If you’re like most people, your first thought of what to visit in Paris is NOT the circus, but if you are a fan of trapeze artists, and beautiful horses, clowns, and even tigers, you can find them all at the Cirque D’Hiver, right next to the Filles de Calvaire metro stop (Line 8) on the Right Bank. This beautiful building was built during the reign of Napoleon III (mid- 1800’s) and it has housed circuses since 1852. The Bouglione family has operated it since 1934. It is called the “Winter Circus” because the Bouglione family has a circus in this building in the winter and tours around France during the spring and summer. I’m sorry to say this year’s show has just ended- it was called “Eclat” and ran from October 20th to March 17th, but there will be other sorts of events in the building during the spring and summer- musical concerts and a variety of other shows.
www.cirquedhiver.com is the website. The building holds about 2,000 people and because of its design, there are no obstructed seats– it is an oval building with 20 sides that enclose an oval ring and with its low angled roof, there is no center support pole like you have in a normal circus tent.
The building was recently renovated and it is really beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside, so stroll by there one evening or eat at one of the restaurants next door- the Clown Bar, for instance, is one we’ve enjoyed.