By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: There are so many carousels throughout Paris. What's the deal with the large ferris wheel? On our next trip to Paris we anticipate riding on board a few.

A: Well, the fondness France has for things bohemian and anything related to carnivals seems to be a passion the French have warmly embraced for centuries.

Next time you see flamethrowers outside the Pompidou Centre or watch a mime artist shadow dance beside a curious onlooker on the steps of the Sacre Couer, remember it is the simple joie de vivre.

In fact, this appreciation of things related to the circus is so big that the French Ministry of Culture and Communication billed the summers of '01 and '02 as, "Année du Cirque," (The Year of the Circus) with events scheduled in over 150 locations.

The colorful carousels can still be enjoyed across France and especially in Paris.

You mentioned the large ferris wheel. This could be none other than the towering ferris wheel that stood on the historic Place de la Concorde beside the obelisque. The structure was built as a celebratory piece to highlight the millennium celebrations and was intended to be temporary.

Sadly, with much refute from the Ferris wheel's owner who in his younger days was a clown himself, the mayor decided it was time to disband it and on January 24th, 2002 crews started to dismantle the once omnipresent Ferris wheel.

For other travel-related information, contact the France Tourism Office, MAISON DE LA FRANCE, at 1981 av. Mc Gill College Suite 490, Montreal, QUE H3A 2W9 Tel : (514) 876 9881.


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