Discover more from Barry Frangipane's Newsletter
The Puppets of Luxembourg Gardens
Les Marionettes du Jardin du Luxembourg
The lake at Luxembourg Gardens was almost devoid of children on a Saturday morning. But where were they?
Walking through the trees beyond the lake, I saw a large crowd under the trees. Children waited in line with great anticipation. As I got closer, I saw the sign on a building almost hidden behind the trees. The words Théâtre du Luxembourg were written on the side of the building, along with pictures of puppets. I had happened upon the largest marionnette theater in France! Following the crowd inside the theater, I was treated to a wonderful performance of The Three Little Pigs, with an entire cast of puppets.
That was in 1979. The theater created by Robert Desarthis has been entertaining children and adults alike for almost a century. In fact, this year (2023) they celebrate 90 years of puppet performances in Luxembourg Gardens
Francis-Claude Desarthis enjoys telling the story of how his father performed his first puppet show at the age of six in Place d’Italie. In 1930, Robert had a small open-air theater in Parc Montsouris, in the south of Paris. Then in 1933 he build the theater in Luxembourg Gardens, financed entirely with his own money! Francis-Claude took over as director in 1971. Like a proud son, he has followed the craft of his father, and the puppet shows continue.
It matters not if you speak French. The next time you visit Paris, spend some time relaxing in Luxembourg Gardens, and take in a show. The theater is open year-round (there is a small break in August), and with 275 seats you won’t need a reservation.
So when you are tired of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Champs-Élysées, go to Théâtre du Luxembourg to experience a bit of history hidden in a park in the center of Paris.
Here’s a great video of the theater and the puppet master Francis-Claude Desarthis:
For performance times, Click Here.
If you go, or have already seen the show, let me know!
(all photos not otherwise noted copyright: Marionnettes du Jardin du Luxembourg)