Thursday, March 19, 2020

Carousels of Paris by Kaye Wilkinson Barley

It is with great pleasure that I welcome friend, author and fellow blogger, Kaye Wilkinson Barley, to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about her recent release, CAROUSELS OF PARIS.

Just saying the name, CAROUSELS OF PARIS, makes me smile. Here’s a brief synopsis of it.

A charming collection of color photographs and historical information about many of the carousels in Paris. Carousels are said to be a French invention brought about by the accidental death of King Henri II during a jousting tournament in 1559. Renaissance knights stopped jousting, and the games evolved into spearing rings with their lances. The idea of mounting wooden horses on a rotating frame dates to the 17th century. To entertain thousands of people during an event at Versailles, the Sun King, Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715, had his engineers design the first rotating merry-go-round, a four-seater with gilded chairs for ladies and horses or swans for the men. By the end of the 18th century, there were merry-go-rounds in several of the Parisian public gardens. In the wake of the French Revolution, the merry-go-round, like other sorts of entertainment previously enjoyed by aristocrats, became more easily accessible to workers and their families.

Now please join me in giving a warm welcome to Kaye. Welcome, Kaye.

Thanks so much for having me back, Mason - it's been awhile!

"Carousels of Paris" is a different sort of book than my "Whimsey: A Novel."  For one thing, it's not fiction - although the very nature of carousels do make them whimsical, which we all need a little of. I think.

This book is actually a photo essay with over 80 pictures taken by me and by my husband, Donald, along with some snippets of facts and history.

I love to research any place I'm going to be traveling to and while researching Paris I kept seeing photos of a carousel with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Having been a lover of carousels since I was a little girl, I felt like this was a stop I'd love to make while in Paris.

Little did I know that Parisians, actually French people in general, share a love of carousels.

They're everywhere.

They’re in the gardens – both large and small tucked away hidden gardens, and occasionally plopped down in the street near a Metro Station. 

We have tried our best to capture and photograph all of them, but it became a fun bit of a challenge.  There are approximately 20 carousels scattered around the city, but when we would get to the location specified, we stopped being surprised to find that it was gone – possibly moved to another location temporarily.
Or, truth be told, it’s very easy to get sidetracked by something else while on a carousel hunt in Paris. And one would be silly to pass by a small café set back under the trees in Luxembourg Gardens for a brief respite with a pastry and a café crème. 

So.  This book has a few of the carousels we did find, along with many photos we took in the Musee des Arts Forains: Carousel Museum  - - where we were able to ride some very old carousels and learned a bit of history.  It's a fun place not many people know about, but I recommend it.

Since we didn't find all the carousels, we're hoping to try again, and who knows, maybe there will be a "Carousels of Paris, Part II" one of these days.

Pub Date was March 17.  I hope some of your readers will find it interesting enough to pick up, and I hope everyone finds it as enjoyable as Don and I did photographing them.

You can read a little more about it at my webpage  - 

Thanks so much for having me!

Kaye, it’s always a pleasure to have you stop by. Thanks for sharing the background on this delightful new book you have. 

Here are what others are saying about this enchanting book.

          “Kaye and Donald Barley’s photographs of Parisian carousels capture the whimsy, wit, and charm of the raucous merry-go-rounds that pepper the cobblestone streets and manicured parks of the City of Light. So grab a copy of Carousels of Paris and let your imagination wander back to a world full of colored lights and painted horses, quaint carriages and playful tigers, fantastical griffins and endangered dodos.” — Juliet BlackwellNew York Times bestselling author of The Lost Carousel of Provence and Letters from Paris

          “Simply enchanting! The carousels are delightful, and the photographers manage to bring them to life. I half expected them to leap off the pages. I absolutely adored this book!” — Jenn McKinlayNew York Times bestselling author and author of soon to be released Paris is Always a Good Idea

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Kaye, here’s a bit of background on her.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley & Donald Barley
I live with my husband of almost 34 years, Don, in the North Carolina mountains along with one little princess of a pup—Annabelle, who is a fluffy Welsh Corgi.

We’re both retired and spending time doing things together we both enjoy—photography and traveling.

We both, of course, have individual interests that we pursue on our own. While Donald’s off exploring the world on his motorcycle, I might be reading, writing, or cooking up a big pot of chili.

While we’re not always in agreement on all things, we do agree on what we both believe are life’s most important concerns—trying to live by The Golden Rule and doing no harm to others while accepting no nonsense.

We’re music lovers who have managed to see most of our favorite bands and musicians in concert. We also spend a great deal of time in search of the perfect pizza.

I’m a voracious reader and lover of books, a long-time blogger, an indie author, an amateur photographer, dabbler in mixed media collages, and fiddler of fiber arts. A person who believes creativity is essential to the soul. I’m a collector of “things” pretty and sparkly. I’m opinionated and mouthy, but a marshmallow at heart. Loyal to a fault. And have strong (very strong) political opinions.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today during Kaye’s visit. Did you enjoy riding on carousels when you were growing up and/or do you enjoy riding on them nowadays? Isn’t there something just magical about a carousel?


  1. Hi, Mason! Thanks so much for having me. Always a pleasure!

    1. Kaye, it's always a pleasure to have you visit Thoughts in Progress. Congratulations on the new book.

  2. MORE booky temptations?
    As always, thank you. And drat you.

  3. What a great idea for a book! Carousels are so beautiful, and I don't think I've ever seen a book that really celebrates that. I'll bet the book is lovely to look at, and I'm glad you shared it, Mason.

    1. I agree, Margot. Beautiful and magical. And we had a lot of fun doing this book.

  4. What a fun idea for a book. I gained a fascination for them when I saw the biggest one in the world at House on the Rock in Wisconsin.

    1. I'm not familiar with the carousel at House on the Rock - I'll be Googling it today, thank you!

  5. My mother loved carousel horses, and she would have greatly enjoyed this book. I gave her a little carousel music box, and the horses twirled around as the music played.

  6. Definitely sounds like you need to go back and find the rest of them for another book.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.