21 October 2023
We take pictures of it from every angle, we paint it or sketch it in charcoal, we cite it as an example, we visit it in the same way as the Eiffel Tower and it is legitimate. Like no other, the Cirque d'Hiver is a reference and its legend extends well beyond our borders: it is the oldest circus in the world.
Take a walk in the oldest circus in the world!
It must be admitted that the building itself stands out from all the hard capitals, known as stable or fixed circuses. This polygon 42 m in diameter, twenty sides pierced by no less than 40 windows, is intriguing. It's a curiosity. Better: an institution! Imposing, majestic, unique, the oldest circus in the world contributes to the influence of the art of circus performance - officially recognized as such since 1978 -.
Erected in 1852, almost a century after the advent of the modern circus, the Cirque d'Hiver was first called Cirque Napoléon and later became Cirque National. The new Emperor Napoleon III inaugurates the first civil building built under the Second Empire in "only" ten months: a record for completing a work of this ambition signed Ignace Hittorf. The renowned architect – the Gare du Nord, it’s him! – is assisted by the most illustrious painters and sculptors: Pradier or Bosio, to name but a few. The Cirque d'Hiver, renamed in 1873, has never ceased to achieve excellence with legendary artists (Fratellini, Zavatta, Houcke, etc.) thanks to the Bouglione family who, since its acquisition in 1934, have known how to make it a sacred place. Because it is almost religiously that one enters there to soak up its prestigious past.
Reserved for invisual visitors
For more than 10 years old.