The Circus of Reims and its stables were opened in 1867 in the redesigned garden of Patte d’Oie. The building was inspired by the Parisian Cirque d’Été (Summer Circus) and designed by the Reims city architect Narcisse Brunette.
The circus building rises over three floors, in a 16-sided polygonal shape, 33 meters in diameter. The circus ring has the standard width of 13 meters. The antique-inspired decor, damaged during World War I, was replaced in the 1920s by the gold-accented blue and ocher that can still be admired today.
From its beginnings, the venue hosted all kinds of cultural events: shows, exhibitions, cinema (from 1896). Big names performed under its roof: Johann Strauss Jr., Sarah Bernhardt … as well as some of the greatest circus troupes of their time. It is also one of the best-known and highly regarded venues of French boxing, especially in the early 1920’s when several times a month meetings crowds gathered around great boxing champions. After 1945, boxing and wrestling took a predominant place in the programming.
Finally, this cultural venue, being the largest in the city, housed the large gatherings that mark the life of the Reims population: conferences and congresses, political meetings, parties, fairs, prize-giving, they all took place there.
After extensive work, this building regained its original vocation as an auditorium in 1991. Reims has managed to preserve this element of its heritage – one of the last “stone” circuses still in operation in France -, to make it conform to the standards of security and equip it with the stage facilities essential for today’s sophisticated shows, while maintaining its unique style and atmosphere. Its architecture has been enhanced by restoration and renovation.
Boulevard du Général Leclerc
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