Not many European cities can say they have a working mint in their centre. In fact, apparently none can except Paris!
Le Musée du 11 Conti is the new name for the Museum belonging to the ‘Monnaie de Paris’, where coins have been struck – and continue to be – for over 200 years. The magnificent building is on the banks of the Seine not far from our hotels, and the new museum has been open for just under four months.
You might think that a museum that explains metals and how they are used to make coins and medals might be rather dull, but that’s not at all the case.
We went down to take a look at this smart new place, and enjoyed both the exhibits and the building itself…
Love coins? You’ll find this place heavenly. DIY fan? This museum will surely interest you. Like collecting beautiful objects? Get ready for your credit card to melt…
After a number of years of remodelling, the Musée de la Monnaie has changed its name and become the Musée du 11 Conti (after its address) with a new layout and new presentation.
From a collection of 17,000 pieces, around 2,000 are on view in the various rooms, with explanations of the building’s history, the science behind the use of certain metals and the creators without whom nothing would be possible.
As the building is still where all of France commemorative coins are made, you’ll also get a peek of people at work, making incredibly ornate (and expensive) limited edition items.
It all starts in the paved courtyard. As the venue also holds temporary exhibitions of modern art, you’ll always find a big installation or two here to admire before or after your visit…
The museum entrance is a corridor that gives a little info about the building, and allows you your first glimpse into the workshops.
If you want to see some action here, make sure you visit during the week. Our Saturday visit found the place very calm, but our disappointed was tempered with enthusiasm at seeing a lot of the explanations available in braille. Quite unusual in Paris.
You’ll then have to take a smart copper-clad staircase upstairs to a very dark room presenting all the different metals used to make coins.
There’s a lot to read here about the history of each metal and how it was/is used, maybe too much for some people, but you can always just skim the texts and admire the objects presented.
Next, a brighter corridor shows you all the metals placed in the periodic table (with a braille version too), and a passageway leads on towards the museum’s main room, filled with machines to study and touch, lots of display cases and – again – a lot of information.
This room serves as a hub for the rest of the visit (and there’s a lot left to see)…
From here you can walk down to room 5, which is like stepping back in time. This is where special coins nd medals are still made to this day. What a place to work in!
There is something here for everyone, especially if you have a limitless budget (there’s even a special posh room where you can peruse the priciest items in the comfort you deserve).
Even once you’ve left the building there are still a few things to see – a café terrace that will probably be bustling in the spring, another workshop that overlooks a courtyard, the majestic staircase leading up to the temporary exhibitions and the Guy Savoy gastronomic restaurant “Un dîner à Paris” where a two-course lunch will set you back at least 130€ per person (and dinner a lot more)…
The musée du 11 Conti is one of the newest museums in Paris (together with the musée Yves Saint Laurent). If you think that coins are a dull subject for a museum, why not give it a try nonetheless. The layouts are beautiful and the building is stunning. You might change your mind!
It’s also an original choice that can be appreciated by the whole family, and it’s not far from our hotels!
The musée du 11 Conti (here) is open every day except Mondays form 11am-7pm (9pm Wednesdays)
Admission: 10€ / 8€ (one euro cheaper if you book online)
To check out all our photos of the musée du 11 Conti, simply click here.