The nineteenth century is a circus one. The rise and succes of traveling circuses, all over Europe, is launching a major movement of constructing circus buildings throughout France. The decision to build one in Amiens was taken in 1887 in honour of the centenary of the French Revolution. Two years are enough for Emile Ricquier, chief architect of the department, to draw the plans and to supervise the construction work. Originally the plan provided for a very picardian architecture and decoration in polychrome bricks, but eventually the circus is built with a stone façade, according to the wish of Charles Garnier.
The highest point of the circus building is 27 meters and the dome, with a wingspan of 44 meters, rests on a metal frame without columns. A real technical achievement for a time when few architects and engineers manage the metal. The work of Emile Ricquier is remarkable in all respects, you could say it shows he was a pupil of Gustav Eiffel!
Why is this municipal circus, Cirque Municipal, of Amiens commonly known as Circus Jules Verne? Mainly because it really is the circus of Jules Verne personally. He not only supported the project as an Amiens local government official, but also personally followed the work closely and did not hesitate to choose a party against all opponents who predicted that this dome would fall “like a soufflé”. In his inaugural address on June 23, 1889, he stated that in the future the construction costs of iconic monuments such as this circus would mean little to the community. With this Jules Verne has inextricably united his personality with this magnificent circus building.
CIRQUE JULES VERNE
EPCC Pôle National Cirque et Arts de la Rue