A parade sleigh at the Pavillons de Bercy

At the museum

A new object has joined the museum’s company: an 18th century dragon-shaped sleigh !

With a wooden carved, painted and gilded dragon and a stunning leather interior, this is a true parade sleigh.


Sleigh rides were highly popular among the aristocracy in northern Europe during the 18th century . The elite enjoyed winter strolls on frozen lakes and snowy grounds. This very sleigh comes from the collection of the Mérode family and was formerly displayed in their castle in Tronchiennes.

This sleigh is an example of the dragons, mermaids, unicorns and other fantastic beasts that were used as carousel figures in the 19th century.

Fairs enabled the popularization of certain types of entertainment and transportation that were originally reserved for the elite such as horse riding and bicycles. Carousel makers were certainly inspired by the richly decorated sleighs and coaches, so they designed parade gondolas and fancy carousel figures to mimic these items. It was a way to enable their visitors to escape and dream during a carousel ride.