If you wander around any neighborhood in Paris, you're bound to come across a detail, a place, a person, or an activity that catches your eye. Today in the 17e arrondissement I stumbled upon what appeared to be circus tents and gypsy caravans. Curiosity is my middle name, so I circled around a bit and observed. Inside the fence enclosure were happy people laughing and greeting each other. There seemed to be a lot of positive energy. It didn't look like the stereotypical carnival circus. Something vibrant and joyful. The sign read "Chapiteaux Turbulents!" Chapiteau means big-top or circus tent.
A few people were hanging out at the entrance gate, so I stopped to ask a woman what this was. "We welcome les jeunes handicapés and teach them les arts du spectacle, performing arts," she explained. She kindly allowed me to take a photo or two from the entrance.
I turned to leave and these two jolly guys stood in my path and mugged for a photo. "Great! " I laughed. "Merci! It will be in my blog, and your handsome faces will be seen across the internet."
"What's the name of le site?" one asked.
"Polly-Vous Français." I spelled, pay-oh-deuzell-eegrek.
"Oh, so you speak English?" he immediately switched to English.
"Oui." I replied.
It turns out that Chapiteaux Turbulents! is not just any clown school. It offers multidsicplinary performing arts workshops for youths and adults with autism or communications disorders. The Turbulence! association was founded fifteen years ago by French actor Philippe Duban and Howard Buten, an American in Paris who is a writer, psychologist -- and well known as Buffo the clown. The Turbulents' first public performance was in May 2007. I look forward to the next one.
Watch a silent video of the building of the big top.
For more information, contact:
Espace culturel et artistique à Paris
222 Rue de Courcelles
01 42 27 47 31