Visitors seeking an undisturbed, authentic alternative to the capital’s premier museums should head straight to the Musee des Arts et Metiers, an adorable treasure trove certain to enlighten and entertain inquisitive minds of all ages.
Founded in 1794 to celebrate the extraordinary capabilities of science, this budding collection of technological wonders opened to the public at the turn of the 19th century, making this beloved institution the world’s oldest science museum. Partially housed in the striking former abbey of Saint Martin des Champs, this cultural gem can be found within easy reach of the historical Marais district, perfect for guests opting for our Paris apartments in the 2nd, 3rd and even 10th arrondissements (www.apartmentsinparis.com).
Those visiting from further afield will encounter the first indications of the museum’s irresistible charm at the eponymous metro station, which resembles a scene from a Jules Verne legend with its polished copper walls, giant ceiling cogs and intriguing portholes. The second delight in store is the favourable admission prices, granting entrance to both the permanent and temporary exhibitions for just 7,50 Euros, with discounted fees available for select individuals.
As you finally enter into the museum itself, you will be impressed by the exemplary arrangement of artefacts, which comprise of over 80,000 objects, and the instantly welcoming atmosphere. Unassuming, serene and hospitable, the establishment certainly benefits from its undiscovered status, providing a dramatic contrast to the queues, chaos, and exhaustion of such principal attractions as the Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Masterfully curated, the anthology is presented in beautiful wooden cabinets with both English and French descriptions, showcasing such well preserved and fascinating items as Pascal’s original calculator, Edison’s phonographs, Watt’s steam engine and much more. The diversity of relics is rather remarkable, offering an incredible timeline of technological advance across the centuries.
One of the museum’s most impressive pieces, Foucault’s revolutionary Pendulum, is exhibited in the venue’s crowning glory, the grandiose church, which also grants a magnificent home to a series of automobiles and aeroplanes. Previously adorning the dome of the capital’s Pantheon, this simple yet effective device definitively proved the rotation of the earth in the mid 1800s, and is demonstrated twice a day by the enthusiastic staff.
An ideal retreat for engineering buffs or indeed anyone with a natural curiosity, the truly enchanting Musee des Arts et Metiers ensures a unique Parisian experience to cherish. All information regarding the museum can be found at the following website, www.arts-et-metiers.net/