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Hey, kids, how about a visit to the Paris sewers?

How many times have you thought, “Wow, I really wish I could visit the city sewers while I’m there” when you’re planning a vacation? I’ll bet you’ve never thought that. After all, who would want to visit sewers, like, ever, let alone when you’re on vacation? Well, the sewer system in Paris has been a tourist attraction since they were first laid in the 1800s, when they were an engineering marvel. And today, the Paris Sewer Museum is still a popular attraction in Paris.

The city’s sewer system was designed in 1850 by Baron Haussmann, separating Paris’ drinking water supply from its waste water, and implementing for the first time a hidden system for collecting waste. In 1878, the sewer network alone was 600km long – today, incorporates more than 2,000km of pipes.

The Paris Sewer Museum, or Musee des Egouts de Paris in French, is certainly a popular tourist attraction in the city, and can be a great place to take kids with an interest in anything with a high gross-out factor, but as this museum actually takes you underground where you’ll be walking on platforms with – yes – raw sewage running beneath your feet, this isn’t a stop for the faint of stomach. It can be a smelly place to visit, especially in the summer months, and it’s sometimes closed unexpectedly due to weather.

Still interested? Then you’re a stronger person than I am.

>> Be sure to take a tour of other sights on the Weird and Wonderful Paris tour!

Location: Pont de l’Alma, rive gauche, Face au 93 quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris, 7e.
Opposite 93 Quai d’Orsay
How to Get There: Paris Metro stop Alma-Marceau, RER stop Pont de l’Alma, bus routes 42, 63, 80, 92
Hours: Oct. 1-Apr. 30 from 11:00am-4:00pm; May 1-Sept. 30 from 11:00am-5:00pm
Closed on Thursdays, Fridays, the last 2 weeks in January, December 25, & January 1; also intermittent closings due to weather
Admission: €4.20 adult, €3.40 reduced fare, €2.30 child
Good to Know: In case you didn’t catch it above, this museum isn’t just an above-ground building – you’re walking down in the sewers, with raw sewage running underneath the platform you’re walking on. Yes, really. And if it wasn’t obvious enough, let’s reiterate – it smells.
More Information: tel. 01 53 68 27 81; visitor information (in French) and English visitor information

photo by Vincent de Groot