When I was living in southern France, I noticed how fanatic the French are about merry-go-rounds (or carrousels in French). Then I realized it’s not just the French. Carousels are deeply ingrained in European culture; you’re guaranteed to bump into at least a couple of them in most if not all major European cities. Out of curiosity, I decided to do a little investigation and found some interesting websites. Who’d guess that I could so easily find organizations and publications like the National Carousel Association and The Carousel News & Trader?
Although little has been documented about European carousels, we know that in the early days, carousels were used as a cavalry-training device by crusaders. More than 800 years later, most of the carousels still standing were built exclusively for amusement, even those considered antiques. Today, the National Carousel Association has indexed a total of 375 carousels in the US, with the oldest one being built in the 1840s, in Hessville, Ohio. Although some of those American carousels are gorgeous, they don’t hold a candle to the carousels that exist in Europe. Here are my picks for some of the most beautiful carousels in Europe.
And American culture is unfortunately prevalent in some places…
Carousels are like wonderlands disconnected from their surroundings and where only happiness belongs. I thought my affection and obsession for them was inexplicable. But after the past couple hours of researching and writing this article, I now understand where my obsession comes from. After seeing all the world-famous and note-worthy merry-go-rounds, here I’m going to show you my absolutely favorite one (drum roll please)…the carousel printed on the small tin box in one of my favorite movies, “Love me if you dare” (original French title: Jeux d’enfants).
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