The school

The Ésacto’Lido is an international circus school delivering a professional higher national diploma in circus arts and offering modules for professional integration. The official recognition of the school as a higher education establishment is the result of a unique pedagogic approach that has been developed over more than 25 years. The Lido’s professional teaching team based at the Ésacto’Lido has nurtured a specific teaching approach that places the student at the heart of professional development and encourages personal experimentation and creativity.

photo du chapiteau


Created in the 1980s, the Lido is a school dedicated to the circus arts, which brings together both amateurs and professionals teaching teams. The school is divided into different sectors :

The amateur school brings together 250 participants from the age of 7 ½ years to adults with courses leading to participation in shows and tours

The professional course offers comprehensive training to prepare young artists for professional life

The professional integration of young artists, founded in 2006, since 2008 has developed in partnership with La Grainerie (Studio-PACT)


Creation of the Lido circus school, municipal center for circus arts, in a former local cinema (the Lido)


Establishment of a professional training course for circus artists


Creation of a recognized professional training course funded by the city of Toulouse with the support of the Midi-Pyrénées region and the Ministry of Culture


Francis Rougemont is appointed director of the Lido


Development of a year’s professional integration in co-production with CIRCa (state funded programme in Auch)


Creation of Studio-PACT with La Grainerie, a company specializing in circus and traveling arts


Creation of the Toulouse-Occitanie school of circus arts workshop association in order to set up a school for circus arts

Inauguration of the new premises in Argoulets


The Ésacto’Lido welcomes its first year of DNSP circus artist students

“The story began in 1988 with a group of children playing clowns in a disused cinema. Sharing the same passion for adventure that was mixed with both excitement and apprehension, the Toulouse Lido founders addressed the eternal question : can the circus arts become a specialized artistic discipline? The circus is a living art but needs performing artists to survive. Both actors and spectators can bring about a circus revival by breaking the chains of the past. These regional pioneers whose roots are firmly embedded in the south of France, have invented new codes that have challenged established conventions and created the beginnings of a golden age in the circus. […] Women, men, children, parents, pupils and teachers have all pushed the borders. A true laboratory, a melting pot of creation, this teaching place symbolizes the tremendous energy of the circus of today.”

Essais de cirque, Henri Guichard

In order to implement the requirements of different courses, the amateur and professional divisions have become separate entities : the Toulouse Occitanie school of circus arts (Ésacto’Lido) now brings together all the activities related to professional training and insertion. In parallel, the Lido continues to teach circus arts to amateurs.

While the Ésacto’Lido and the Lido have become officially two separate legal structures, they continue to work in partnership, promoting the same educational values ​​and sharing the same premises. The high school aims to preserve the Lido’s unique pedagogic approach while awarding a diploma for an academically accredited diploma.

photo du chapiteau


The Ésacto’Lido is located in the rural area of the​​ Argoulets, under the Lido big top in Toulouse. The school has a regional context and has historically been dedicated to training and research in the circus arts. The school shares this professional commitment with 2 other major circus centers (CIRCa in Auch and La Verrerie in Alès), La Grainerie, a European center for travelling circus arts, le  Centre des Arts du Cirque Balthazar (preparatory school) as well as numerous other companies and a large amateur network. This remarkable creative hub offers a rich and diverse framework for professional training in the circus arts.


The Lido big top covers an area of ​​1,400 square meters, providing workspaces, creative spaces and a 300 seat auditorium. Amateur students, graduate students and professional artists all share these workspaces under the Lido big top.