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Paris Tips: Bouncing with the Clowns!

Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Paris Photos by Theadora Brack

Welcome to the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada

By Theadora Brack

Aren’t we a pair? You’re in midair and I’m here at last on the ground—pinching from Joni Mitchell. Where are the clowns?

Let’s launch the week with a nod to a few of my favorite wits,  clowns and puppets in Paris. (I’ve also included a pic of the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada. I shot it during a recent jaunt to the state. I do love clowns.)

So without further adieu, let the show begin!

Beep-beep!

Trekking to Paris? During the fall and winter, warm-up with the clowns at the one-ring Cirque d’hiver Bouglione. Imagine! Degas, Seurat, and Toulouse-Lautrec sat on these same red-velvet seats!

Tip! Stop by the nearby Clown Bar for a pre-show nibble. Its circus memorabilia-covered walls and frites will help get the party started. Pack your camera because there’s usually a photo-op with the troupe during intermission. For the love of Bozo, just do it!

Pleased as punch

During the warmer months, get all punchy with the 202-year-old puppet Guignol and his rowdy entourage at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont’s Théâtre Guignol Anatole. Before moving to the park in 1867, this same theater worked the crowds into laughing frenzies over on the Champs Élysées.

Tip! There are more than a dozen puppet theaters in Paris. For current show listings, pick up a weekly entertainment guide at any newsstand or kiosk. Also, keep your eyes peeled for posters. Now send in the clowns!

Cirque d’hiver Bouglione
11th arrondissement (Métro: Filles du Calvaire Metro or Oberkampf)

Cirque d’hiver Bouglione
11th arrondissement (Métro: Filles du Calvaire Metro or Oberkampf)

Abbesses
18th arrondissement (Métro Abbesses)

Mask by artist Gregos Passage des Abbesses
18th arrondissement (Métro Abbesses)

Porte de Vanves Flea Market
14th arrondissement (Métro Porte de Vanves)

BALLETS RUSSES VASLAV NIJINSKY, CIMETIÈRE DE MONTMARTRE
18TH ARRONDISSEMENT (MÉTRO: ABBESSES)

Candy Shack at  Place Blanche
18th arrondissement (Métro Blanche)

Porte de Vanves Flea Market
14th arrondissement (Métro: Porte de Vanves)

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45 thoughts on “Paris Tips: Bouncing with the Clowns!

    • As always, thanks for your swell words! The Cirque d’hiver Bouglione is a magical place! Theadora (By the way, I really enjoyed your recent post about guidebooks and bucket lists. Follow the nose!)

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  1. This is great! Too many people are afraid of clowns these days so I’m glad to see them thriving in Paris. Did I tell you I met Bozo? It was one of my life-defining moments and I’ve got the picture to prove it. 🙂

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      • I’m glad you’re a fellow Bozo fan! We used to live in Michigan near Windsor where the Bozo show was filmed and so I got to be on the show. Everyone in the neighborhood thought I was a movie star and actually brought presents after the show aired. It was probably my one and only real brush with fame. I’ll try finding your email address so I can send you the picture – it’s much better of Bozo than of me!

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      • Sheila, I love this story!! Your neighbors presented gifts after the show?! What did they give you? Here’s my email address: theadora.brack@gmail.com. Have you tried to find the footage?! Theadora

        (Historical Clown Tidbit: So Bozo was created by Alan W. Livingston during the 1940s. Vance DeBar “Pinto” Colvig was the very first Bozo. Pinto was also the voice of Goofy, Sleepy and Grumpy in the Disney flicks. Interesting!)

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      • And here I thought he was just Bozo – I had no idea he was also Goofy, Sleepy and Grumpy. Thanks for that info! I’ll send you the picture for laughs. I’ve never even thought to try to find the footage – might have to look into that if we can remember what day it might have been.

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  2. I think this is one of your best. The pictures tell ageat story and hey are vibrant and alive. Certainly adding this information to my “paris” list

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    • For the love of red velvet, the place is very cozy. It looks like an over-sized parlor. Rocking an old-fashioned vibe, there are also souvenir stands and snack bars. Of course, I always buy a magic wand! T.

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    • Thank you!! The Nijinsky sculpture is also one of my favorites. I fell for it at first sight. Very expressive! Rain or shine, I love strolling the grounds at the Cimetière de Montmartre, chatting with Nijinsky and the stray cats! Theadora

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      • Thanks! My husband got him on ebay but he has a ceramic head and the seller packed him in a box with absolutely no packing, not even a sheet of newspaper, and when he arrived his head was broken in pieces. My husband was able to glue him back together with just a few chips missing so he is somewhat of a sad clown! And that’s his story….

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      • Poor Pierrot! But for the love of glue and mana, he’s still alive and priceless. Humpty Dumpty needed your husband on his team! How long did it take to put Pierrot back together again? Sweet tale!! Theadora

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  3. Ha ha ha ha! Ho ho ho! Hee hee hee! Hoo-eee! Stop stop! Nooo! Ha ha ha ha ha! (Clowns always make me laugh.)

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    • I agree! The Nijinsky sculpture suits the dancer. Here’s one of my favorite quotes. When asked the secret to his airy, floating leaps, Nijinsky would say only, “You have just to go up and then pause a little up there.” Enjoy the week! Theadora

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    • Thanks, Krista!! But aren’t the roses beautiful? Cimetière de Montmartre is a hotspot for dance pilgrims. Here you’ll also find Marie Taglioni, Fanny Cerrito, and Edgar Degas, along with Courtier Paul Poiret and terpsichorean Louise Weber, a.k.a. La Goulue (the Glutton)! Oh, la la! Theadora (I’ve been enjoying your Paris posts!)

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      • The Taglioni grave was spectacular, with the pointe shoes on it. I finally saw her picture in a portrait at the Opéra museum. Have you been to the LV-Marc Jacobs exposition? It’s *gorgeous*.

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      • I love Maria Taglioni. She was one of the first to don the “above the ankle” skirt. Funny tip! Her popularity launched her name into the bright lingo spotlight. Folks started using the verb “Taglioniser.” Definition? To be slender and graceful. Love that. The Louis Vuitton Vs. Marc JacobsLes Arts Décoratifs looks gorgeous! The big show is on my list. Last year I got to see the LV exhibit at the Musée Carnavalet. It was beautiful. (And speaking of fashion exhibits, I’m also looking forward to seeing the Prada-Schiaparelli exhibit in New York.) Enjoy the weekend! Theadora

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  4. Dearest Theadora, on my way to Rome and when returning from Milano, my flight went over Paris and I blew some kisses out the window to you. Hope they found their way to your most kind, marvelous and brilliant self! I so love this posting – by blood a king, in heart a clown.

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  5. Don’t bother…they’re here! I am deep into the novel The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. For all of us who believe in magic The Night Circus is a trip to another world, another dimension. Then I read your blog and think “Theadora has been to The Night Circus and caught the magic in photographs”. Merci Virginia

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  6. Great post, Theadora! My husband is not so fond of clowns, think that they are very creepy creatures. Yet we’ve just been to a circus and our little girl was so charmed by the funny antics of those clowns. The most fun for her was to be able to ride the elephant…a real one! 😉

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    • Malou! A real elephant?! How big?! Where was the circus located? I’m impressed! Theadora (I used to take trapeze classes from former French circus workers. (Thanks to my great fear of heights, I left my one-ring “circus” life after a few months. It was scary!)

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