Rosa Bouglione

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Rosa Bouglione
Rosa Bouglione née Rosalie Van Been.jpg
Bouglione in 2014
Born Rosa Van Been
(1910-12-21)21 December 1910
Ixelles, Belgium
Died 26 August 2018(2018-08-26) (aged 107)
Paris, France
Resting place Lizy-sur-Ourcq, France
Known for Circus performer
Joseph Bouglione
(m. 1928; d. 1987)

Rosa Bouglione (née Van Been; 21 December 1910 – 26 August 2018) was a French circus performer and the matriarch of the Bouglione circus family.[1][2]


Rosalie Van Been was born 21 December 1910 in Ixelles, Belgium.[3]

She worked with big cats before marrying Joseph Bouglione in 1928 in her teen years when she began her career in the circus. She was considered the French (and European) circus "Queen," and of course, she was its doyenne.[4]

Rosa Bouglione began performing as a child and was known for her "serpentine" dance, in which she danced "à la Loie Fuller" in a cage full of lions; she married Joseph Bouglione, a cat trainer who became a legendary circus owner and director, in a lions' cage.[5]

In 2011 she published her memoirs, Un mariage dans la cage aux lions : la grande saga du cirque Bouglione ("A wedding in the lions' cage: the great saga of the Bouglione circus").[6][7]

Until the very end, "Madame Rosa," as Rosa Bouglione was known, was still active; she had seven children and 53 grandchildren and great grandchildren.[1] She died at the age of 107 on 26 August 2018 in her apartment at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris.[8][9]. Her funeral was held in the Cirque d'Hiver's ring on August 29, 2018, and she was buried in the Bouglione family's tomb at the cemetery of Lizy-sur-Ourcq, near Paris.


  • Un mariage dans la cage aux lions. La grande saga du cirque Bouglione, by Rosa Bouglione with the collaboration of Patrick Hourdequin and José Lenzini. (2011, Michel Lafon: ISBN 9782749915258)[7]


  1. ^ a b "Circus matriarch Madame Rosa remains active at 103". Chicago Daily Herald. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2017. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Rosa Bouglione fête ses 100 ans". 22 December 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "Madame Rosa: The 103-year-old matriarch of Paris's famed Winter Circus tells her incredible life story". The Independent. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "103-year-old circus performer recalls her time at the big top". 19 October 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  6. ^ "Un mariage dans un cage aux lions". (publisher's site). Michel Lafon. Retrieved 16 July 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Catalogue record for "Un mariage ..."". Worldcat. Retrieved 16 July 2017. 
  8. ^ Rosa Bouglione – Reine du Cirque (in French)
  9. ^ "Mort de Rosa Bouglione, la reine du cirque, à l'âge de 107 ans" [Death of Rosa Bouglione, Queen of the Circus, at the age of 107] (in French). 27 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.