Going to the circus in Paris

The capital has several big tops and other venues where you can discover circus arts with the family.

There’s nothing like a circus show for great family entertainment! Kids and their parents love watching the thrilling acts of jugglers, clowns, acrobats and wild animal trainers. Paris offers both traditional circuses and new contemporary circuses to provide an exceptional variety of circus acts. A world full of fun and excitement. Roll up, roll up for the circus!

Paris’s great traditional circus venues

Circuses can be found on the edge of Paris as well in the centre of the capital. These big tops and other venues put on traditional circus shows for circus fans.

The Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione has been home to the shows of the famous Bouglione company for over half a century and is one of the oldest circuses in the world. This legendary circus ring hosts a new show every year, complete with acrobats, clowns, trapeze artists, animals and jugglers. A veritable institution!

Over on the Pelouse de Reuilly, every year from November to January, you’ll find the Cirque Pinder and their iconic red and gold big top! This popular circus, which started 160 years ago, casts a spell over the audience with its stunts, acrobatics and juggling numbers, clowns ... The highlight of the show is lion trainer Frédéric Edelstein and his famous white lions!

Also on the Pelouse de Reuilly from late autumn, the Cirque Arlette Gruss puts on circus shows full of poetry with a combination of acts: clowns, puppets, motorbike stunts, wild animal trainer and acrobatics. A must!

For more than 40 years, the Alexis Gruss big top, with its 3,000 heated seats, has been taking up residence at the Carrefour des Cascades in the Bois de Boulogne for the winter season. This typical family circus is one of the leading specialists in equestrian arts. In recent years, the choreography on horseback has been enhanced by the aerial acrobatics of the Les Farfadais company from the ‘new circus school’.

In the Square Parodi, the Romanès Cirque Tsigane takes you to the heart of the origins of the circus, in pure gypsy tradition! Alexandre Bouglione, who initiated this return to the roots of the circus, welcomes spectators into his family to enjoy captivating performances. The show features music from the Balkans sung by his wife Delia and acrobatic and juggling acts by their own children and other artists in the troupe.

Finally, over in the 15th arrondissement, circus shows by the Cirque Bormann-Moreno (one of the jewels of the circus tradition for more than 30 years), take place throughout the year. The 7th generation of this illustrious circus family are presenting the show ‘Le Voyage dans le temps' which combines tradition and modernity with juggling, aerial trapeze, animal taming  and other acts. Introduction to circus arts workshops are organized for children.

A Journey through time - Cirque Bormann

And for a hands-on experience of the wonderful world of the circus, go to the Park of Chanteraines at Villeneuve-la-Garenne to enjoy ‘A day at the Micheletty circus’. On the programme: an instructor in the arts of the circus ring, special activities, and show!

New types of circus

In the North-East of Paris, contemporary circus has a special place! It blends several artistic disciplines – theatre, dance, music, happenings, even video – and is performed in multidisciplinary venues.

La Villette with its eclectic cultural programme welcomes troupes in residence from around the world and offers several contemporary circus shows throughout the year. Events such as Villette en Cirques or the festival 100% highlight this new form of creation. Other places offering contemporary circus shows to audiences include the Centquatre and its amazing poetic pieces or the Cirque Electrique with its unique creations and circus school (from 2 years).

In a different vein, the Zèbre de Belleville is a circus-cabaret that puts on artistic performances combining circus arts, music hall and cabaret. At the weekend, their Z'ateliers cirque workshops invite children and parents into the ring!

Established in 2000, the Cirque Phénix welcomes circus companies from around the world during the winter season for incomparable performances. The not-to-miss Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain takes place there at the start of every year. This international event presents the elite of the circus ring, the latest talents, promising young artists, and throws a light on changes in circus techniques.