Fairground entertainers demonstrate against LVMH’s future amusement park in Paris

On Monday, about one hundred fairground entertainers demonstrated in Paris against the opening next June of an LVMH amusement park at the Jardin d’acclimatation, a long-standing children’s amusement park in the Bois de Boulogne, owned by the City of Paris.

Fairground entertainers demonstrating in Paris in front of the Louis Vuitton Foundation - J.DEMARTHON/AFP

The entertainers, mobilised by France’s national fairground and circus entertainers’ unions, used some forty trucks to block several entrances to the Jardin d’acclimatation, located next door to the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

The new amusement park, whose concession was assigned to the LVMH group, will have 40 fairground rides, 17 of them brand-new. It is set to open on June 1st, after €60 million worth of renovation work which began last September.

“We want to understand how the Paris City authorities managed to approve the building of an amusement park on public grounds. It’s a complete surprise, no one knew anything about it,” said an outraged Marcel Campion, a long-established Parisian fairground promoter.

LVMH manages the 18-hectare site, and in 2016 was awarded a 25-year extension to the concession, run with ski-resort operator Compagnie des Alpes. “It was done on the sly, turning Bernard Arnault [the CEO of LVMH] into the top fairground operator in France,” denounced Marcel Campion.

The demonstrators also accused the City authorities of “stealing the fairground rides” belonging to the Sacreste family, which has worked at the Jardin d’acclimatation “for 50 years,” and of “gifting them” to LVMH.

“It’s false, there is no stock-in-trade, no one else owns the assets in question, the fairground rides. The very principle of a concession implies that the goods belong to the licensing authority,” replied the City of Paris.

“The contract was set to end in December 2015. We were asked to sign an extension for an extra ten months, on condition that we left the fairground rides to the City of Paris. We refused,” said Florian Sacreste.

After speaking to Marc-Antoine Jamet, the President of the Jardin d’acclimatation and the General Secretary of LVMH, the entertainers were promised a “written document” attesting that the luxury group would not open any other amusement park in France. “[LVMH] will also make sure we’ll get an audience with Anne Hidalgo,” the mayor of Paris, about the fairground rides, said Marcel Campion.

LVMH wants to turn the Jardin d'acclimatation, which was inaugurated in 1860, into the second-largest amusement park in France after Disneyland Paris, with an estimated 3 million visitors by 2025.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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