Walking near Arts et Métiers


Building engineers will like this science museum, where the emphasis is on machines and historic inventions.

Head into the Musée des Arts et Métiers (1, 60 rue Réaumur). Captions at this unusual science and engineering museum are all in French and English. There are plenty of crank handles to turn, film seuences that show how things work, and staff who demonstrate items of equipment, making the exhibits especially fun for kids. The audioguide for children (available in Engllish) is particularly worthwhile, as you are taken around by a quirky robot  to discover such inventions as an 18th-century steampowered vehicule, Volta’s battery, musical automatons, cranes, tunneling machines, Marey’s camera, and Ader’s airplane, which looks like a giant bat. The building was originally a monastery, and the most spectacular display is the chapelwith vintage cars stacked up within and early airplanes suspended in the nave. Another curiosity is the rail tracks that run through the galleries – they used to carry heavy models around the lecture halls to be demonstrated to engineering students. The stylish yet friendly Café des Techniques on the ground floor serves healthful salads, steamed dishes, desserts, and Sunday brunch and is a great place to refuel before or after all this braintingling exercice. Turn right when you exit the museum, then right onto rue Saint-Martin, and let the kids run around in the square Emile Chautemps (2), a garden with a small playground. Continue up rue Saint-Martin to inspect the Porte Saint-Martin (3) and Porte Saint-Denis (4), farther to the west, two triumphal arches built by Louis XIV.

Metro Station : Réaumur-Sébastopol (Line 3,4), Arts et Métiers (Line 3, 11), Strasbourg-Saint-Denis (Line 4, 9)