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Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione (Established 1852)



  • Existence: Established 11 December 1852


The History of the Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione started in 1851 when Louis Dejean built a static circus in Paris to host equestrian shows. The circus was named after the then Prince of France, Louis-Napoléon III and its doors opened for the first time on 11 December 1852. The circus grew from strength to strength displaying not only feats of equestrianism but also a range of other circus arts, including Jules Léotard’s first ever flying trapeze act.

After the fall of the French Second Empire in 1870, the circus was quickly renamed Cirque National, only to change name again three years later to Cirque d’Hiver.

During the early 1900s the building became a theatre, which operated until the outbreak of World War One, when it closed its doors. Cirque d’Hiver reopened in 1923 after comprehensive renovations. During the next decade the success of the business fluctuated and at one point it became a swimming pool, until in 1934 the Bouglione family took over the building to reinstate the circus as Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione.

The Bouglione family were an Italian circus family who specialised on wild cat acts and later wild west shows. They first started travelling around France with a travelling menagerie in the 1800s and by the early 1900s their business had developed into the Four Bouglione Brothers’ Circus. It wasn’t until they started to present their ‘Buffalo Bill's Circus Stage Show' though that they achieved wide recognition. The outbreak of World War Two stopped the brothers’ plans to develop the circus and between 1940 and 1941 the building was requisitioned by the Nazis.

After 1941 the Bouglione family returned to the building and started again from where they left off. For the following decades Cirque d’Hiver Bougline engaged international performers to deliver an ever innovative programme to the French audience. At the same time they continued running a touring show around France until the 1980s.

In 1999 the business passed to the next generation of the Bouglione family. By this time, the building had been given historical monument status, and the family embarked on a renovation programme with the help of the Paris government, fans and supporters of the circus. The building was restored to its former glory and at its heart the Musee Bougline was created to tell the story of the circus, which still continues to entertain audiences in the twenty first century.

Found in 8 Collections and/or Records:

Bouglione Circus Programme, c1970 - 1979

Reference code: 178K41.44
Scope and Contents

Cirque D’Hiver de Paris. Colour photos of acts. Contains illustration cut-out cover, 24p.p.

Dates: c1970 - 1979

Christopher Palmer Collection

Reference code: NFA0105
Scope and Contents

Circus programmes and VHS tapes from Billy Smart’s Circus and Chipperfields’s Circus collected during the 1970s and early 1980s by the TV producer, Christopher John Palmer. There are also a number of promotional photographs of artistes and other ephemera related to the circus.

Dates: 1973 - 1983

Circus Friends Association Collection

Reference code: NFA0122
Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a large library of books and journals, as well as archival material including posters, programmes, photographs, films, handbills, research material, scrapbooks, original artwork and many other items of ephemera relating to British, Irish and European circuses

Dates: 1795 - 2020

Films, 1927 - 2007

Reference code: 178D13
Scope and Contents

Compilation of circus films showing acts on the ring as well as interviews with performers and proprietors, mainly produced by tv companies in the UK and Europe. Many of them narrated in German.

Dates: 1927 - 2007

Monographs, Articles, Manuscripts and Research Material, c1795 - 1999

Reference code: 178B30
Scope and Contents

Compilation of monographs, articles, manuscripts and a range of research material about circus companies and performers in the United Kingdom, Europe and other parts of the world by various authors, the research was mainly compiled by Hal Thomas.

Dates: c1795 - 1999

Programmes, 1970 - 1981

Reference code: 178K41
Scope and Contents

Programmes for various British and international circuses including Billy Russell's, Blackpool Tower, Fossett's, Chipperfield's and the Toni Boltini's Circus.

Dates: 1970 - 1981

Research on International Circuses, c1900 - 1999

Reference code: 178B30.29
Scope and Contents Various pieces of research conducted by Hal Thomas and other authors, entitled; 'A Century of Circuses in Switzerland, 'Vocabulary and Translation, De Piste', 'Cirque Olympique', 'Les Ecuyeres', 'French Circus, Dynasties', 'The Permanent Circuses of the Provinces of France, 'Le Cirque D'Hiver', 'Indes to articles in Le Cirque dans L'Univers', 'Liberty Horses', 'The Travelling Circus', 'U.S.A. Circus Biographies', 'Aminals and Men', ' America Railroad Circuses', 'U.S.A. Motorised Circuses',...
Dates: c1900 - 1999

Stars in der Menage, Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione, 22nd Paris Circus Festival and 25th Monte Carlo Circus Festival Films, 2001

Reference code: 178D13.20
Scope and Contents WDR, Ein Produktion des BR, Telmondis, Josette Affergan, France 3. Colour, sound and background music. DVD1 Stars in der Manege, opening with Circus Krone and Circus Roncali scenes including acrobatics, aerial acts, the wheel of death, comedy acts, seal act, zebra act, elephants, equestrian act, trapeze act, narrated and presented in German, followed by the 22nd Paris Circus Festival featuring Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione and Zircus Von Morgen, showing animal acts, acrobatics, high wire, aerial...
Dates: 2001