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At the Fair of the Throne, 220 families of fairgrounds confined and… distraught
The most important fun fair in France could not open on the lawn of Reuilly (XIIth), in Paris. Professionals, who set up their attractions there in mid-March, find themselves confined to the site. And in very bad financial shape.
Beside him, the attractions are dismantled, dislocated. He too, symbolically. At the heart of the Foire du Trône, on the lawn of Reuilly, in Paris (12th), Aurélien Hector operates a traveling restaurant with 250 covers, renowned for its spit-roasted piglet. The showman participates each year in half a dozen long-term events across France. And the biggest fun fair in the country, which was to take place from March 27 to May 24, is no small task for him: it represents 40% of its annual turnover.
"We were in the process of settling down when the cancellation was decided," he recalls. It was his first meeting of the year. Aurélien Hector is dismayed and more than worried. His second most important contract is that which binds him to the famous Fête des Loges, scheduled in the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines) from June 26 to August 16. For the moment, it is impossible to know if the appointment will be maintained.
At the Foire du Trône, some 220 families registered in the commercial register are currently confined. The city of Paris authorized the occupants to remain on the ground until mid-June. By going around the site, the restaurateur passes in front of the King in full disassembly. It is the largest of the big European eight, whose transport requires the trifle of… 26 semi-trailers.
Happy solidarity between colleagues
“Contrary to what people might think, having a ride of this size does not mean that you are rich, on the contrary. The logistics are very heavy, he explains, as are the upkeep and maintenance costs. To buy a ride of this type, but smaller, it takes on average to invest five million euros, so go into debt for years, said this active member of the fairground federation of France.
"There are particularly dramatic situations among young colleagues who have just opened their business and are starting their career," underlines Aurélien Hector. Fortunately, solidarity is very strong among those confined to the Foire du Trône. "I offered colleagues the tonne of potato I had stored for customers," he says. Another has made all of his pallets of drinks available.
On site, the entrepreneurs and theirs were able to benefit from a coronavirus screening test. No case was declared positive. While waiting for better days, on the Lawn of Reuilly which shelters the Fair, each one tinkers on his side. Between professionals, we exchange, we even organize to find an operation adapted to the measures linked to Covid-19, "if by chance the authorization to resume work was given to us after May 11," says the restaurateur. We are all ready to put in place barrier measures, even if it means welcoming fewer people. "