A Museum For Little Industrial Designers and Engineers: Musée des Arts et Métiers
Do you have one of those kids who loves taking things apart (much to your dismay!!) and then putting them back together (or not)? Or a child who is easily amused by planes, trains, and automobiles? The Musée des Arts et Métiers, an industrial design museum in the 3rd arrondissement, is just the place for curious little kids.
Housed in the medieval priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs (which was consecrated during the French Revolution as a “temple” of technology), the museum has an impressive collection of scientific instruments, machines, and inventions. The three floors and wings are organized around seven themes: scientific instruments, materials, construction, communication, mechanics, energy, and transportation. There is the original model of the Statue of Liberty by Auguste Bartholdi, the first mechanical calculator by Blaise Pascal, some of the first planes including Clément Ader’s Avion III, and Louis Blériot’s Blériot XI which made the first flight across the English Channel in 1909. Part of the collection is impressively laid out with cars, airplanes, and trains suspended from the ceiling and some on a multi-level ramp in the old priory with its stained glass windows. One of the hanging exhibits is a replica of Foucault’s pendulum, which Léon Foucault’s used in his groundbreaking experiment proving and demonstrating the rotation of the Earth. (The museum displayed the original until 2010 when it dropped and was irreparable damaged.)
There are many workshops (ateliers) and guided tours for families and children ages 4 to 6 and 7 to 12 years old, which you must reserve in advance online. However, unless you sign up for one of these full hands-on workshops, this museum is not really the best place for children under 6 years old. For them I rather recommend a visit to the Cité des Enfants at the Cité des Sciences for the younger ones.
Photos by Ajiri Aki
Musée des Arts et Métiers
Address: 60 Rue Réaumur, 75003, Paris
Getting there: Metro line 3, 11 to Arts et Métier; Bus line: 20, 38, 49, 47
Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm, Thursday 10am-9:30pm, closed Mondays, closed May 1 and December 25.
Cost: Tickets range from 8€ to free for kids under 5 years old and depending on which exhibition you want to see. Visit the ticket page of the museum’s website for more precise cost information.
Good to Know:
-Strollers are allowed in the museum, but the elevators are extremely slow and some are often not working and you might have to carry a stroller up the stairs.