Main Page

From Circopedia

Revision as of 04:03, 22 January 2024 by Djando (Talk | contribs)

Welcome! ✫ Bienvenue! ✫ Willkommen! ✫ Добро Пожаловать!
Bienvenida! ✫ Benvenuto! ✫ 歡迎 ! ✫ Vítejte! ✫ Καλώς ήρθατ ε!
Üdvözöljük! ✫ Добре Дошли! ✫ Welkom! ✫ Ласкаво Просимо!
Velkommen! ✫ Tervetuloa! ✫ Дабро Запрашаем! ✫ Välkommen!

Circopedia was originally inspired and funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

In The Spotlight

NC Leopold Loyal.jpg


Located from 1886 to 1926 on the rue Saint Honoré in Paris, a chic shopping thoroughfare at a stone’s throw from the Place Vendôme, the Nouveau Cirque was the most elegant and innovative circus of the French capital—and, for that matter, of Europe. For many years, it was the High Society’s circus of choice. Its relatively small size gave it warmth and intimacy (it was sometimes referred to as a "bonbonniere"), but in time, the Nouveau Cirque’s limited capacity made it difficult to manage. It began to lose its prominence before the first World War and proved unable to adapt to the post-war era.

The Nouveau Cirque was built for its times—what is remembered today as the Parisian "Belle Époque" ("Beautiful Era"), of which it was one of the jewels. After WWI, Paris entered the Jazz Age. Then, in the early 1920s, the venerable Cirque d’Hiver, completely refurbished, returned to the presentation of circus shows after a rather futile hiatus as a movie-house and theater; the Cirque Medrano began to enjoy one of its more lucrative periods; and the brand-new Empire Music-Hall Cirque opened its doors Avenue de Wagram: The small "bonbonniere" that was the Nouveau Cirque looked suddenly like a remnant of another era. It faced a competition it was ill-equipped to fight. Once a revolutionary and trendsetting house whose rich and often glorious life had lasted forty years, the Nouveau Cirque finally called it quits.

The Nouveau Cirque was created by Joseph Oller (1839-1922), an imaginative entrepreneur and prolific provider of Parisian amusements. He was born Josep Oller i Roca in Terrassa, in Spanish Catalonia, on February 10, 1839; his parents were Francesc Oller, a fabric(See: Tissu) merchant, and his wife, Teresa, née Roca. The family emigrated to France when Josep was two years old, and the Ollers settled in Paris where Josep, now Joseph, was raised. He eventually returned to Spain to study at the University of Bilbao in the Basque Country, and while there, he discovered cockfighting, which was still very popular in the nineteenth century. His passion for this gory game led him to become a bookmaker—his first entrepreneurial endeavor.

Back to Paris, Oller transferred his bookmaking activities to horse racing. France had gained by then a new Emperor, Napoléon III, whose half-brother, the Duc de Morny, had been influential in the development of horse racing in France and had built the Deauville-La Touques racetrack in 1862. Morny died in 1865, but with his help, Oller had begun to develop the concept of the "pari mutuel" (literally meaning "mutual betting"), an innovative system in which bets are placed in a pool, and the winners share the losers' stakes—after the bookmaker has taken his commission. Oller put his new system to work in 1867; it replaced advantageously fixed-odds betting and made him a rich man indeed. Oller also launched Le Bulletin des Courses, France’s first horse-racing journal.... (more...)

New Essays and Biographies

New Videos

New Oral Histories

Circopedia Books

A Message from the Founder

CIRCOPEDIA is a constantly evolving and expanding archive of the international circus. New videos, biographies, essays, and documents are added to the site on a weekly—and sometimes daily—basis. Keep visiting us: even if today you don't find what you're looking for, it may well be here tomorrow! And if you are a serious circus scholar and spot a factual or historical inaccuracy, do not hesitate to contact us: we will definitely consider your remarks and suggestions.

Dominique Jando
Founder and Curator