Cirque Medrano

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Toulouse-Lautrec's oil sketch, Cirque Fernando: The Equestrienne, 1887–88, suggests a stylish gentlemen-only dress rehearsal before white tie dinners or the opera [2]

The Cirque Medrano (in English: Circus Medrano) is a French circus, that was located at 63 Boulevard Rochechouart, at the corner of rue des Martyrs, on the edge of Montmartre in Paris. It was originally called Cirque Fernando. The circus is now a travelling circus touring across the world.


Medrano Circus started in Toulouse where many famous modern artists got their inspiration for the modern art to come. Everyone fled to Europe when they saw the amazing culture that the circus created in the late 19th century. The family Cirque Fernando was linked to the British travelling circus family Robert Austen Brothers. This link led to Cirque Fernando changing its name and becoming a European travelling circus. The name Robert Austens Mediterrean Circus became MedRAno. Medrano was also the name of a Spanish clown employed at the Cirque Fernando in Paris. Past performers have included Buster Keaton together with his wife Eleanor as a double act between 1947 and 1954 [3], Annie Fratellini, and Arthur Vercoe Pedlar. American actor Billy Beck was the only American to be regularly employed at Medrano as a clown in the early 1950s.

Cirque Medrano in the arts[edit]

Edgar Degas, the French Impressionist artist, painted Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando in 1879, now in the National Gallery in London [4]. Auguste Renoir, another Impressionist artist, painted Jugglers at the Cirque Fernando [5]. In the late 19th century, the Parisian post-impressionist artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec also attended the Cirque Medrano and produced pictures based on it [6].


Mr Raoul Gibault bought the name rights of the Medrano family and to this day his Cirque Medrano - Raoul Gibault tours France with a Big Top. From the fall to January the circus travels with several units presenting Medrano's Cirque sous l'eau (=Water circus show) and Medrano's Grand Cirque de Saint Petersbourg (=Circus of Saint Petersburg).[1]

In Popular Culture[edit]

In Henry Miller's novel, Tropic of Cancer, Cirque Médrano is mentioned as one of the places that he would visit with his ex-pat friend Carl.


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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°52′54″N 2°20′25″E / 48.88167°N 2.34028°E / 48.88167; 2.34028