Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Arts et Métiers museum

Once again, with six months between posts, I can't seriously call this a blog any more. More of an embarrassment. Anyway...

It's no secret that Paris is overflowing with museums. Just the Louvre would take you a few days to fully explore (by the way, there's loads of exciting stuff going on there at the moment, with new interactive 3D guides and a brand new Islamic Arts wing opening in September).

We have plenty of favourite museums, and I'll be writing more about them before too long, but one of them just happens to be five minutes from the apartment (here). It's the Musée des Arts et Métiers, the inventions museum which is fascinating not only for the exhibits but also the building itself.

It's one of the most surreal museums I know. Surreal as in airplanes hanging from a monumental staircase and cars displayed vertically in an old church.

It's also extremely diverse, starting with craftsmanship, moving on to civil engineering such as architecture and construction, followed by transportation (of all kinds), electronics, computing and a lot more. There is some seriously crazy shit in there.

There's even a really ancient relief map of Paris that shows the Great Apartment! Well, rue de Montmorency anyway.

Exploring the place is pretty great, as the circuit takes you up weird staircases, into the roof space and even into a church. It's just nuts.

And despite all the amazing inventions, huge machines and technical achievements, my favourite exhibit is... a toaster.

It's just such a simple system, with an element on each of the four sides, and holders for four slices of bread. When one side is done, you simply turn the button on the top and the slices all flip round to toast the other side. Genius stuff! Shame they don't make them like this any more. It's adorable and very clever.

If you want to see more, check out the blog post I did for the Paris Newsblog here. It includes, at the bottom of the page, a slideshow of all my photos, plus details of opening hours and admission prices.

This is definitely one museum you shouldn't miss when in Paris!

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