Musée des Arts Forains – Paris

The museum of fairground arts in Bercy, eastern Paris is a weird place I must say. Open only a few weeks each year, located in former wine cellars, this place compiles a collection of roundabouts, mechanical horse races, stages with artists doing divers shows, trick mirrors, lots of fairground decoration as well as street artists, musicians & singers who entertain the crowd.

Photographically speaking, there are lots of opportunities here and you can shoot either people or the deco. There are subjects everywhere but the lighting can be really difficult. Inside you’ve to tune the white balance a lot, work with an aperture of f2.8 or better. f1.4 is of course way better but usually this is a 50mm lens then as only few people can afford an f1.4 20 or 30mm. As a 50mm ends up as a 75mm on an APS-C DSLR camera, it leaves you with a very narrow angle that limits you picturing details rather than larger areas. I worked with a 28-70 f2.8 and my inseparable 10-20mm Sigma.

Most impressive was that roundabout with bicycles all linked together that works only when everyone starts pedaling. All brass made, the entire thing was said to be a hundred years old and was still working perfectly. Given the speed it reaches when people ride it at full thrust, I hope it’s solid and will resist the non stop usage visitors make of it. There were more than 100 people waiting in line to get a ride on it.

Interesting to see was also that a few japanese and other tourists found their way into this place. That museum is not really communication about its existence, visible on the internet or even providing information in other language than french but a few curious tourists managed to get there to their total enjoyment.

Anyway, it was a nice initiative from Patrice, a fellow hobby photographer to take us there as I was completely unaware of this place. Enjoy the pics !