What, no tent? Cirque d'Hiver is one of the few remaining permanent (and stationary) circuses today and is apparently where Jules Léotard invented the trapeze, and subsequently, to make the act both safer and more pleasing to the eye, the famous garment that bears his name.
What's more, the polygonal building looks like something out of Asterix and Obelix, and has been run by the same Bouglione family since it opened in 1852. Traditional circus performances with the likes of trapeze artists, contortionists and animal acts, as well as the usual motley crew of clowns, take place during the winter months.
To make an evening of it, go to the clown-themed restaurant down the road that serves delicious home-made French traditional cooking, with fabulous wine, ideal for a pre- or post-circus dinner (Le Clown Bar: 114 rue Amelot, tel: 01 43 55 87 35).