The fair looks lovely-- I have not had a chance to go inside the old wharehouses yet, but am glad you did. Isn't la Cinématheque de Paris, the remodeled museum of cinema, in that neighborhood as well? Another place I need to visit when I return. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Studio at the Farm said...

Peter, what an amazing and delightful part of Paris! I love all the antique carnival artifacts. Thank you once more for a fabulous posting!!!

Olivier said...

c'est un endroit que je connais pas, et le trouve magique, a noter pour ma prochaine sortie parisienne, merci peter

ALAIN said...

Un bien bel endroit, pour y aller en famille.

Cergie said...

... ou pour la journée du patrimoine
C'est à l'intérieur un peu poussiéreux, il est possible de louer ce musée pour des événements...

SusuPetal said...

What a paradise!

Irisnebel said...

was fuer eine wunderbare atmoshaere!

Cezar and Léia said...

Dear Peter,
It looks a very interesting place to visit, I'm taking my notes here.The window's decoration is so different, and I love that first shot!
hugs
Léia

hpy said...

Ca vaut certainement une visite - ou deux.

M said...

Amazing! Indoor caroussels for Genie .... clockwise and counterclockwise! You must go back and see it through a child's eyes (although your photos prove you are very young at heart!)

claude said...

Quelle découverte pour moi cet endroit, Peter ! Tu fais bien de vouloir y emmener tes petits enfants.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Very interesting.

Delphinium said...

Tiens, j'aimerais bien y aller aussi, tu nous organises une visite groupée? :-)

Virginia said...

And another time you will bring moi? I'm drooling over the photo ops here. Mary said I could get my "Rouge fix" but I never dreamed it was this delightful. Your photos are terrific Peter. The top shot is very artistic! :)

Bon weekend,
V

Yingying Xue said...

nice page!

Starman said...

I like the Bercy area, though I haven't been there in ages.

George McKay said...

I will definitely keep your blog handy to refer to when I'm planning a trip to Paris - a tremendous travel guide for what to see!

Jeanie said...

I think my Paris to-do list will be longer than my time in Paris! How I love those beautiful old merry-go-rounds. And wine!

This is Belgium said...

The first picture reminds me (with a lot of imagination) of the Spanish moss on the cemetery in Selma,AL. I wrote about it today.
Your posts are always so thorough, interesting and complete !

Catherine said...

Wow it looks like a real fun place to visit for sure.....beautiful photos..

Trotter said...

Bercy is back to live... and not only to ministerial affairs...

riyanwillson said...

Thank you for your excellent, unique and original blog.
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