Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to follow an animal act: Cirque d'Hiver & Le Clown Bar

I've always loved the circus arts: juggling, high wire, clowning; I also love the animals, especially big cats, these days un-PC. So when Le Duc noticed that the Cirque d'Hiver or "Winter Circus" was running, we jumped at the chance to see both the spectacle and the 1852 indoor ampitheatre.

The building is a jewel box of vibrant marbles, ruby velvet, 150 year-old murals, gilt and glamour- a full bar at a circus, with upholstered banquettes, chandeliers, champagne. Now that's family fun.

Sightlines are unobstructed by a ce
ntral pole, since the dome is small and supported by a 20-sided polygon building. We sat mere yards from the ring, bouncing nets over us. The acts ranged from dignified animal numbers (thank god, no tigers in silly hats) to breathtaking trapeze, all accompanied by a zestful eight piece orchestra, punctuated by the aahhs! of rapt families.

I happened to pack this Hermes "La Magie" scarf, with its art deco circus theme, so of course wore it, receiving compliments and smiles from the staff.

About two-thirds of the kids were dressed in standard jeans and tees; one third in French finery: velvet dresses, skirts and matching sweaters, tiny preppy quilted jackets. Two sisters in pink tulle ballet skirts, and a teenaged g
irl in a tiger-ear headband.

After th
e show, we skipped next door to Le Clown Bar, one of our all time favourite wine bars- just 12 tiny tables and a zinc.

Packed with clown memorabilia (and a few live specimens), it's a tiny, unpretentious treasure, alive with colour and stunning tile work.

Thank god for the hearty and skillful cooking (boudin noir for Le Duc, galettes de morue for me, and a steak tartare for Jules) that provided ballast against rafts of VDP de la Vallee du Paradis Langedoc, a wine so seductive that the three family members present indulged in various animal behaviours of our own.

8 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

Wow, that sounds fantastic! Is it located in the Bois de Bolougne?

I don't know if I could do the clown bar, though. For some odd reason I've always been creeped out by clowns, even as a kid, long before they were the evil in horror movies. Geau figure.

La Belette Rouge said...

Your scarf is gorgeous. Like Deja, I am a bit scared of the clowns. But other than the clown bar it sounds like a lovely day that could only be had in Paris.

Duchesse said...

Pseu: In the 11th, near Place de la Republique.

materfamilias said...

What fun! A glimpse of Parisien culture the average tourist will walk right by. Your theme day was crowned by that gorgeous scarf which will now have, additionally, that aura of wonderful memory whenever you wear it.

Julianne said...

Sounds like a great time, and the scarf is beautiful. Very different and I like that.

Julianne said...

sounds like a fun time and the scarf is beautiful. Very different and I like that.

metscan said...

Oh my, I like your Hermes scarf. If it were mine I´d pair it with my coral beads and jeans. I like it cause it is so playful!

Duchesse said...

metscan and julianne: Full disclosure: in the neighbourhoods where I huung out, H-scarves spotted mostly on older business-dressed women. And of course every woman who hit the Hermes in the duty-free area of CDG before boarding the plane. Customs officials must have laugh: "Anything to declare?" 50ish female traveler: "Nooooo"- all of whom wearing a crisp new scarf.