Gingerbread at the Foire du Trône

Take a look at the photos taken between 1957 and 1964 by Pierre Soulier which offer a fresh perspective on the three little pigs in gingerbread

Cochons en pain d'épicesMucem

Gingerbread pigs

Pierre Soulier was just as skilled at capturing the stands at the Foire du Trône carnival in Paris where the gingerbread men were sold as he was at photographing the kids who admired them, with longing eyes, while the stall vendors were still writing their names in sugar on the pigs.

La Foire du Trône. Cours de Vincennes, Paris. Cirque.Mucem

The Foire du Trône carnival

The origins of this Parisian carnival, which is over 1,000 years old, date back to medieval times.

La Foire du Trône. Cours de Vincennes, Paris. Manège, grande roueMucem

Round and round the merry-go-round

The foire du Trône, which takes place in the Place de la Nation in Paris, is one of France's most important carnivals. 

La Foire du Trône. Cours de Vincennes, Paris. Cirque FanniMucem

Cirque Fanni

It takes place in the east side of Paris, every year, in April and May

La Foire du Trône. Cours de Vincennes, Paris. Loterie des gens à la page.Mucem

Loterie des gens à la page (Lottery of page boys)

Rides, game stands, shooting galleries, a Ferris wheel, circus, and more … There's something for all tastes and all ages

Monsieur Laskar-Litzin baptise un cochon en pain d'épiceMucem

Mr. Laskar-Litzin baptizes a gingerbread pig

In the year 957, Saint-Antoine-des-Champs Abbey acquired the right to sell a kind of gingerbread during Holy Week in remembrance of their patron saint, Saint Anthony, near the site of what is now the Place de la Nation in Paris, then called the Place du Trône. 

In religious iconography, Saint Anthony is often depicted accompanied by a pig wearing a small bell. This depiction of the saint dates back to the 14th century and is said to be linked to the Antonin religious order, who, recognizable thanks to their bells, had the right to roam freely through the streets, unlike other pigs

Panneau, inscription des cochons en pain d'épice., From the collection of: Mucem
Marchande de pain d'épice., From the collection of: Mucem
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Boutique de marchand de cochons en pain d'épice.Mucem

The gingerbread craze

Originally, gingerbread only contained honey. But in the Middle Ages, a boom in the trading of spices from the East introduced new flavors to the West, and spiced bread began to be made using cinnamon, coriander, ginger, or star anise

Enfant mangeant un pain d'épicesMucem

Child eating gingerbread

In the 16th century, gingerbread got its name pain d'épices (spiced bread) in French. Gingerbread recipes were often spread around Germany, Central Europe, and France by networks of monks, to the delight of children and adults alike. 

Credits: Story

All photographs taken from the archives of Pierre Soulier between 1957 and 1967, during ethnographic studies conducted in Paris on puppet theaters, commissioned by George-Henri Rivière, director and founder of the musée des arts et traditions populaires. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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