Hygienic Promenades

The Montagnes Russes as Medical and Urban Artifacts

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Author:
Sun-Young Park George Mason University

Search for other papers by Sun-Young Park in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Postrevolutionary Paris witnessed a brief flowering of commercial gardens, precursors to the modern-day amusement park, which cultivated nature, exercise, and health in an urbanizing context. Bridging the eighteenth-century jardin-spectacle and the Second Empire network of public parks, pleasure grounds such as the Grand Tivoli and the Beaujon garden offered a range of activities including gymnastic games, bicycling, and, most strikingly of all, exhilarating rides on early roller coasters known as montagnes russes. Situated on the periphery of a rapidly densifying city and abstracting natural forms for urban consumption, these rides integrated discourses of hygiene and recreation. Analyzing these short-lived curiosities from the vantage points of medical, cultural, and urban history, this article argues that the montagnes russes helped disseminate modern conceptions of health and gender in popular culture.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 912 751 6
Full Text Views 53 5 0
PDF Downloads 77 3 0