Devoted to telling the story of Paris’ world-renowned sewage network – a formidable 2,100 kilometers of tunnels that run beneath the city’s streets – the Paris Sewer Museum, or Musée des Égouts de Paris, is one of the capital’s most oddly fascinating museums. As well as walking along a 500-meter stretch of the sewer system, visitors can learn all about the remarkable work of engineering, the masterwork of innovator Eugène Belgrand and one of the most impressive remnants of 19th century Paris.
Exhibitions show off the magnitude of the underground network, said to mirror the streets above ground, and chronicle its development from medieval waste disposal to Belgrand’s early plans. Additional exhibits focus on the unique maintenance and cleaning of the system (using enormous wooden balls), the role of sewer workers, the historic and modern equipment used, and even the appearance of the sewers in Victor Hugo's iconic novel, Les Misérables.
The Paris Sewer Museum is located on Quai d’Orsay by the Pont de l’Alma and is open Sat-Wed 11am-4pm (6pm in July-Aug). Adult admission at the time of writing is €4.40.