Boys will be boys, and my boys, particularly the thirty-something-year-old one, decided he wanted to take a look at the guts of Paris and take the kids along for a stinky tour. Boy, are we glad we did. Not only is the tour very cheap (4,30 € per adult, kids under 6 free) and lacking in big crowds, the best part is that you can take as long or as little time to visit the sewage system of Paris and learn a bit about the history of the dessus of the city of lights.
Ever since we first visited Paris as a married couple we left the tour of the sewage system on our to do list but never seemed to have the time to do it. This time we had the kids as an excuse and thought that a short sightseeing tour of machinery would be more appealing to Evan than museum hopping and waiting in line to see the tiny Mona Lisa.
Although it was a bit tricky to find the entrance since the signs are not huge, we got there, bought our tickets and were greeted by very nice students who spoke perfect English. They were very helpful, took our stroller to the consigne and guided us thru the first part of the museum. There was a guided tour happening at the same time but we avoided it since we didn’t know if the kids would be patient enough.
The first area is full of panoramas with information about the history of the sewage system. Diagrams and tons of information and statistics caught Evan’s eyes because of the great cartoons and dessins.
As you continue walking on the vertiginous chemin you find yourself surrounded by pipes and lots of tunnels. You can actually hear the water flowing and if you look down you will see the water and flowing just underneath you.
Further down there is another area full of displays showcasing the tools of the trade. The exhibition includes boots, hardhats, gloves and even goggles that have been used thru the years in the task of keeping the pipes up and running.
At the end of the visit the souvenir shop has the cutest plush rats and other fun souvenirs. Not to miss if you have friends that are into rodents.
Although Joshua didn’t really care much about the visit and slept on his carrier most of the time, Evan had a great time looking at all the machines and just walking thru the tunnels. He is a boy after all and was really excited to walk around in a unique place. I would definitely recommend visiting the museum since it is not too big, is very kid friendly and is a lot of fun to anyone who thinks stinky is fun!
Tips if you are visting the Musée des égouts with little ones
- The entrance is a small booth right on the corner of the Pont de l’Alma. The signage is not very big but it is easy to spot if coming walking by the water. It is totally walkable from the Eiffel Tower area.
- Everyone wonders if it really stinks in there. Ironically it does smell a bit off but it’s more of a musty smell than a nasty one. Everything is extremely clean but this is the sewage after all. If you keep moving you will barely smell it.If you or your kids have a very sensitive sense of smell, avoid visiting during the summer. Although the odour is bearable it can get smelly in some areas.
- You will have to go down and up flight of stairs so make sure you have a baby carrier (if applicable) and a small stroller that will fit thru a somewhat narrow passage. You are able to leave the stroller at the main lobby without a problem.
- Don’t bring shoes with heels! Wedges are ok but be aware that you will be walking on railing and you don’t want your stiletto getting stuck somewhere between stinky avenue and fowl odor street.
- The museum is a bit dark so be weary if you have children who don’t love the penumbra.
- This is no Disney, but will surely keep you and your little ones entertained for about an hour if you are in the Quai de Orsay area.
Musee des Egouts In front of 93 Quai d’Orsay by Pont de l’Alma 7eme arronsidement Paris, France