Carousels originally come from Italy.

The first carousel appeared in France in the second half of the 19th century and quickly became very popular with the Parisians.

1900’s is considered as the Golden Age of the carousel, and modern merry-go-rounds look very similar to the original ones.

Traditional Carousel in Paris

The carousels are still part of the Parisians’ daily life as nearly twenty merry-go-rounds are found throughout the capital. The concessions are granted by the City of Paris to private owners.

Some merry-go-rounds have been on the same spot for years, others settle temporarily on the lawns of the Tuileries Gardens, Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne for the time of a fair.

Carousel in front of Montparnasse station in Paris
Carousel in front of Montparnasse station in Paris

One of my favourite is the carousel that stays permanently on the tiny Square Willette below the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.

Carousel in Montmartre near the Sacre-Coeur
Carousel in Montmartre near the Sacre-Coeur

The ceilings of the Italian-built carousel represent the Canals of Venice but the theme chosen for its wooden horses (which are actually plastic) is the American Wild West with diligence and Indians…


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About the author

I am French Parisienne and lived in Asia for nearly 20 years before settling in the UK 3 years ago. I have an interest in everything and every culture and am an avid reader. French linguistics is my "specialty" but I have a passion for history and try to mingle them. Humour is very important to me, I love writing, talking, laughing, exchanging ideas, learning more from others... the world is full of fascinating people! I never leave my home without my camera, there is always something unusual, beautiful or strange to capture. I like to pay attention to details, to the world of the "small", a parallel world if you take the time to look for it...And above all, I love my country of birth, France.