Paris Sewer Museum – Explore Paris from Underneath

Paris Sewer Museum – What is That?

Any one of us would like to go to Paris. Paris is the city of love, gourmet foods, and just a place to enjoy life! But any fairytale also has a dark side that often remains unsaid and can even be frightening.

Paris, too, has such a side that attracts the most courageous visitors, some of which can’t wait to go to the Paris Sewer Museum.


How can such a dark and unpleasant place that smells so bad have its own special place in tourists’ itineraries?

The idea of climbing deep down underground to go walking around endless tunnels while seeing countless sewage pipes and getting scared of the imaginary creatures in the dark certainly sparks the imagination and desire to learn more about the Paris Sewer Museum. And finally find the answer to the question: why does it attract so many visitors?

The History of the Museum

The history of the Paris Sewer Museum starts in the era of King Philippe Auguste that ordered to create of an underground evacuation system needed due to many wars and enemy attacks. The system was constantly developing and finally turned into a sewage system meant to improve Paris's sanitary condition. All the sewage waste was now being dumped underground. And it wasn’t just a simple gutter, it actually started the development of a whole sewage system.

Paris's sewage system consists of nearly 1,490 miles of mazes and tunnels. It’s hard to believe but the system is almost like another city that lives right underneath the Parisians!

It’s a good idea to use a professional guide when visiting Paris Sewer Museum. A guide in Paris will be your help along the way. You can sign up for an individual or a couple’s tour as well as save some money by joining a group tour of 10-20 people. Please, remember that the cost of the excursion also depends on the time of your visit and the language that you prefer your guide to be speaking. But, in any event, the tour of the Museum with the guide is well worth it.

canalisation museum Paris France

The Strangest Place for a Romantic Date – a Sewer Hole!

How about having a date in such a different and bizarre place? There are a lot of different places in Paris but the atmosphere of the unusual Sewer Museum will take you to a fantastic world that will fill your imagination with landscapes reminding you of the Batman movie. Remember Batman’s worst enemy, Penguin, that utilized the Gotham sewage system to his advantage? Another good example is the scenes from the Underworld saga where vampires battle with werewolves. Or maybe images of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.

Visiting Paris Sewer Museum is a real adventure! The first thing you will have to do is get used to the lights. They are dimmer than usual. Next, you will witness a fully operational sewage waste disposal system that is maintaining the life of a whole city like a circulatory system. The smell, of course, will not be too pleasant but it is bearable. It will smell like ammonia and sulfur salts which may be irritating to people with a sensitive sense of smell.

There is a mechanism there that shows how enormous those structures of the Sewer Museum are, and that is a huge steel ball similar to the ball in the Indiana Jones movie that he had to avoid while searching for treasures. This giant ball‘s function is to clean the sewage channels and remove all the dirt stuck to the walls. It is put in motion by the water flowing through the pipes. It’s amazing!

Things to see in the depths of Paris Sewer Museum.

Touring the Sewer Museum will take about an hour. There are a few galleries, and each one of them has its own story to tell.

  • Victor Turgot Gallery: shows a special container that moves the largest pieces of waste.
  • Pierre Emmanuel Bruneseau Gallery: demonstrates the boat that navigates through the largest channels of the system to deliver large pieces of waste.
  • Dubeau Passage: located in the Military School area and in close proximity to Eiffel Tower.
  • Eugene Belgrand Gallery: shows the way the water circulates through the network of channels and tells the history of hygiene in Paris.
  • Adolphe Mille Gallery: shows the kind of engine that pulls the wagons with waste.

canalisation museum Paris France

When to go to Paris Sewer Museum and how to go about it?

Visitors often hesitate to use personal guides in Paris because of trust issues. Before you hire a guide you can ask to see the accreditation that all guides get at The Tourism Department to be able to legally operate. In order to get the accreditation they have to submit their educational certifications, and physical exam records, show their cultural knowledge, as well as meet certain other criteria. So you don’t have anything to worry about when hiring a private guide to visit Paris Sewer Museum.

The Museum is closed on Thursdays and Fridays. It also closes for two weeks in January for maintenance. Other than that the Museum is open from 11 am to 5 pm May through September and 11 am to 4 pm October through April.

One more interesting fact that you will learn while visiting Paris Sewer Museum is that city residents can call the sewage system maintenance service to request Lost and Found information. The statistic is that out of 2500 calls annually 80% of people end up finding their belongings.

As Victor Hugo wrote in Les Misérables, ‘Paris has another Paris under herself; a Paris of sewers; which has its streets, its crossings, its squares, its blind alleys, its arteries, and its circulation…’ and all of that awaits you.

So, would you dare to go to Paris Sewer Museum?


Read our previous article Amusement parks which would blow your kids away

Read our next article Alternative Dresden – Baroque Buildings and Unique Street Art

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