The Romanès family spends most of the year in the upscale 16th Arrondissement of Paris — in a small park where their circus caravans have a permanent spot and where they perform their show. The rest of the time, they take the show on the road, traveling all around France.
Their neighbors in Paris weren’t always welcoming. The Romanèses, who originally came from Romania, are part of a Roma community (Alexandre Romanès, the patriarch of the family, prefers the term tzigane) that is often the object of stigmatization in French society.
Two years ago, hundreds of costumes, instruments and pictures were stolen from the circus during the night. To make sure the caravans wouldn’t stand out in the landscape, the family painted them green, to blend in with their surroundings. Now, everything is a bit more quiet.
“People have been leaving us alone since the elections” in May, when the anti-immigrant, far-right National Front was defeated, said Délia, Mr. Romanès’s wife.
This summer, the Ministry of Culture named Mrs. Romanès a knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, a high-standing recognition given to influential artists. She is the first Roma woman to receive the title in France.