Friday, June 21, 2013

Louis Pasteur's house and museum in Paris

Ever since I went to Paris the first time I had been wanting to visit the Pasteur Institute (comparable to the CDC in Atlanta) and the Louis Pasteur museum. And every time I went for some reason or another I didn't make it, people had different priorities, or we were on a tight schedule to visit all the sights. Last October, I was determined to finally visit.

I have always deeply admired Louis Pasteur: his creativity, his ability to think out of the box and develop ways in which the lives of animals and people could be improved. He revolutionized microbiology, was a pioneer in immunology, perfected techniques to produce wine and beer (by discovering the chemical and biological processes behind) and was even able to spot and cure a disease affecting silk worms. At the museum you will be able to visit the apartment where he lived the last 8 years of his life, from l888 to 1895, there are all kinds of objects that let you peek into the way he lived.

Then, there is a whole room dedicated to his scientific discoveries, and many original objects, among which some of hiw very own Swan-flasks, that were crucial in rejecting the theory of spontaneous generation ("The idea that beetles, eels, maggots and now microbes could arise spontaneously' from putrefying matter, speculated on since Greek and Roman times"). Thanks to him, vaccines were developed against anthrax and rabies, ending with the horror and fear these diseases caused.  At the Institut Pasteur, you will also be able to visit his tomb, located in a beautiful marble and mosaic crypt that reminded me of Byzantine art (unfortunately, photos were forbidden). 

The museum (25, rue du Docteur Roux ,75015 Paris) is open from Monday to Friday, visiting hours are at 14h, 15h and 16h. It's easily reachable by metro (station Pasteur, on lines 6 and 12) and after your visit you can enjoy the view from the top floor of the Montparnasse tour, or stroll along the pretty streets (I remember finding a small bakery, eating delicious pastries on a bench and watching school-kids play)


  1. I'm so glad you finally got to visit an important place for you. I don't think I'd ever really known what was so great about ol' Louis, so you've really educated me here!

    1. Oh really? I always really admired him (and Leeuwenhoek, so you could have imagined how happy I was when I found his tomb is here in the Netherlands, and not far from us). I think it was because I read "Microbe Hunters" by Paul de Kruif as a teenager.

      I was definitely happy to finally go :)


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